Monday, September 3, 2007

Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Mann's may be selling Grauman's Chinese Theatre, as the L. A. Times reports, but at least the chain is maintaining its web page on the historic place.

As for what will happen next, the Times says that CIM Group--the new owner--is a major landlord in the revitalization of Hollywood. I'd like to believe the best, but after checking out the company's 'Strategy and Philosophy' on their website, I can only say they are masters of meaningless doublespeak.

Which may make them the ideal Hollywood landlord.

Want trivia? Even in 1927, the construction of the Chinese Theatre was a Hollywood event. Movie stars Norma Talmadge turned over the first spadeful of dirt, and Anna May Wong drove in the first rivet.

Sid Grauman himself stumbled into wet cement and left his footprints there, according to one story. After being chewed out by his chief mason, he got the bright idea that footprints in cement could be fun. He called the theatre's co-owners Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, and had them put their footprints in the sidewalk a month before the grand opening. That's Grauman on his knee, with the power couple.

More trivia? I've got tons. Besides footprints, the cement outside the theatre displays the imprint of a leg (Betty Grable’s), a fist (John Wayne’s), a nose (Jimmy Durante’s), Al Jolson's knees, Harold Lloyd’s eyeglasses, Sonja Henie’s iceskates, and Harpo Marx’ harp. Cigar impressions are courtesy of Harpo’s brother Groucho, and friend George Burns.

Tony, Tom Mix’s horse, was the first animal to leave hoofprints. Roy Rogers’ horse Trigger and Gene Autry’s Champion also stepped into the wet cement.

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