On January 5, 1926, at 7pm, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, brainchild of Sid Grauman, had its ground breaking ceremony.
Almost a year later, on December 28, 1926, the spectacular building was completed, and opening night, May 18, 1927, treated an estimated 50,000 fans to a most spectacular sight, in particular, the host of celebrities who paid $11 a ticket to see the Los Angeles premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s “King of Kings.”
The first star to place her footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre was silent-picture actress Norma Talmadge (1897-1957). She accidentally stumbled onto a freshly laid cement sidewalk in front of the theater in 1927.
Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were the first official blocks to receive a full-blown ceremony, on April 30, 1927, almost three weeks before the Theatre opened.
The practice of posing for photographs at Mann’s Chinese Theatre, and imprinting foot, and hand impressions, as well as a witty saying and an autograph, began on April 30, 1927that day, and continues to this day.
Norma Talmadge’s, on May 18, 1927, was the second ceremony to memorialize the imprinting of foot and hand impressions at Mann’s Chinese Theatre. Her unique block boasts TWO sets of footprints.
The third ceremony to memorialize the imprinting of foot and hand impressions at Mann’s Chinese Theatre honored Norma Shearer, on August 1, 1927. That next month, on September 29, Shearer became the wife of Irving Thalberg.
Next to Harold Lloyd’s footprints, however, are the most notable feature of Lloyd’s block: his handprints. Due to his right hand having only three fingers (resultant from his bomb accident; see February’s Article of the Month for the whole story), Harold had to wear gloves, and on both hands, to assure similar impressions.
The theatre changed its name to Mann’s Theatre after it was sold in 1979.
The facade consists of the imported pillars of a Chinese temple.
There are 190 celebrities’ foot and hand prints. More than 2 million tourists come every year to witness these prints.
Directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have left sneaker prints.