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Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Grauman's Chinese Theatre paranormal

Photo by: Shawn Donley
Location submitted by: sdonley on 08/03/2017
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PANICd#: 1897

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Grauman's Chinese Theatre is a movie palace on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, United States.

6925 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood , CA 90028
Phone: (323) 461-3331
Open to the public: Yes

Lat: 34.102117
Lon: -118.34093810000002

Database Summary:

Demographic Rank: 6
History: 5
Stories: 4
Claims: 4
Evidence: 0
Resources: 7
Retrievals: 13387
Vistor Rating: 0.0
Votes: 1

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History information is some background and history about the location. This is meant to be a basic summary. Below the history records you will find sources in which you can click on to find out more information. There may be multiple history records per location.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre is a movie palace on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, United States. Originally known as Grauman's Chinese Theatre, it was renamed Mann's Chinese Theatre in 1973; the name lasted until 2001, after which it reverted to its original name. On January 11, 2013, Chinese electronics manufacturer TCL Corporation purchased the facility's naming rights, under which it is officially known as TCL Chinese Theatre.

The original Chinese Theatre was commissioned following the success of the nearby Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, which opened in 1922. Built by a partnership headed by Sid Grauman over 18 months starting in January 1926, the theatre opened May 18, 1927, with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's film The King of Kings. It has since been home to many premieres, including the 1977 launch of George Lucas' Star Wars, as well as birthday parties, corporate junkets, and three Academy Awards ceremonies. Among the theatre's most distinctive features are the concrete blocks set in the forecourt, which bear the signatures, footprints, and handprints of popular motion picture personalities from the 1920s to the present day.

In 2013, the Chinese Theatre partnered with IMAX Corporation to convert the house into a custom-designed IMAX theater. The newly renovated theater seats 932 people and features one of the largest movie screens in North America.

After his success with the Egyptian Theatre, Sid Grauman turned to Charles E. Toberman to secure a long-term lease from Francis X. Bushman on property at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard, the site of Bushman's mansion. In appreciation, a plaque was installed on the front of the theater dedicating it to Bushman.

Toberman contracted the firm of Meyer & Holler, designer of the Egyptian, to design a "palace-type theatre" of Chinese design. Grauman financed the theater's $2.1 million cost and owned a one-third interest in the Chinese Theatre; his partners, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Howard Schenck - owned the remainder. The principal architect of the Chinese Theatre was Raymond M. Kennedy of Meyer & Holler.

During construction, Grauman hired Jean Klossner to formulate an extremely hard concrete for the forecourt of the theatre. Klossner later became known as "Mr. Footprint", performing the footprint ceremonies from 1927 through 1957.

Many stories exist to explain the origins of the footprints. The theatre's official account in its books and souvenir programs credit Norma Talmadge as having inspired the tradition when she accidentally stepped into the wet concrete. However, in a short interview during the September 13, 1937, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of a radio adaptation of A Star Is Born, Grauman related another version of how he got the idea to put hand and foot prints in the concrete. He said it was "pure accident. I walked right into it. While we were building the theatre, I accidentally happened to step in some soft concrete. And there it was. So, I went to Mary Pickford immediately. Mary put her foot into it." Still another account by the construction foreman, Jean Klossner, recounts that Klossner autographed his work next to the right-hand poster kiosk and that Grauman and he developed the idea then and there. His autograph and handprint, dated 1927, remain today. The theatre's third founding partner, Douglas Fairbanks, was the second celebrity, after Talmadge, to be immortalized in the concrete.

In 1929, Sid Grauman decided to retire and sell his share to William Fox's Fox Theatres chain. However, just a few months later, Howard Hughes convinced Grauman to return to the theatre because he wanted Grauman to produce the world premiere of his aviation epic Hell's Angels, which would also feature one of Grauman's famous theatrical prologues before the film. Grauman remained as the theatre's managing director for the entire run of Hell's Angels, retiring once again after its run finished. Unsatisfied with retirement, though, Grauman returned to the theatre as managing director on Christmas Day 1931 and kept that position until his death in 1950.

One of the highlights of the Chinese Theatre has always been its grandeur and decor. In 1952, John Tartaglia, the artist of nearby Saint Sophia Cathedral, became the head interior decorator of the Chinese Theatre, as well as the theatre chain then owned by Fox West Coast Theatres. He later continued the work of Jean Klossner, by recommendation of J. Walter Bantau, for the Hollywood Footprint Ceremonies. Tartaglia performed his first ceremony as a Master Mason for Jean Simmons in 1953, for the premiere of The Robe, the first premiere in Cinemascope. Although replacing Klossner was initially thought to be a temporary job for Tartaglia, his dedication resulted in a 35-year career in which he last performed as the Master Mason/Concrete Artist in honor of Eddie Murphy in May 1987.

The Chinese Theatre was declared a historic and cultural landmark in 1968, and has undergone various restoration projects in the years since then. Ted Mann, owner of the Mann Theatres chain and husband of actress Rhonda Fleming, purchased it in 1973. From then until 2001, it was known as Mann's Chinese Theatre. In the wake of Mann's 2000 bankruptcy, a partnership of Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures acquired the theatre, along with the other Mann properties and the Mann brand name.

In 2000, Behr Browers Architects, a firm previously engaged by Mann Theatres, prepared a restoration and modernization program for the structure. The program included a seismic upgrade, new state-of-the-art sound and projection, new vending kiosks and exterior signage, and the addition of a larger concession area under the balcony. The program began in 2002 and restored the original name "Grauman's Chinese Theatre" to the cinema palace. As part of the upgrade, Behr Browers also designed a new Chinese-themed six-plex in the attached Hollywood and Highland mall that continued to operate under the name Mann's Chinese 6 Theatre.

In 2007, the CIM Group purchased the land on which the theatre sits for an undisclosed price from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation of New York and Barlow Respiratory Hospital of Los Angeles. Mann Theatres continued to hold a long-term lease on the venue for movie premieres and continued to operate it as a film house. CIM Group also owns the Hollywood and Highland retail mall, as well as numerous other residential and commercial properties in Hollywood.[8] On May 27, 2011, Chinese Theatres, LLC, a partnership owned by nightclub owner/producer Elie Samaha and producer Donald Kushner, purchased both Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the adjacent Mann Chinese 6.

The exterior of the theatre is meant to resemble a giant, red Chinese pagoda. The design features a huge Chinese dragon across the facade, with two authentic Ming Dynasty guardian lions ("heavenly dogs") guarding the main entrance and the silhouettes of tiny dragons along the sides of the copper roof. To the dismay of many historic architecture fans, the free-standing ticket booth, installed in the 1930s, and the left and right neon marquees have been removed, but their absence restores the theatre to its original appearance. The auditorium has been completely restored, along with much of the exterior; however, the wear and tear on the physical structure over the years has caused some of the external decor to be removed, rather than repaired.

The Chinese Theatre hosted the 1944, 1945, and 1946 Academy Awards ceremonies; they are now held at the adjacent Dolby Theatre, formerly known as the Kodak Theatre.

TCL Chinese Theatre continues to serve the public as a first-run movie theatre.


The Chinese Theatre was the first commercial movie theater to have air conditioning. The vents are concealed behind the imported decorative pillars on the side walls of the auditorium.

A concession stand was not in the theater's original plans because Grauman thought it would detract from the "theatrical experience". The theater began to sell concessions in the 1930s.

Celebrities contributed to the theater's decor. Xavier Cugat painted the trees and foliage between the pillars on the side walls. Keye Luke painted the Chinese murals in the lobby.


Many older entries contain personal messages to Sid Grauman, such as Myrna Loy's 1936 contribution. Loy's first job was as a dancer at the theatre in the 1920s.

Nearly 200 Hollywood celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs are in the concrete of the theatre's forecourt.

Variations of this honored tradition are imprints of the eyeglasses of Harold Lloyd, the cigar of Groucho Marx, the wands used by Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, the facial profile of John Barrymore (reflecting his nickname "The Great Profile"), and the legs of Betty Grable. Western stars William S. Hart and Roy Rogers left imprints of their guns. Herbie, a Volkswagen Beetle, left the imprints of his tires. The hoofprints of "Tony", the horse of Tom Mix, "Champion", the horse of Gene Autry, and "Trigger", the horse of Rogers, were left in the concrete beside the prints of the stars who rode them in the movies.

Since 2011, a surge of concrete ceremonies has occurred, many of which have been paid for by movie studios for publicity reasons. One of the theatre's current owners, Donald Kushner, acknowledged this and referred to them as mock ceremonies. This influx has been a matter of concern for film buffs and historians, as well as misleading for fans. However, despite the increase of concrete blocks, the ones placed within the forecourt are still chosen by a special committee who selects celebrities based on their contributions to Hollywood cinema. Practice blocks, completed inside the theatre before the ceremony, are placed on the walls of the Chinese 6 Theatre lobby, which is also used as an event space.

Added by: sdonley on 01/20/2018 DB#:371

Added by: sdonley on 01/20/2018 DB#:372

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Added by: sdonley on 01/20/2018 DB#:374

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Stories are just that. Stories and personal accounts that have been reported about the location.

It is at the world famous Mann's Chinese Theater, located just across the street from the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel that the ghost of actor Victor Killian, known for his role as the Fernwood Flasher in "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman", roams the sidewalk and courtyard... looking for the man who murdered him.

His career in movies and television spanned half a century. According to Police reports, Kilian met a man at a nearby bar in March of 1979. After a few drinks, Killian invited the man back up to his apartment. Killian's bludgeoned corpse was discovered the next morning. Another source says that Mr. Killian came home to his apartment to discover a burglary in progress. He was beaten to death by the burglars. His killer remains at large and the case remains unsolved.

Added by: sdonley on 01/20/2018 DB#:1370

For his last of four theaters, Sid Grauman planned something so unique and magnificent inside and out that it would outshine all other theaters in Los Angeles. He and architect Raymond Kennedy chose a Chinese temple as inspiration and created a soaring 90-foot pagoda adorned with a 30-foot dragon and ceremonial masks and topped with an ornate copper roof. But it is the forecourt that makes this the most famous movie theater in the world. That's where Grauman displayed his most ingenious idea - concrete blocks with the hand and foot prints of the stars. Grauman also built salons for private parties after a premiere or the Oscars where he and his famous friends could celebrate comfortably. He hid buzzers near lamps in the lobby to signal people inside to open the secret panel. Sadly, these rooms have long been sealed and all buzzers disconnected; but for some, that doesn't matter. For weeks, an employee heard buzzers in his upstairs office. He thought it was an errant office intercom. Eventually, he realized it was the buzzers for the secret salons coming from inside the sealed rooms. And the theater has a resident ghost, Fritz. Fritz, it seems, worked for the theater, though no one's sure when. Apparently despondent, he hanged himself inside, behind the movie screen. Since then, his presence has been felt throughout the theater. Everybody knows him and no one is frightened.

Added by: sdonley on 01/20/2018 DB#:1371

This is the tale of two starkly different ghosts named Annabell and Victor. Within tourist magnet TCL Chinese Theater (formerly Grauman's Theater, opened in 1927), Annabell supposedly lurks around and pulls on the red show curtains. The young girl has spooked theater staff members for decades. In 1982, promising young actor Victor Kilian was brutally killed a block away from the theater. Since then, Victor's presence has been felt within the immediate exterior area of theater and across Hollywood Blvd. His ghost is said to continuously walk the route, in hopes to retrace his murderer's footsteps, seeking redemption or revenge.

Added by: sdonley on 01/18/2018 DB#:1365

In the early summer of 1992, I received a private tour of the Chinese Theater with a small group of historians. Our guide escorted us through the inner sanctum upstairs, above the auditorium, where Grauman's private office had a beautiful view of the forecourt. Down the hall, the original projection booth is now the Cathay Lounge, a private screening room where celebrities can slip in and watch the film unnoticed.

Downstairs, we were shown the detailed lobby and the massive auditorium where Sid Grauman staged his famous live prologues before the movie, often with up to 200 actors in the cast. Today a giant movie screen takes up most of the original stage. There's a small backstage area used for storage and our guide invited us to check it out. Backstage at Grauman's Chinese? I was in, the only one. I scrambled onto the stage and behind the movie screen. I hoped to spot an incredible remnant from the past - a souvenir program, a newspaper clipping, a lipstick that somehow had been overlooked, but there were only boxes of mundane supplies - toilet paper, light bulbs. I climbed down and joined my friends in the middle of the auditorium.

Just as I arrived, our guide, out of the blue, said, "This place is so haunted." With that, all six of us were silently compelled to turn back to the stage. Where I had stood, a section of the heavy ceiling-to-floor drape was violently shaking. We could see the impressions of unseen hands in the velvet as it jerked back and forth hard. We stared in silence until I stammered the classic phrase: "Do you see what I see?" All five managed yes. I felt tremendous anger from the shaking; that someone was telling me I'd invaded his territory. It was meant to frighten me. It did. I set a new land speed record that day running for the lobby.

Our guide then shared that when he first started working for the theater, he discovered secret rooms behind a wall. Grauman built salons for private parties after a premiere or the Oscars where he and his famous friends could celebrate comfortably. He hid buzzers near lamps in the lobby to signal people inside to open the secret panel. Sadly, these rooms have long been sealed and all buzzers disconnected; but for some, that doesn't matter. For weeks, our guide heard buzzers in his upstairs office. He thought it was an errant office intercom. Eventually, he realized it was the buzzers for the secret salons coming from inside the sealed rooms.

Naturally, I hoped this was the ghost of Sid Grauman; after all, he loved the place so. I asked another employee. "You mean Fritz!" she said. Fritz, it seems, worked for the theater, though no one's sure when. Apparently despondent, he hanged himself inside. Since then, his presence has been felt throughout the theater. Everybody knows him and no one is frightened. Oh, and guess where Fritz chose to do the deed - behind the movie screen. I had invaded someone's territory.

Added by: sdonley on 01/18/2018 DB#:1366

Paranormal Claims

Here are the paranormal claims for this location. These have been found through Internet research, reports from members, or reports from personal interviews. To add a claim, please contact, and we will review and add your information.

Claim # Added Added By Claim
2700 01/20/2018 sdonley An unknown presence has been known to shake and pull on the red velvet curtains around the stage.
2701 01/20/2018 sdonley The apparition of Victor Kilian has been seen around the entrance and on Hollywood Blvd.
2702 01/20/2018 sdonley Buzzers are sometimes heard in the upstairs office.
2703 01/20/2018 sdonley The presence of a former employee named Fritz has been felt throughout the building.

Paranormal Evidence

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Additional Resources

This is a collection of Internet resources for this location. This section will house links to other websites that contain information related to history, claims, investigations, or even the location's website.

Wikipedia Entry
Added: 01/20/2018 By: sdonley
Wikipedia entry for this location.
List of Grauman's Chinese Theatre handprint ceremonies - Wikipedia
Added: 01/20/2018 By: sdonley
A listing of the handprint ceremonies.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre
Added: 01/20/2018 By: sdonley
Web page on
Hollywood Walk of Fame and TCL Chinese Theatre
Added: 01/20/2018 By: sdonley
U.S. News and Travel page for this location.
Added: 01/20/2018 By: sdonley
Facebook page for this location.
TCL Chinese Theatres (@ChineseTheatres) | Twitter
Added: 01/20/2018 By: sdonley
The latest Tweets from TCL Chinese Theatres (@ChineseTheatres). Home of the world's biggest IMAX theatre. Instagram: chinesetheatres
Added: 01/20/2018 By: sdonley
A fan page for this location.

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