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CA-Hollywood-Graumans Chinese Ben Hall collection ext watermark

Los Angeles, CA – Here’s Why Sid Grauman’s Name Should Not Disappear From His Chinese Theatre

CA-Hollywood-Graumans Chinese Ben Hall collection ext watermarkElie Samaha and Don Kushner, who purchased Grauman’s Chinese Theatre from mall owner CIM at a reported cost of $10 million in 2011, announced this morning that they have sold naming rights to the Hollywood showplace. The gentlemen have earned half their investment back in a deal to strip off Sid Grauman’s name and rename the theater in honor of  Chinese TV manufacturer TCL. Samaha and Kushner, who brought the world Battlefield: Earth and Animalympics, say they plan to use the money to add LED screens, digital signs, and extensively remodel the interior of the 1927 landmark, which was restored in 2001. Sid Grauman ran the downtown Metropolitan, the largest theater in Los Angeles, before moving to Hollywood Boulevard in 1922 when he opened Grauman’s Egyptian, where he invented the movie premiere with a giant party for Douglas Fairbanks’s Robin Hood. Five years later, he cemented his legacy with the glorious Chinese and it’s forecourt filled with celebrity autographs. Now I won’t harp on about Grauman’s refined love of the cinema, he ran some hokey programs and handed out plaques to horses, puppets and even his own mom, but he also created the showy prologues, the gimmick with the footprints, interviews with the stars on the red carpet and invented a genre, which invented Hollywood. I hope these guys realize what an icon they have here and maybe lay off inviting folks like Simon Cowell or Taylor Lautner to leave indelible marks in a rapidly filling courtyard. I hope they use a light hand when plastering the most recognized building in our city with billboards promoting a device designed to make people stay out of movie theaters. I think we all agree a few things are sacred. Don’t take Sid’s name off this place. C’mon.

Written by: Chris Nichols, Associate Editor, Los Angeles Magazine | Taken from Los Angeles Magazine

Thanks to THS member Terry Monohan (San Francisco, CA) for the article!

3 Comments

  1. Sid Grauman’s name was stripped off the building in 1958. In 2001, replicas of the original blade signs with Grauman’s and the Chinese Theatre name were restored. The blade signs will remain. The new TCL Chinese Theatre logo will appear from time to time on the digital screens over the Hollywood Blvd box office. The naming deal has a 10 year life span, much shorter than the 1973-2010 run as Mann’s Chinese. The 2001 restoration budget was devoted almost exclusively to the installation of two shear walls. Some unfortunate rewiring of the auditoriums atmospheric lighting system, concessions improvements and facade restoration were thrown in. The theatre is in need of some TLC. Lautner’s imprints will remain in the Forecourt along with his 2 vampire pals. Simon Cowell et. al. and dubious others are temporary and handled in much the same way Grauman handled stunt imprints. The $5 million TCL investment will allow the theatre to step up its game – superior projection, sound and screen – like the first class picture Grauman always put on the screen. Finally, is there any better way to honor Grauman than to fill the auditorium, which happened infrequently in recent years, and give people a great show? People will call the theatre what they choose to call it. Thanks to this large infusion of cash, the Chinese Theatre will continue to operate as the most famous movie palace in the world and, arguably the best place to see a movie.

  2. wayne zimmerman

    No longer “Grauman’s Chinese Theatre??
    Samaha and Kushner are “gentlemen”???? How about “heathens”??
    Oh well, a rose by any other name will still be a rose.
    Hopefully the interior/auditorium improvements will come about.

  3. PLEASE NOTE: Comments posted on the THS Readerboard blog represent the opinions of the individual poster and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Theatre Historical Society, its Board of Directors or Staff.

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