Originally known as Graumans Chinese Theatre, it was renamed Manns 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 officially purchased the naming rights. The original Chinese Theatre was commissioned following the success of the nearby Graumans Egyptian Theatre, 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. DeMilles film The King of Kings and 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. 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 lease on property at 6925 Hollywood Blvd. Toberman contracted the firm of Meyer & Holler, designer of the Egyptian, Grauman financed 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, 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 theatres official account in its books and souvenir programs credit Norma Talmadge as having inspired the tradition when she stepped into the wet concrete. While we were building the theatre, I accidentally happened to step in some soft concrete, so, I went to Mary Pickford immediately. Mary put her foot into it and his autograph and handprint, dated 1927, remain today. The theatres third founding partner, Douglas Fairbanks, was the celebrity, after Talmadge. In 1929, Sid Grauman decided to retire and sell his share to William Foxs Fox Theatres chain, Grauman remained as the theatres managing director for the entire run of Hells Angels, retiring once again after its run finished. But, unsatisfied with retirement, Grauman returned to the theatre as managing director on Christmas Day 1931, one of the highlights of the Chinese Theatre has always been its grandeur and décor. In 1952, John Tartaglia, the artist of nearby Saint Sophia Cathedral and he would later continue 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 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, from then until 2001 it was known as Manns Chinese Theatre
Image: Grauman's Chinese Theatre, by Carol Highsmith fixed & straightened
Interior of Chinese Theatre before refurbishment
The theatre as seen from the street on an ordinary day
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.