I was a racist, bigoted, patriotic American jerk
I visited Los Angeles for the first time in 1968. I was 13 and living with my wise old grandmother (MWOG). Charles, her oldest living son (my dad was the oldest son, but dead) lived in Huntington Beach, a southern bedroom community of Los Angeles. We drove from Kingsville, Texas, to Huntington Beach to spend the Christmas holidays with Charles and his family. Since I was only 13, all I got to do was visit the beach, Disneyland, and Knott’s Berry Farm. Of course, for a 13-year-old kid, that was enough!
In May 1978, I took MWOG and two girl cousins, Kay and Shelley, to Los Angeles for two weeks. I figured MWOG could stay with Charles while Kay, Shelley, and I explored everything Los Angeles. That’s exactly how it worked out. Kay and Shelley were 13 and 11, so they were excited to go to California, especially Los Angeles. We did everything we could do in two weeks, but I believe their favorites were Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Magic Mountain, and Hollywood. That was my first visit to Magic Mountain and Hollywood, so I was probably just as excited as they were.
One of the places we visited in Hollywood was Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. I was a 23-year-old racist, bigoted, patriotic American jerk at that time so I was against going to a Chinese Theatre. Kay and Shelley explained to me that it wasn’t a Chinese Theatre per sé.
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre was simply a movie theater that opened in 1922 and looked like a huge Chinese pagoda. Throughout the years it has hosted Academy Award ceremonies and movie premiers. Kay and Shelley told me that the 1977 world premiere of “Star Wars” was at the Theatre. I’m a big science fiction fan, and anything Star Trek/Star Wars gets my attention. I was sold on a visit. After getting a history lesson from those two, we took off for Hollywood.
One thing I did not know about Grauman’s Chinese Theatre at the time, and which Kay and Shelley neglected to tell me, was about the historic handprints, footprints, and autographs of movie, television, and recording stars enshrined in the concrete of the Theatre’s forecourt. I took pictures of every handprint, footprint, and autograph — hundreds of pictures!
I have been estranged from Kay and Shelley since 2003 because their dad was the one who disinvited me from my wise old grandmother’s funeral. Stupid me had no idea that one had to have an invitation to a funeral. I won’t delve into the full story here, but I thought of Kay and Shelley recently when Jim and I visited Hollywood.
Following are some of the pictures I took on May 26, 2013, of what is now known as TCL Chinese Theatre. As is the trend in today’s world, a big corporation, TCL, bought naming rights.
Thirty-six years later: Darth Vader and two Imperial Storm Troopers are still after Princess Leia:
Of course, footprints, handprints, and autographs of some of my favorites:
Samuel L. Jackson
Hollywood Boulevard is very crowded nowadays, and getting good pictures of the Theatre and the various concrete enshrinements is difficult, to say the least. Everyone is trying to get pictures of their favorite celebrity’s footprints and handprints, so be prepared to see feet in your pictures as other people step on your favorites to get pictures of their favorites. It’s a dog-eat-dog world there.
TCL Chinese Theatre is located at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
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Posted on August 11, 2013, in Architecture, Halls of History, Historical Landmarks, History, Manmade, Out & About, Photos and tagged bob hope, clint eastwood, doris day, grauman's chinese theatre, hollywood california, jack nicholson, matt damon, star wars wold premier, tcl chinese theatre. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.