Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram

Today In History: May 18th, 1927

1970s America - Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood, California 1977. (Photo Credit: HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
1970s America - Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood, California 1977. (Photo Credit: HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The Grand Opening of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

On May 18, 1927, Hollywood Boulevard was the center of glamour and excitement as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre opened its doors for the very first time. The air buzzed with anticipation as thousands of spectators gathered, hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars attending the event. This grand opening was more than just a film premiere; it was a celebration that would mark a significant moment in cinematic history.

The premiere event featured Cecil B. DeMille’s The King of Kings, a biblical epic that drew the era’s biggest names in Hollywood. The theatre itself, a marvel of architectural design inspired by a Chinese pagoda, stood as a magnificent backdrop to the night’s festivities. Its 90-foot tall structure, adorned with imposing Ming Dynasty Heaven Dogs and a 30-foot-high stone dragon, added to the allure and grandeur of the occasion. The theatre’s opulent interiors and state-of-the-art projection equipment ensured that The King of Kings was showcased in the most impressive manner possible. The success of the premiere night firmly established Grauman’s Chinese Theatre as a central venue in Hollywood’s entertainment landscape.

marlene dietrich and cecil b. demille inside grauman's theater
Marlene Dietrich and Cecil B. DeMille at Grauman’s Chinese Theater for the premier of the movie Grand Hotel. (Photo Credit: Hulton-Deutsch/Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images)

A serendipitous event during the opening night added to the theatre’s burgeoning legend. Norma Talmadge, one of the stars in attendance, accidentally stepped into wet cement in the theatre’s forecourt. This impromptu moment inspired the now-famous tradition of celebrity handprints and footprints, beginning with Talmadge’s own. This tradition quickly became an iconic feature of the theatre, contributing to its unique charm and historical significance.

More from us: Cecil Hotel: The Los Angeles Lodging With a History Marred By Tragedy

Would you like to see more historical content from The Vintage News? What if we sent it directly to your inbox weekly? Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter!

As the years passed, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre continued to host numerous premieres and became a symbol of Hollywood’s golden age. Its status as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument further cements its place in history. Today, the theatre remains an enduring icon of the film industry, representing the glamour, excitement, and rich heritage of Hollywood.

TVN News Poster

TVN News Poster is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News