A theatrical dinner, not just popcorn - Sid Grauman
Whether you realize it or not, if shown a picture of Sid Grauman's Chinese Theater, you're almost certain to recognize it. Somewhere in hazy or not so hazy recollection you'll know there's some sort of ceremony involving hands and feet pressed in concrete that many famous movie stars undergo. The clear identification of the Chinese Theater with Hollywood and movies is a living testament to the work of Sid Grauman, a master showman who embodied the essence of Hollywood's Golden Age. It is a destination for over two million tourists yearly from all over the world, coming to share in that dream of a world where everyone is attractive, well-spoken, and the good guy almost always gets the bad guy in the end (or at least goes down in style). The Chinese Theater, by both exhibiting the luxurious roots of the film business and holding hundreds of monuments to current and past silver screen idols, is a central focal point for that sweet fantasy.
Grauman had his start earlier in the movie promotion business. His family was its own small travelling entertainment business; following circuses across continental America and lightening the spirits of miners in Alaska
. When the Gold Rush
there petered out, the Graumans relocated themselves to San Francisco
. They opened a vaudeville theater called the Unique in 1900 whose humble settings nevertheless attracted famous acts and loyal patrons due to strategic marketing. After seeing an early motion picture
in 1902, Sid Grauman recognized the medium's vast potential and convinced his family to add movies to the theater's offerings. This proved to be a successful venture, garnering the theater still further attention until tragedy struck in 1906 with the San Francisco Earthquake
Like the majority of buildings in the burgeoning town, the Unique was demolished by the quake. All that Grauman could salvage from the rubble was a single projector. Yet he turned this almost resounding defeat into a brilliant victory through quick wits and feverish resourcefulness. Grauman immediately crossed the bay into Oakland, obtaining a tent and film reels. Borrowing a wagon, he carried everything back to San Francisco and set up a tent theater with pews from the local collapsed church. In a hand-lettered sign above the official "Grauman's National Theater," the entertainer quipped with black humor, "Nothing to fall on you but canvas if there is another quake." Survivors flocked to the theater for an hour or two of solace from their tragic circumstances. For his services to the public morale, the San Francisco municipal government later awarded him an official commendation.
From these humble beginnings, Grauman erected a media empire unlike any Hollywood had seen before or since, the crown jewel of which was his Chinese Theater. In 1917, after the family had successfully expanded their tent theater into a line of vaudeville and movie houses around the bay area, they recognized the growing importance of Los Angeles as a center of entertainment and branched out into that city. Grauman struck a lucrative deal with Adolph Zukor, the head of Paramount Pictures at the time, in which the movie studio bought his family's line of theaters in San Francisco and provided the financing for a new, gigantic theater in L.A. Initially named The Rialto, Grauman changed its title to Grauman's Million Dollar Theater. After all, he commented, "When I spend that much on a house, I want everybody to know it!" Opening on February 1, 1918, more than two thousand excited patrons were welcomed and several thousand more turned away due to limited seating.
The Million Dollar proved to continue as a lucrative enterprise long after its spectacular opening. Grauman followed it with two further lavish theaters, Grauman's Metropolitan Theater and Egyptian Theater, in 1923. By this time, he had perfected his technique of offering a "full theatrical experience," using his skill at showmanship to his full advantage in attracting movie-goers to his establishments. The theaters themselves were grandiose, filled with intricate architecture designed to embody the Age of Modernity in which Americans in the 1920s felt that had finally arrived. The seating capacities were enormous, capable of holding thousands, which presented an atmosphere of sophistication to a night at the movies. Grauman hoped to express that spending an evening with the stars of the silver screen was as cosmopolitan an activity as taking in an opera or orchestral production. Above all, however, Grauman's famous Prologues best set his theaters high above those of the competition.
To understand the Grauman Prologue, it helps to view the context of the movie industry at the time. Releases were spectacular affairs, fueled with a level of hype rivaled only by such modern movies as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace or The Matrix Reloaded. Since far fewer movies were produced, any new release was an exciting occurrence. Theaters would only play one movie for a period of weeks or months, much like having a season of performance for a theatrical drama or musical. Across the country, movie houses vied to be the first to host a new film, and focused all their energy on that particular film until they picked up a new release. Thus, to be competitive Grauman had to devise a method of uniquely suiting his theaters to each movie they played. His brilliant solution was the Prologue. A Grauman Prologue was a theatrical affair all to its self, with orchestras, elaborate sets, magnificent costumes, and casts numbering in the hundreds. A prologue would be performed before each showing of the movie, of which there would be two a day. The performance would be produced before-hand and tie directly into the movie, often with musical reinterpretations. For truly spectacular releases, the prologues could often last an hour before the film even began. Patrons of Grauman's theaters came to see the prologues as much as the movies themselves, providing Grauman with exactly the extra edge he needed to tower over his theatrical competition.
While maintaining and promoting his three already successful theaters, Grauman launched himself into the project that would prove an epoch to his career. He wasted no time in leveraging his legendary showman status to start pumping up the hype for his new theater. The groundbreaking ceremony alone was an extravaganza, employing the entire cast of one of his theater's prologues to hang banners and parade around the neighborhood in which it would be constructed. Grauman invited actors Norma Talmadge, Conrad Nagel, and Anna May Wong (for a little ethnic flavoring in concert with the theater's theme) to perform the opening ceremonies, taking the first digs with a golden shovel. From January 5, 1926, construction of the Chinese Theater began.
The architectural firm Meyer & Holler was contracted to build the Chinese Theater, with John Beckman leading its design team. After pouring over more than twenty-thousand photographs of Chinese art, architecture, costuming, and furniture, a direction was decided upon. The theater was to represent an exquisite palace from the Ming Dynasty era of Chinese history. It would not, however, authentically reproduce this style, which was judged to be too oppressive. Rather, it would be done in a Chippendale style that would approximate Ming Dynasty Chinese architecture and design. Just exotic enough to fascinate, regal enough to impress, but not foreign enough to offend.
The most eye-catching aspect of the theater's outward appearance was an immense, jade-roofed pagoda which stretched ninety feet into the sky. Ornate octagonal columns supported the edifice, which served as the main entrance to the theater. Curving around the entrance to either side were two forty-foot walls which enclosed a courtyard filled with palm trees. The gated effect these walls provided gave patrons the impression that they are crossing from the mundane world into a fantastic dream world hundreds of years into the past and thousands of miles across the world. Greeting patrons as they entered the main building were two authentic Ming Dynasty lion dog statues which Grauman had bought and imported from China. The interior began with a lavish lobby surrounded by walls painted with mythical figures and designed to look like paper screens. Beyond the lobby came the auditorium itself. The space had a seating capacity of over two thousand, including a huge balcony in which fancy private booths were also available. The centerpiece of the space was a giant chandelier of bronze designed to appear as a paper lantern. Pseudo-Chinese design dominated in every aspect, from the carpets to the seats to the stage curtains, keeping the fantasy of being in some other world in tact. The theater itself was as much a draw as the movies it showed.
After two million dollars spent in financing and a frantic year of construction, the Chinese Theater was ready to open on May 18, 1927. The opening film would be the feverishly hyped scriptural reenactment, The King of Kings. An estimated fifty thousand people packed the area around the theater in an attempt to glimpse the arrival of the celebrity patrons who packed the theater that night. Mary Pickford opened for the theater at ten o'clock, but The King of Kings did not actually begin playing until eleven. Before it came a long tableaux entitled The Glories of the Scriptures employing a cast of two hundred and personally produced by Grauman. The movie was an epic affair itself, and the audience did not leave the theater until about two a.m. Despite the long running time, The King of Kings was a massive success, the perfect beginning to the world famous Chinese Theater.
The Chinese Theater established itself as a Hollywood icon with great haste. Viewers flocked not only for its spectacular running performances and grandiose surroundings, complete with ushers costumed in elaborate mocks of Ming Dynasty theater robes, but also came to get daily parts as extras in the Grauman Prologues. Since all they really needed to do was mill about in order to lend atmosphere, every day people were picked out from a crowd at the back door according to the costume sizes they fit. The regularly paid and contracted dancers and singers would quickly guide them through the motions and let them out on stage. This frivolous excess signified the times, when America inhabited its own untouched dreamworld of pleasure and wealth that seemed to never end. Like the blissfully unaware people who visited it, the Chinese Theater would face a rude awakening at the end of the 1920s.
When the Great Depression hit, Grauman's personal fortune of six million dollars was lost in a single day. He had a chance to withdraw at least some of his investments before they entirely devalued, but because he often kept late nights he had always instructed his agents not to phone him before the afternoon. They could not reach him in time. He took it in stride, but difficult times still faced Grauman and the Chinese Theater. Throughout the Great Depression the theater was forced to close several times, though under Grauman's skillful management it always reopened. New showtimes were added, reserved seating was eliminated, promotion was toned down to reflect the more somber times, but most disappointingly to Grauman, the prologues had to go. With them went a Golden Age of Hollywood, an innocent revelry in the magic of film that would never truly return.
Post-Depression operation of the Chinese Theater was a more mundane affair. Several movie studios owned stakes in the theater, always retaining Grauman in an advisory capacity as much out of respect for him as his showmanship. The breakup of the studios under federal regulation in 1959 ended their control over the theater, which fell into the National General Corporation's possession. They sold it to Ted Mann, who invested a great deal of money into rennovation and renamed the theater to Mann's Chinese Theater, much to the chagrin of many L.A. residents. After much of the original decor was lost to various modernizing alterations such as the introduction of CinemaScope, there were concerns that the building's kitschy, but well loved architecture might be altered by later owners. The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Board designated it a historic monument in 1968. Besides the introduction of modern refinements such as THX and two smaller adjacent theaters called the Chinese II and III, the Chinese Theater has remained as a glorious testament to a more fanciful time in America's history.
The Forecourt and Footprints
While the Chinese Theater itself is a visual icon for Hollywood, what attracts millions of tourists each year to its courtyard is not the datedly 'exotic' architecture, but rather the footprints of the American movie stars idolized around the world. The cement blocks within the Chinese Theater's masonry walls were inspiration for the equally renowned Hollywood Walk of Fame
. They have allowed the Chinese Theater to continue as a symbol of Hollywood and the Silver Screen long after its viability as a movie house faded.
The origin of the footprint ceremony is not entirely known. It was known to involve Grauman and the actors Norma Talmadge, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford, who participated in the opening ceremonies, but their accounts are contradictory. One account tells that Grauman came up with the idea after seeing someone carelessly step in wet cement as he was meeting Pickford, another says that he observed chief mason Jean W. Klossner putting his imprints in the cement at the construction site, another that he made the accidental imprint himself. Pickford insisted that she had come up with the idea after seeing her dog Zorro run across a newly poured cement driveway. Some accounts have attributed the idea to Grauman's publicist Harry Hammond. Grauman himself says that he accidentally stepped in concrete at the work site and immediately summoned Talmadge, Fairbanks, and Pickford to record their own footprints. This last version is actually unlikely; the three actors were famed for their busy and inflexible schedules and Grauman was likewise famed for spinning tall tales (being a showman, naturally). The truth of the ceremony's origins will probably remain unknown.
The overseer of the ceremonies was master mason Jean W. Klossner. Descended from a long line of French masons, he used a special chemical formula for the concrete which he guarded jealously even unto his death. It allowed the concrete to be pliable for up to twenty hours so that mistakes could be corrected if the star felt necessary, and once set the concrete proved extremely durable. An eccentric man, Klossner fancied himself the artiste, often arriving to the ceremonies in painter's robes and with a burette. He and Grauman got into several spats over the course of Klossner's service (mostly about payment), but Grauman and the managers that followed him were forced to retain Klossner until the mason's death in 1965. All non-Klossner squares always cracked. He never shared the secret of his concrete's concoction, but those that followed him could approximate it easily enough with modern synthesized chemicals.
Until his death, Grauman made all decisions concerning which stars would be allowed to make their imprints. While a significant criteria was predicted staying power, most decisions were made for promotional reasons. Stars who had new releases playing at the Chinese Theater tended to get invited to make their marks on its forecourt. After his death, a committee chosen by each subsequent owner/s of the theater would make the decision.
Below is a full listing of the stars who had their hands (or other appendages) imprinted in the forecourt of the Chinese Theater. Following their names are the dates of their imprints and the messages (if any) they wrote.
- Mary Pickford - April 30, 1927 - "Greetings to Sid, hand and foot prints of Mary Pickford."
- Douglas Fairbanks - April 30, 1927 - "Good luck Sid. Hand and Foot Prints."
- Norma Talmadge - May 18, 1927 - "Sid Dear - My wish is for your success."
- Norma Shearer - August 1, 1927 - "Good luck always to Sid."
- Harold Lloyd - November 21, 1927 - "My best wishes always to Sid. Hand and foot prints of H.L." A drawing of his famous circular glasses.
- William S. Hart - November 28, 1927 - "To my friend Grauman, lots of luck." Two pistol imprints as well as the requisite hands and feet.
- Tom Mix - December 12, 1927 - "1,000 good lucks to my pal and friend S.G." A drawing of a cowboy hat. Shares the block with Tony the Wonder Horse.
- Tony the Wonder Horse - December 12, 1927 - Hoof prints. Shares the block with Tom Mix.
- Colleen Moore - December 19, 1927 - "May the Chinese Theater have greater success every year is the wish of Colleen Moore."
- Gloria Swanson - Exact date unknown, circa 1927 - "Love always to Sid. Hand and foot prints - G.S." A drawing of a heart with an arrow shot through it.
- Constance Talmadge - E.D.U., circa 1927 - "Best success. My hand and foot prints."
- Charlie Chaplin - E.D.U., circa 1928 - Inscription unknown. While he was extremely popular at the time he made them, some years later during the Red Scare Joseph McCartney launched a defamation campaign against the actor based on his alleged Communist sympathies. The theater management removed his square in response.
- Pola Negri - April 2, 1928 - "I love your theater."
- Bebe Daniels - May 11, 1929 - "To Sid, Our King of Showmen."
- Marion Davies - May 13, 1929 - "To Sid Grauman, the genius of the theater, from your pal Marion Davies."
- Janet Gaynor - May 29, 1929 - "Continued success to Sid Grauman, the Master Showman."
- Joan Crawford - September 14, 1929 - "May this cement our friendship."
- Ann Harding - August 30, 1930 - "Whatever success I have, you make possible."
- Raoul Walsh - November 14, 1930 - "His mark." Written above an extra fist print.
- Wallace Beery - January 31, 1931 - "America's New Sweethearts, Min and Bill." Shares a block with Marie Dressler.
- Marie Dressler - January 31, 1931 - "America's New Sweethearts, Min and Bill." Shares a block with Wallace Beery.
- Jackie Cooper - December 12, 1931 - "America's Boy. Age 8 years."
- Eddie Cantor - March 9, 1932 - "Here's looking at you, Sid." A drawing of two eyes.
- Diana Wynyard - January 26, 1933 - "Happiness always."
- The Marx Brothers - February 17, 1933 - "Best wishes to Sid Grauman from the Marx Bros."
- Jean Harlow - September 25, 1933 - "To Sid in sincere appreciation." Grauman attempted to hold the ceremony inside the theater, however the cement dried too quickly and her block shattered during transport outside. She was given another ceremony, this time in the forecourt as usual.
- Jean Harlow - September 29, 1933 - Same message, with three pennies imprinted for good luck.
- Maurice Chevalier - December 4, 1934 - "To my pal Sid."
- Jeanette MacDonald - December 4, 1934 - "Continued success Sid."
- Shirley Temple - March 14, 1935 - "Love to you all."
- Joe E. Brown - March 5, 1936 - "To Sid, with all my sole."
- Al Jolson - March 12, 1936 - "From Al to Sid, my knee prints." Extra... erm... knee prints.
- Freddie Bartholomew - April 4, 1936 - "With many thanks and appreciation to Sid Grauman."
- Bing Crosby - April 8, 1936 - "The Blue of the Night, to Sid Grauman." A musical staff with the beginning notes to the chorus of the song Where the Blue of the Night.
- Victor MacLaglen - May 25, 1936 - "Best wishes to Sid."
- William Powell - October 20, 1936 - "Sid, old boy, I am happy to put my foot in it for you."
- Myrna Loy - October 20, 1936 - "To Sid, who gave me my first job."
- Clark Gable - January 20, 1937 - "To Sid, who is a great guy."
- W.S. Van Dyke II - January 20, 1937 - "To Sid Grauman, best always and all ways."
- Dick Powell - February 10, 1937 - "Thanks a million, Sid."
- Joan Blondell - Feburary 10, 1937 - "Thanks two million!"
- Fredric March - April 21, 1937
- Mary Robson - April 22, 1937 - "Proud to be your friend."
- Tyrone Power - May 31, 1937 - "To Sid, with appreciation."
- Loretta Young - May 31, 1937 - "To Sid - Following in my father's footsteps."
- Sonja Henie - June 28, 1937 - "To Sid - Til Lykke Always." Figure skate prints.
- The Ritz Brothers - September 22, 1937 - "To our pal Sid Grauman from Ritz Bros."
- Eleanor Powell - December 23, 1937 - "To Sid, you're taps with me."
- Don Ameche - January 27, 1938 - "To Sid, Happy landing."
- Fred Astair - February 4, 1938 - "Thank you Sid."
- Deanna Durbin - February 7, 1938 - "To Sid with all my love."
- Alice Faye - March 20, 1938 - "Love to Sid."
- Tony Martin - March 20, 1938 - "Sid, many thinks."
- Edgar Bergen - July 20, 1938 - "Too stumped for words. Thanks to Sid Grauman." Shared the block with his puppet Charlie McCarthy.
- Charlie McCarthy - July 20, 1938 - A drawing of a tophat and monocle.
- The Dionne Quintuplets - October 11, 1938 - Not actually present at their ceremony, the quintuplets were frightfully exploited as children by the Canadian government, this being one of many publicity events done in their names.
- Jean Hersholt - October 11, 1938 - Placed the shoe prints for the quintuplets.
- Mickey Rooney - October 18, 1938 - "To Sid, without you, I wouldn't be here."
- Nelson Eddy - December 28, 1938 - "To Sid Grauman with every good wish."
- Ginger Rogers - September 5, 1939 - "To Sid Grauman."
- Judy Garland - October 10, 1939 - "For Mr. Grauman. All happiness."
- Jane Withers - November 6, 1939 - "Mr. Grauman, a hello to you!" Included a fanciful stick drawing labeled, "me".
- Linda Darnell - March 18, 1940 - "To Mr. Sid Grauman, the best always."
- Rosa Grauman - March 25, 1940 - "In eternal memory of my dear mother." Grauman's mother had died four years previous.
- George Raft - March 25, 1940 - "To my pal Sid."
- John Barrymore - September 5, 1940 - "To Sid - A great showman. My hand and foot prints, J.B. My profile." Included a side proflie of his face, which was pressed into the cement by Grauman.
- Jack Benny - January 13, 1941 - "My ♥ belongs to Mary, but my feet belong to Grauman."
- Carmen Miranda - March 24, 1941 - "To Sid, viva! In the South American way."
- Barbara Stanwyck - June 11, 1941 - "To Sid, we love you!" Shared the block with her husband (later ex-husband) Robert Taylor.
- Robert Taylor - June 11, 1941 - "To Sid, we love you!" Shared the block with his wife (later ex-wife) Barbara Stanwyck.
- Rudy Vallée - July 21, 1941 - "To Sid, 'my time is your time'."
- Cecil B. DeMille - August 7, 1941 - "Greetings to Sid. Hand and boot prints."
- The Judge Hardy Family - August 15, 1941 - A plaque dedicated to the fictional midwestern family the Hardys, which had a series of popular movies during the late thirties and forties.
- Abbot and Costello - December 8, 1941 - "To our pal Sid, Bud Abbot (Hi-ya-neighbor) Lou Costello ('I'm a bad boy')" Obviously, they shared a block.
- Edward Arnold - January 6, 1942 - "Thank you Sid, thungs-up."
- Joan Fontaine - May 26, 1942 - "To Sid Grauman, with good wishes and thanks."
- Red Skelton - June 18, 1942 - "Thanks Sid, 'We dood it'."
- Greer Garson - July 23, 1942 - "To you, Sid."
- Henry Fonda - July 24, 1942 - "To Sid, a great guy."
- Rita Hayworth - July 24, 1942 - "To Sid Grauman, thanks."
- Charles Laughton - July 24, 1942 - "Sid, 'at last'."
- Edward G. Robinson - July 24, 1942 - "To Sid, the Prince of Hollywood."
- Charles Boyer - July 24, 1942 - "To Sid, his fan."
- Bob Hope - February 5, 1943 - "To Sid, happy days!"
- Dorothy Lamour - February 5, 1943 - "To Sid, honest me?"
- Betty Grable - February 15, 1943 - "Thanks Sid. My leg. USA, USM, USMC" An imprint of her leg.
- Monty Wolley - May 28, 1943 - "To Sid, wish you were here. My beard." An imprint of his beard.
- Gary Cooper - August 13, 1943 - "Sid, I got here at last."
- Esther Williams - August 1, 1944 - "Thanks to Sid, in honor of G.I. Joe." Shared the block with Private Joe Brain.
- Joe Brain - August 1, 1944
- Jack Oakie - February 21, 1945 - "Dear Sid, my little tootsies. Don't stumble over 'em."
- Jimmy Durante - October 31, 1945 - "Sid, dis is my schnossle. Wish I had a million of 'em."
- Sid Grauman - January 24, 1946 - "I am grateful to all who have made these hand and foot prints possible."
- Gene Tierney - January 24, 1946 - "To Sid, sincere thanks."
- Irene Dunne - July 8, 1946 - "To Sid Grauman, sincere thanks."
- Rex Harrison - July 8, 1946 - "To Sid, my best always."
- Margaret O'Brien - August 15, 1946 - "Love to Mr. Grauman."
- Humphrey Bogart - August 21, 1946 - "Sid may you never die till I kill you."
- Louella O. Parsons - September 30, 1946 - "To Sid Grauman that's all today. See you tomorrow."
- Roy Milland - April 17, 1947 - "Thanks Sid for the honor."
- Lauritz Melchior - November 17, 1947 - "To Sid, with a big Skaal!"
- Jimmy Stewart - February 13, 1948 - "Thank you Sid."
- Van Johnson - March 25, 1948 - "God Bless you Sid."
- George Jessel - March 1, 1949 - "Bless you Sid."
- Roy Rogers - April 21, 1949 - "To Sid, many happy trails." Shared the block with his horse Trigger.
- Trigger - April 21, 1949 – Hoof prints.
- Richard Widmark - April 24, 1949 - "To Sid, with sincere thanks."
- Chales Nelson - April 24, 1949 - "Thanks to Sid. Talent Quest Winner."
- Jeanne Crain - October 17, 1949 - "To Sid, my greatest thrill."
- Jean Hersholt - October 20, 1949 - "Skaal to Sid Grauman my dear friend." A second square to replace his previous deteriorated one.
- Anne Baxter - December 15, 1949 - "Dear Sid, rain or shine I love you." A drawing of a sun, umbrella, and heart.
- Gregory Peck - December 15, 1949 - "To my friend Sid, 'Mr. Hollywood'."
- Gene Autry - December 23, 1949 - "To Sid Grauman, a great guy and a great showman." Shared the block with his horse Champion.
- Champion - December 23, 1949 - Actually many different horses, one of the stand-ins was present for the ceremony.
- John Wayne - January 25, 1950 - "Sid, there are not enough words."
- Lana Turner - May 24, 1950
- Bette Davis - November 6, 1950
- William Lundigan - December 29, 1950 - "My thanks." A Marine Corps symbol.
- Cary Grant - July 16, 1951
- Susan Hayword - August 10, 1951
- Hildegarde Neff - December 13, 1951
- Oskar Werner - December 13, 1951
- Jane Wyman - September 17, 1952 - "Just for you."
- Ava Gardner - October 21, 1952
- Clifton Webb - December 7, 1952 - "Stars and Stripes forever."
- Olivia de Havilland - December 9, 1952
- Adolph Zukor - January 5, 1953 - "Marking 50 happy years in motion pictures."
- Ezio Pinza - January 26, 1953 - "Tonight we sing."
- Effie O'Connor - February 25, 1953
- Donald O'Connor - Feburary 25, 1953 - "Following Mom's footsteps."
- Jane Russel - June 26, 1953 - "Gentlemen..." message continued onto the adjacent block, Marilyn Monroe's.
- Marilyn Monroe - June 26, 1953 - "...prefer blondes."
- Jean Simmons - September 24, 1953 - "In appreciation."
- Danny Thomas - January 26, 1954 - An inscribed cross.
- James Mason - March 30, 1954 - "Prince Valiant."
- Alan Ladd - May 12, 1954
- Edmund Purdom - August 30, 1954 - "The Egyptian."
- Van Heflin - October 8, 1954
- George Murphy - November 8, 1954
- Yul Brynner - March 22, 1956 - "The King..." continued into the adjacent square of Deborah Kerr.
- Deborah Kerr - March 22, 1956 - "...And I."
- Elizabeth Taylor - September 26, 1956
- Rock Hudson - September 26, 1956
- George Stevens - September 26, 1956
- Elmer C. Rhoden - September 16, 1958
- Rosalind Russell - February 19, 1959 - "Auntie Mame was here."
- Cantinflas - December 28, 1960
- Doris Day - Jaunary 19, 1961
- Natalie Wood - December 6, 1961
- Charlton Heston - January 18, 1962 - "Thanks."
- Sophia Loren - July 26, 1962 - "Solo per sempre."
- Kirk Douglas - November 1, 1962
- Paul Newman - May 25, 1963 - "His. Thanks!" Shared his block with Joanne Woodward.
- Joanne Woodward - May 25, 1963 - "Hers. Thanks!" Shared her block with Paul Newman.
- Jack Lemmon - June 29, 1963 - "Magic time."
- Shirley MacLaine - June 29, 1963 - "Mean time."
- Mervyn LeRoy - October 15, 1963
- Hayley Mills - Feburary 22, 1964 - "Fab."
- Dean Martin - March 21, 1964 - "Thanks."
- Peter Sellers - June 3, 1964 - An inscribed heart.
- Debbie Reynolds - January 14, 1965 - "Many thanks."
- Marcello Mastroianni - Feburary 8, 1965
- Frank Sinatra - July 20, 1965
- Julie Andrews - March 26, 1966
- Dick Van Dyke - June 25, 1966
- Steve McQueen - March 21, 1967 - "Thanks!"
- Sidney Poitier - June 23, 1967 - An embedded dime.
- Anthony Quinn - December 21, 1968 - "Dreams do come true."
- Danny Kaye - October 19, 1969
- Gene Kelly - November 24, 1969
- Francis X. Bushman - November 17, 1970
- Ali MacGraw - December 14, 1972 - "Peace & Love."
- Jack Nicholson - June 17, 1974
- Tom Bradley - May 18, 1977 - "For 50 great years." Shared with Ted Mann for the fiftieth anniversary of the theater.
- Ted Mann - May 18, 1977 - "All Los Angeles Congratulates the Chinese Theater."
- Anthony Daniels - August 3, 1977 - Also done with the footprints of C3PO, R2D2, and Darth Vader.
- George Burns - January 25, 1979 - "I'm 'Going in Style'."
- John Travolta - June 2, 1980 - "It's great to be here, thanks!"
- Burt Reynolds - September 24, 1981 - "To the public who made this possible. Lov' ya."
- Rhonda Fleming - September 28, 1981 - "To my Mann Ted, Love."
- Sylvester Stallone - June 29, 1983 - "To Ted, keep punchin' America!"
- George Lucas - May 16, 1984
- Steven Spielberg - December 18, 1947
- Clarence Nash - May 21, 1984
- Clint Eastwood - August 21, 1984 - "You made my day."
- Mickey Rooney - February 18, 1986 - "To Sid and Ted, without you both I wouldn't be here." His second square.
- Eddie Murphey - May 14, 1987
- William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, and George Takei - December 5, 1991 - All shared the same square for Star Trek's 25th anniversary.
- Harrison Ford - June 4, 1992
- Tom Cruise - June 15, 1992
- Mel Gibson - August 23, 1993
- Arnold Schwarzenegger - July 15, 1994
- Meryl Streep - September 25, 1994
- Whoopi Goldberg - February 2, 1995
- Bruce Willis - May 18, 1995
- Steven Seagal - July 10, 1995
- Jim Carrey - November 1, 1995
- Johnny Grant - May 13, 1997
- Robert Zemeckis - July 8, 1997
- Michael Douglas - September 10, 1997
- Al Pacino - October 16, 1997
- Denzel Washington - January 15, 1998
- Walter Matthau - April 2, 1998
- Warren Beatty - May 21, 1998
- Danny Glover - July 7, 1998
- Tom Hanks - July 23, 1998
- Robin Williams - December 22, 1998
- Susan Sarandon - January 11, 1999
- William F. Hertz - March 18, 1999
- Ron Howard - March 23, 1999
- Sean Connery - April 13, 1999
- Richard Gere - July 26, 1999
- Terry Semel - September 30, 1999
- Bob Daly - September 30, 1999
- Sir Anthony Hopkins - January 11, 2001
- Morgan Freeman - June 5, 2001
- Nicholas Cage - August 14, 2001
- Martin Lawrence - November 19, 2001
- John Woo - May 21, 2002
Endres, Stacey and Cushman, Robert. Hollywood at Your Feet. Los Angeles: Pomegranate Press, Ltd., 1992
Recent Hollywood Events - http://www.seeing-stars.com/Calendar/CalendarPast2.shtml#Chinese
Given that this writeup is rather long, the difficulty of fully proofreading it is several times that of a normal writeup. I may have missed something. If you notice any typos, spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, or even just awkward phrasings, please by all means inform me.