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Wow. Then that just happened. I looked the other day -- probably Friday -- and they were still available. I was curious only because the Essential Pass has Sold Out early every year and was wondering if it had happened yet.


Anyone reading this and who is planning on attending, better get your purchase in soon. Classic Passes have also Sold Out in the previous two years. Time is running short for 2013. April will be here quicker than you know it.

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Will she or won't she?


According to last year's announcement schedule, January's update arrived on the 31st. Maybe we will find out then!


And.........the Road to Hollywood link has been updated for January 31. The 40th Anniversary of Cabaret and it's recent restoration will be hosted by Robert Osborne at the Ziegfield Theatre. Guests include Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, Michael York, and Marisa Berenson, and tickets will be available on January 17.


For more information, follow the link: {size:15px}http://www.tcm.com/2012/roadtohollywood/details.html?city=3

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This from the LA Times....



Planned improvements include a new extra-wide screen, stadium seating, superior sound and projection systems, and a new box-office marquee on Hollywood Boulevard.Some of TCL's technology, including large LED screens and digital signs, will be featured in the movie palace.



My feelings....



I hate to think of this treasure being altered in such a fashion. True, these "improvements" are somewhat standard in theaters now, but what I love about GRAUMAN'S ( I will continue to call it by that name, I am sure) is the feeling of being transported to the Golden Age of Hollywood while I'm there. I am sure that upgrades have been made over the years, and the theater is already far from it's original state. However, this proposed modernization leaves me truly saddened. SueSue, we will have to take a long, loving look at the place during this year's TCM Film Fesitval. It will never be the same once these changes occur.



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Let's not weep for the future of the Chinese Theater too quickly. The LA Landmarks Commitee, the City Council and (hopefully) the Studios will have a lot to say about any drastic "improvements" (alterations) to this very beloved -- and protected -- building.


But I agree that it is a distressing situation facing fans of the Chinese Theater.

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Darryl, we all will definitely want to savor our moments in the L.A. sunshine and relish every moment we spend steeped in the history of the theatres, the historic areas, and the ambiance of classic Hollywood,

It might never be the same again!


Kyle, thank you so much for those reassuring words. Can you tell us a little bit more about how the LA Landmarks Committee and the City Council work to secure the historical interity of such landmarks? I think we would all love to know more about this situation from a "native" if you have time to address this issue. :-)

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Actually, Lynn may be a better person to speak up as she was the one that first mentioned to me that the Landmarks Commission would be all over the owner's plans at what appear to be substantial changes to the exterior and interior of the theater.


RIght now, the most that the city can do is delay a project. In 2009 there was an effort to to allow the city power to deny a project that would demolish or severely alter a building that was on the Los Angeles Historic Cultural Register. But that effort seems to have stalled.


Today there are ordiances that cover other aspects of the proposed "enhancements" that may come in to play. The city has all but banned digital billboards in LA. That should keep the theater from placing a TImes Square-sized display in the forecourt or street-facing area of the exterior - if that is their plan. However, the owners may be able to upgrade the marquees that are there now to digital displays.


One can read about the Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monuments and Historical Cultural Committee here -



And the Los Angeles Conservancy is a powerful non-profit in LA whose mission is to protect the architectural history of the city. The group even has a sub-committee devoted to historic theaters.



Here's the Wiki about the Hollywood Historic-Cultural Commission and a list of Hollywood sites that are already designated.




There are some members of the City Council who are civic-minded and very committed to maintaining the historical heritage of LA's landmarks. Just two years ago, the city and civic leaders successfully fought an effort for residential development planned for the hilltop area adjacent to the Hollywood sign. That is a hopeful sign that the Chinese Theater alterations will also become a cause for mobilization in the community.


My biggest concern is wondering how the owners plan to configure stadium seating inside the theater without destroying the interior. I can't picture that change in my mind.


But rest assured that everything about this project will be scrutinized every step of the way.

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Hollywood Heritage is another non-profit preservation group that will likely be keeping an eye on any proposed changes to Graumans.


They partnered with the LA Conservancy a decade ago to save the Cinerama Dome from being destroyed and then after getting Arclight to agree to saving the Dome, worked together to preserve the interior of the Dome. There is no stadium seating in the Dome as I recall.


Another factor in the digital signage may be the Roosevelt. Digital billboards give off a tremendous amount of light and that may prove disruptive to overnight guests at the Roosevelt.


Grauman's had a restoration as recently as 2002 when it was owned by Warners and Paramount.


It could be that the new owners were more interested in selling the naming rights and may not be aware that there is more to owning a historic venue than just owning a historic venue.


Another factor in all this is the money the theater generates as a prime Hollywood premiere theater. In season (especially spring and the fall), Grauman's does a heavy business in premiering the latest Hollywood movies and cutting into that profit to may make alterations less appealing if it means less money in the new owners' pockets for a period of time.


Adding stadium seating may not be an option. The slope of the theater interior and the existing sight lines may make that impractical. Not to mention any changes are going to bring the historic preservation groups into the mix.


Is there a way to freshen up the theater without substantially altering the interior?


There probably is, new seats, but not stadium seating, could be done. New paint, new carpet, that sort of thing could easily be done.

The 4k Barco digital projector that TCM rents for the FF would be a welcome permanent addition.


And the question remains, what restoration work was done in 2002 and does it need to redone?


The allure of Grauman's isn't in any part, it's the historic aspects of the forecourt and theater and the history that makes it such a tourist draw. Any facade or interior changes that takes away from the history makes it less of a draw to the tourist crowd.


The new owners are about to find out that no one wants Grauman's modernized beyond recognition.

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From Hollywood Heritage's archives regarding Hollywood and Highland and the agreement those owners made with HH back in 1998 and the restoration that took place (I believe this is the 2002 restoration noted in the LA Times article):


As part of Hollywood Heritage?s approval of TrizecHahn?s Hollywood/ Highland project in 1998, a special condition was the restoration of Grauman?s Chinese Theater.


TrizecHahn agreed to this the day of the final Community Redevelopment Agency hearing, and now the results of that six-month negotiation are coming to fruition. No other group, agency, or individual demanded, or even asked for, the restoration of the Chinese Theater to be a part of the project?s approval (Hollywood Heritage had several other issues that were also addressed).


Mann Theaters, owners of the Chinese, have embarked on a $5 million program for the world famous 1927 theater. Seismic retrofitting is being done in the stage housing and will also include a shear wall in front of where the current projection booth is located. The 1994 earthquake revealed some structural conditions in the building that will be improved. The new wall is 32 feet long and designed to minimize any visual impact.


The projection booth is being moved back to its original location (it was moved downstairs in 1958) and a new screen is being installed, increasing image size to over 85 feet (the current anamorphic size is 75 feet, 81 feet for 70mm). New wider seats will be installed and, at Hollywood Heritage?s suggestion, the original cast iron aisle chair designs with Chinese motif will hopefully be recreated.


The side concession stands will be removed while the center stand will be pushed back into the space occupied now by the projection booth, providing more space for concession sales and opening up the lobby. The original decorative plaster ceiling elements, now hidden above the booth?s false ceiling, will be revealed and restored. Paint and plaster damage on the lobby?s ceiling and wall is being restored and new carpeting will be installed.


In the auditorium, the over 1,000 ceiling lights that are not on or not now functioning will be put back into operation. This includes the multiple color circuits that provided a light show in the auditorium and lit the detailed ceiling, which is almost impossible to see today.


Some lighting features, such as the "spider lights" above the side exit corridors, have already been relit. No one remembers when they were last on, due to the problem of accessing them. Many other architectural detail treats will once again come to life as the November 1 finish date approaches. All work is being done in the late evenings and mornings, so only a few weekday matinees will be cancelled. The theater itself will remain open during construction.


For the exterior, a return to the look of 1927 is being planned. The elaborate 1957 neon design marquees will be removed, revealing the original decorative arches beneath. The neon marquees will be replaced with a simple flat-panel marquee above the arches, less than half the size of the current signage, and will not cover any architectural details. The two original vertical blade signs will be recreated reading "Graumans" and "Chinese" with neon and incandescent lighting. The ficus trees in front of the theater have been removed and will be replaced with palm trees.


The 1957 marquees have become landmarks themselves, and Hollywood Heritage is looking at ways to maintain at least one, of not both, on site. We hope to have them included into the new sixplex being built next door, but no plans are final as yet. The signs will not be thrown away, but it would be best to include them into the new project where they could bridge the history of the two buildings and provide practical signage to let patrons know where the new theaters are located. Plus, they are great visual attractions that deserve to be preserved.


The theater?s stone and concrete exterior will be repaired and repainted. Metal work will be cleaned and missing pieces recreated. A new lighting scheme will highlight the exterior?s architectural exuberance at night. The two fountains in the forecourt will be restored (one is already operating again after 40+ years of non-use).


The concession stands and other assorted forms of visual blight in the forecourt will be removed. Starline Tours will remain, but in the 1927 ticket booth, just east of the doorway. Two other new stands will be built, to be sympathetic to the design of the forecourt, behind the existing storefronts.


These new units will not be seen from the street. Soda machines, all other items outside of the stands, and the 1927 ticket booth will be removed. The net result will be a two-thirds reduction in square footage of concession stands (which provide an amazing amount of profit that is competitive with the theater?s).


Additional forecourt work will include conservation and restoration of the foot and handprints (especially those made in the 1990s?they are not doing as well as those from the 1920s). The two large feather palm trees that graced the front of the forecourt will be reinstalled. Mann is reviewing Hollywood Heritage?s request to put trees back on the top of the theater in the front, as were there until the 1940s. These would be studio trees, not real ones, to minimize maintenance, as well as water and weight damage to the roof.


The existing ticket booth and metal canopy would be removed. Tickets will be purchased next door at the new complex and holes in the forecourt would be used to **** a cloth canopy when needed (this is how the theater was originally designed, with no permanent canopy and a rear forecourt box office).


These are important changes that will bring back the glamour and greatness of the world?s most famous theater, both for tourists seeing just the exterior, and for the patron getting the classic movie experience. Other ideas discussed for the future have included reinstalling the theater equipment (as at the El Capitan), reinstalling a pipe organ (the original is in a Burbank church), and recreating the globular chandelier that hung until 1958 in the auditorium. Hopefully there will be a phase two, if the restored theater is a success (how could it not be?).


As with any project this complex, there are many people to thank. For Mann Theaters: Project Manager Jeff Hicks; 50+ year employee, Corporate Representative Bill Hertz (the best first-hand account of how the theater has changed); and theater managers John LaCaze and Colen Jones. Michael Browers and his team at Behr Browers architects have done a tremendous job in putting together the restoration and recreation plans.


They have been planning this for close to 10 years, patiently waiting, and it was their early work that helped spark Hollywood Heritage?s push for a restoration agreement. Historic Resources Group has overseen the plans and details to make certain of compliance with historic regulations under the guidance of Christy McAvoy, Peyton Hall, aia, and Steve Moga. Kipp Rudd of the CRA and Jay Oren of the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission have kept reviewing the project for compliance, and Jay?s suggestions to modify the concession stand designs greatly reduced their negative visual impact.


Finally, a special thanks to the late Ted Mann. Although his name change on the theater caused a controversy (the current newspaper ads now read "Graumans"), he had a strong feeling for the theater. When almost every other large, single screen, theater was being closed, cut-up, or redeveloped, he kept the Chinese going with first-run movies. He maintained the theater as a cultural icon and kept it financially viable. If he hadn?t, the restoration being done today would not have been possible.


And the renowned fame of the Chinese for being a major showcase for important pictures and movie premieres would have ended in the 1960s. So, a special thanks to Ted Mann and his wife, actress Rhonda Fleming who supported him throughout and continues with their many charitable concerns, including film preservation.





So there may be contractual caveats in place between Hollywood Heritage and Hollywood and Highland regarding Grauman's that the new owners of the Chinese (and the naming rights owners) must adhere to.

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In addition to the restoration described below, Grauman's at that time also upgraded the sound system within the theater:





An upgrade to that sound system has been proposed as well as a new, larger screen.


Both of which could probably be done without altering the restoration.

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Thank you, Lynn and Kyle, for the wealth of info! I especially enjoyed the link to "List of L.A. Historic-Cultural Monuments in Hollywood". I am hoping to visit several of them after this year's festival. As for Grauman's Chinese Theater , I hope those with the power will give their "all" to making sure any modifications made don't alter wildly from the original vision of Sid Grauman. I was surprised to read that the Cinerama Dome was once in danger of demolition. That would have been such a terrible loss! Also, I didn't know that Rhonda Fleming was married to Ted Mann. She was a delight at the Cry Danger presentation/discussion last year. Lots of good stuff! Thanks again.

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*"Is Tom LaBonge the councilman for Hollywood these days?"* - lzcutter


No. His district only dropped into a small sliver of Hollywood - Whitley Heights and, funny enough, half my block. But I think that changed with the recent redistricting. A block closer to the boulevard and Eric Garcetti is (still) councilperson.


Mr. Garcetti represents most of the Hollywood Business District and is VERY pro-business. He loves all the development - including this 40-story development planned near Vine Street. I think he was behind giving Cirque de Soleil $57 million of Federal stimulus money to "upgrade" the 10-year old Kodak Theater for a permanent show there. And look at how well that turned out. (The show closes after only one year of an expected ten-year run.)


But Mr. Garcetti is running for mayor this year so he may be a bit more civic minded and less business lapdog in supporting this planned project.

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*"Thank you, Lynn and Kyle, for the wealth of info! I especially enjoyed the link to "List of L.A. Historic-Cultural Monuments in Hollywood". I am hoping to visit several of them after this year's festival."*


You're welcome 'darryl'.

After reviewing the Hollywood Cultural Landmarks, you probably already know that the Classic Film Festival utilizes many of the landmarks on the list. Screenings have taken place at four of the culturally significant locations - Graumann's Chinese Theater, The Egyptian Theater, The Cinerama Dome and -- perhaps most surprisingly -- the David Hockney painted pool at the Roosevelt Hotel. Yep. The pool is a cultural landmark separate from the hotel itself (but also a landmark.)


I wonder if any other Film Festival anywhere in the world takes place using such storied and historic locations?


Edited by: hlywdkjk on Jan 14, 2013 1:49 PM

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> {quote:title=hlywdkjk wrote:}{quote}*"Thank you, Lynn and Kyle, for the wealth of info! I especially enjoyed the link to "List of L.A. Historic-Cultural Monuments in Hollywood". I am hoping to visit several of them after this year's festival."*




> You're welcome 'darryl'.

> After reviewing the Hollywood Cultural Landmarks, you probably already know that the Classic Film Festival utilizes many of the landmarks on the list. Screenings have taken place at four of the culturally significant locations - Graumann's Chinese Theater, The Egyptian Theater, The Cinerama Dome and -- perhaps most surprisingly -- the David Hockney painted pool at the Roosevelt Hotel. Yep. The pool is a cultural landmark separate from the hotel itself (but also a landmark.)

> Lynn and Kyle, thank you both so much for all the information!

And I thank you, too, Lynn and Kyle. We appreciate your expertise!

> I wonder if any other Film Festival anywhere in the world takes place using such storied and historic locations?

Not many. Maybe the Berlin Film Festival. Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, and Keanu Reeves are celebs we might recognize from last year's "Berlinale."

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> Thank you, Lynn and Kyle, for the wealth of info!




You're quite welcome! I'll post more if I get more info. A couple of my friends are part of the historic preservation groups so I'll keep you posted!

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Newest update


{font:sans-serif, arial, verdana}{size:22px} MADCAP COMEDY, CLASSIC ANIMATION, LEGENDARY WESTERNS AND LANDMARK SILENTS ADDED TO 2013 LINEUP!{font}{font:sans-serif, arial, verdana}{size:12px}TCM is thrilled to announce the following additions to the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival lineup.



Film critic and historian Leonard Maltin and animation historian and author Jerry Beck curate and present some of the best shorts featuring everyone's favorite rascally rabbit.


*BADLANDS (1973)*

World premiere 40th anniversary restoration of writer/director Terrence Malick's landmark tale of doomed lovers on a cross-country crime spree, starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek.



Celebrating the 80th anniversary of the film with a new print, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire make their onscreen debut together in this musical comedy about a bandleader pursuing the woman of his dreams in Brazil.


*HONDO (1953)*

John Wayne stars as a mysterious stranger helping a deserted mother and son save their ranch in this 60th anniversary 3D screening.


*IT (1927)*

Clara Bow gives a career-defining performance as a shop girl who uses her romantic charms to pursue her wealthy employer, with live accompaniment by composer Carl Davis conducting a performance of his original score.


*SCARECROW (1973)*

Gene Hackman and Al Pacino star as a pair of mismatched drifters who travel across the country to open the car wash of their dreams in this U.S. premiere 40th anniversary restoration.


*SHANE (1953)*

Alan Ladd, Van Heflin and Jean Arthur star in George Stevens' landmark Western about a roving gunslinger who gets caught between a homesteader and a ruthless cattle baron.

We're also happy to announce the TCM Classic Film Festival is returning to the world famous Arclight Cinema's Cinerama Dome in 2013 with two special presentations:

* *CINERAMA HOLIDAY (1955)* The second film made specifically for Cinerama follows two real-life couples –one from St. Louis and one from Switzerland – as they travel to each other's countries in this travelogue delight. Presented in three screen Cinerama.

* *IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (1963)* This 50th anniversary presentation of Stanley Kramer's uproarious, star-studded comedy about a madcap race for buried treasure is presented in 70mm.


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Fun additions to the lineup this year!


Lynn and Kyle, going back to the Grauman's situation, I would like to add to the excellent information that you posted. I got in touch with an old friend at the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles. He put me in touch with Hillsman Wright from LAHTF (Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation). I am posting Mr. Wright's comments (one was a copy of his recent press remarks and the other has some specifics about the proposed changes). Note the change about seating capacity: 1110 seats will become 950 seats.





RE: TCL Grauman’s Chinese Sponsorship




Sid Grauman was Hollywood’s greatest showman. He was a master at mixing ballyhoo, business and beauty. He would probably approve of the spectacle here in the Forecourt today. His Chinese Theatre still stands as his greatest achievement and the most famous movie palace in the world. It is a living manifestation of two Hollywoods– the real, physical, bricks and mortar Hollywood- and the other Hollywood - the dream factory of our hearts and imaginations.



























The Chinese Theatre has succeeded and endured for 85 years because it is unique, and because it has adapted to each advance in motion picture technology and patron comfort. It is a great place to see a movie – maybe the best place to see a movie- and that experience will soon be even better.



























I am here on behalf of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sustaining historic theatres, to offer our support for the improvements outlined today and to express our appreciation to the management of Chinese Theatres and to TCL for their visionary leadership in taking the Chinese to a new level of excellence.



























Historic theatres are repositories of memory and meaning. Few theatres have fired the imaginations, inspired the dreams and quickened the hearts of as many as the Chinese Theatre. Thanks to the new partnership of the Chinese Theatres and TCL, Sid Grauman’s dream palace will continue to inspire for generations to come. Somewhere out there, today Sid Grauman is smiling.



























Finally, I’d like to thank Alwyn Hight Kushner and her team here at the Chinese for the many kindnesses and considerations extended to our organization. We should all thank them for their hard work, passion and devotion in preserving and operating this theatre thereby honoring Sid Grauman’s legacy on a daily basis.



























Hillsman Wright, Co-Founder



Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation



[www.lahtf.org|http://www.lahtf.org] "



{font:Helvetica}"There will indeed be stadium seating - but not nearly as steep as your local cineplex. When you enter the auditorium from the lobby, you will be on the same level as the last row of seats. No more stairways down to the aisle as currently exists. The seating steps down from there to a cross aisle at the middle of the theatre that leads to the exit corridors behind the columns. The seating will continue to step down. from the cross aisle. The top of the screen and proscenium will not change, however they will excavate the front part of the theatre to make the screen taller and to continue the steps downs for the seating. Like the ArcLight, there will be some distance from the front row to the screen. New seating capacity will be 950. We're trying to get them to replicate the original carpeting and include a chinese decoration on the seat backs as was the original. There will be new projection and sound. The exterior will be repainted and new lighting installed. A new marquee over the Hollywood Blvd will have new digital screens where the TCL Chinese THeatre will scroll between film ads. The Grauman & Chinese blade signs will remain. Grauman's name was taken off the theatre in 1957 and not returned till 2001.

The excavation for the seating will knock out what's left of the orchestra pit and go down to about 18 inches from the backstage basement floor. They think the rehab will take 3 months - I think it will take longer. Finally, the plans were reviewed by Peyton and the Historic Resources Group (they did a 106 review), LAHTF and the Conservancy. All concur that the renovation will not effect any historic character defining features."{font}



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Dear Countess,


You are indeed a treasure for following up on an issue that we are all concerned about, the integrity of a historic theatre so closely associated with The Turner Classic Film Festival. Your expertise and initiative in this matter is dearly appreciated. Thank you so much!


Dear Kyle,



The addition of *Hondo* is not only a welcome initial 3D feature, but also is an entertaining tale of struggle, serendipity, and love quite different from the standard Western fare of the 1950s. Even though it was filmed in 1953, I have always felt it is a rallying sort of sequel to *The Searchers* (1956) and shows how the lone wolf persona of Ethan Edwards finally reunites with the family he's rejected and lost during the sequences of his quest in *The Searchers*. Hondo accepts the setlling nature of a Mrs. Lowe in his restless existence, and finally his soul is at peace. Will a representative of the Wayne family legacy be present for the historic introduction? I hope so. Passholders will be thrilled!

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Hi Countess -


Thanks for contacting your friend and for posting the remarks of the Historic Theater Foundation President.


I can't say I am completely at ease or reassured that the renovation won't have some detrimental effect on the theater but I will give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

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It almost sounds like a "done-deal". How distressing! I just don't see the need for it. I don't expect modern, state of the art features when I am lucky enough to view a film there. I want to immerse myself in the history and feel like a time traveler, so to speak. When I have the opportunity to ride in a classic car, I have no desire for GPS, electric windows and the like. I want to experience it as one would have when said vehicle was "new". I feel that this alteration to Grauman's is pretty much money-driven. I would hope that the revenue generated from the 40 or so premieres held there each year, plus events like our beloved Film Festival coming up in April, plus the income from presenting regular feature films, would sufficiently fill the current owner's coffers. Thank you, Countess, for sharing Mr. Wright's comments with us. I will continue to hope that somehow,someone will intervene before the jackhammers arrive. Is Sid Grauman smiling? I don't think so!

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