Manns Chines Theatre – Hollywood, California.
Here it is, the most famous Cinema in the world!
The cinema is located on Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood,
The cinema opened in May 1927 and was the dream of Sid Grauman, who filled the cinema with exotic art from China.
The theatre was renamed “Mann’s Chinese Theatre” after it was purchased by Ted Mann in 1973.
As well as the movies playing inside the whole exterior is an attraction in itself, the huge red pagodas, the snaking dragon, stone lions guarding the entrance and of course the stars hand and footprints on the forecourt.
Star Wars Opened here on May 25th 1977 with crowds winding up the adjacent roads. A certain Mr. G Lucas was enjoying a meal in the “Hamburger Hamlet” opposite the Cinema on the opening night and was pleasantly surprised and the reaction his then little hyped film was garnering. I and 3 other friends took a 2 week trip to Hollywood in May 1999.
We stayed in the Travel lodge on Sunset and La Brea. We arrived on Sunday 16th and were hopeful of getting tickets for the opening day of The Phantom Menace.
On our arrival we decided to take a stroll along Hollywood Boulevard to shake of the Jet lag and to orientate ourselves a little.
We stopped at the ticket booth and purchased 4 tickets for the 12:05pm showing of the film – I was surprised to get tickets for such an early showing after seeing the news reports of the “hard-core” fans camping out! Anyway I had a ticket was keeping it very safe.
On the Tuesday Night we went to see The Mummy at the Galaxy theatre. On exiting the crowds and newscasters were out in “force” all prior to the one minute past midnight 1st showing, even the trekkies were out chanting “make Trek not Wars”! The atmosphere was electric, part of the road was closed off due to the volume of people and there was an expectant buzz around. Well I had to wait another 12hours until I could say I had seen it.
On the morning we got up washed, went to have our coffee and doughnut breakfast and made our way round to the cinema. I was horrified to see the volume of people in queues and the distance to the end – Damn! Our line stretched from the front out and to the left (looking toward the cinema) along past the fandom menace guys and galls then as far as I could see up N Orange DR. We trudged our way past Jedi’s and Maul’s and even a Yoda.
Now with twenty minutes to curtain up the queue had not moved and I was getting worried that we would not see the movie. Everybody was getting anxious at the non-movement! With about 10 minutes till Showtime there was movement at the front of the line. To my astonishment everyone got in, ticket checked and got seated just before the curtain rose. Every little moment was greeted with rapturous applause, the curtain moving, the Fox logo, Lucasfilm logo and then – “ a long time ago..” the roof lifted and the glowing of the lightsabres stood the hairs on the back of my neck.
The movie was okay but I left feeling more could have been done. (The original trilogy this was not going to be)
I and the guys then jumped on a movie star tour bus and took off for 2 hours. Now we also went to Universal Studios, Disneyland and to Six Flags theme park, but the highlight was in Santa Monica Mall on the Tuesday the week after seeing the film.
We were shopping for stuff when I thought I recognised someone, soon to be famous, after some deduction and
a bit of tailing / stalking from a Foot Locker store I narrowly missed a beating by none other than Mr. Ray Park – Darth Maul (see photo).
We had a chat and found out some stuff about the filming processes. (I have since caught up with Ray at fan conventions – and YES I believe I am his LA stalker).