Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Big Three

By Courtney Sheets
I have an addiction to Old Hollywood. The glamorous heyday of films with stars like Marilyn Monreo, Clark Gable, and Bette Davis. I love the movies, the stars, and the glamour. I love everything. Especially the old movie houses of Hollywood’s Golden Age. I love it all.  

Living so close to L.A. affords me the ability to explore Hollywood on weekend jaunts and holiday trips. My friend and I are on a mission to see what we have dubbed ‘The Big Three’ of old movie houses.

The Egyptian, The Aero, and Grauman’s Chinese (Which is called Mann’s Chinese now, this one being the one with the footprints in the cement).

You can tour any of these theatres for a small ticket fee. Once inside these amazing slices of history, my writer’s mind runs away with itself. Recently we went on a tour of The Egyptian.

Inside are two working theatres, one normal sized theatre complete with pipe-organ, and a smaller space for a more intimate viewing. You can still see movies in this historical landmark. Built in 1922 it was home to the very first world premiere, Douglas Fairbank’s, Robin Hood. This was one of the first silent films I ever saw and thus began my love affair with the Robin Hood tale, which is the basis for my book, The Hooded Man. There was even a security guard in full Bedouin garb on the roof who patrolled with the theatre was in use. Two black-lacquered jackal statues that once graced the throne room of Cleopatra via Elizabeth Taylor flank the smaller theatre entrance.  The Egyptian also houses seminars and workshops by modern filmmakers. There is something for every film buff.

The second of the two theatres, the one I haven’t been to yet, The Aero hosts concerts and smaller indie film premieres. You can also tour this theatre.

Last but not least is Grauman’s/Mann’s Chinese Theatre. This movie house still has big budget Hollywood premieres and has become a well-recognized historical landmark. The courtyard of this famous theatre is where the celebs have their names and footprints, or handprints, immortalized in cement.  The Hollywood Walk of Fame is just outside the theatre. (The Walk of Fame continues for several blocks. If you’re looking for a specific celebrity star I would suggest you look on the Walk of Fame website. It will give you the exact location of the star you wish to see) .

What are some of your favorite old movies? 

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