Everybody loves a good ghost story. There are lots of happy hauntings all throughout different cities of the world and Hollywood is on the list!
There are lots of famous haunted landmarks in the Hollywood area but Grauman’s Chinese Theater is definitely one of the most well known. The list of happy haunts in Hollywood is surprisingly long and includes such places as the strange case of the John Belushi-haunted Chateau Marmont, the strange case of the Rudolph Valentino-haunted Hollywood Forever Cemetery and the oh – so – very – famous (and sad) case of the suicidal-starlet-haunted Hollywood sign.
A roughly 1.5-mile stretch of Hollywood Boulevard, from the famed intersection of Hollywood and Vine to the less heralded crossing of Hollywood and Sierra Bonita, is dotted with five reported ghostings. It’s the highest concentration in all of Los Angeles County per the site’s accounting, not including the various reported ghostings from the nearby side streets.
Grauman’s Chinese Theater is one of the most easily recognized landmarks in Hollywood. The theater and the forecourt are believed to be haunted by several ghosts.
Grauman’s Chinese Theater is located on the northeast corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Orange Drive. Across the street is the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel which is also haunted. At least 2 million tourists annually flock to this area in Hollywood to see the Walk of Fame, Hollywood Wax Museum and Hollywood Guinness World Records Museum.
History of Grauman’s Chinese Theater
Following the success of opening the Egyptian Theater in 1922, showman Sid Grauman built the Chinese Theater and it was opened in 1927. The theater was built in order to host the spectacular premiere of Cecil B Demille’s film, The King of Kings.
Grauman’s Chinese Theater is easily recognized by its carved pagoda towers, a Chinese dragon across the front, silhouettes of tiny dragons on the copper roof and two stone lions guarding the main entrance.
It is supposed to be good luck to touch the three wax figures that are inside the lobby of the Chinese Theatre. The lobby features elaborate wall murals, a Chinese chandelier and columns painted in red and gold.
Grauman’s Chinese Theater has hosted more movie premiers than any other movie house in Hollywood. It was also the location of the Academy Awards ceremony for three years in the 1940s.
In 1968, the theater was declared a cultural and historic landmark and several restoration projects have been done.
In 1973, the theater was sold to Ted Mann and the name was changed to Mann’s Chinese Theater. By 2000, Warner Brothers and Paramount Studios bought the theater as a joint venture. In 2002, the original name of Grauman’s Chinese Theater was given back.
Sid Grauman received an honorary Academy Award in 1949 for raising the standard for film exhibition. He was also one of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
History of Grauman’s Chinese Theater Forecourt
An accidental stepping into wet cement out front of the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in 1927 was the start of the Forecourt of the Stars.
The story of how it happened has been told differently in different brochures. The story is that Norma Talmadge, a friend of Grauman’s, stepped out of her car to check out Sid’s new theater. The cement was still wet, and a light bulb went off in old Grauman’s head. But the theater owner himself later said that yes, it was an accident—but that it was he, not Talmadge, who stepped into the fresh wet cement. The first official signature in the forecourt was Mary Pickford’s. Mary and her then-husband Douglas Fairbanks were the theater’s co-owners.
There are now almost 200 Hollywood celebrity footprints, handprints and autographs on the sidewalk outside the theater’s door.
Some of the most unusual imprints are the cigars of George Burns and Groucho Marx, the noses of Bob Hope and Jimmy Durante and the fist of John Wayne. The tradition continues and celebrities are still being added to the Walk of Fame.
The Ghosts of Grauman’s Chinese Theater
Theater patrons and employees have heard strange sounds, felt cold spots and have the feeling of being watched. There have also been reports of flickering lights and unidentifiable noises in the employees’ locker room.
The velvet stage curtains seem to move for no reason. It is believed to be the spirit of a stagehand named Fritz who hung himself behind the movie screen many years ago. His ghostly presence can also be felt backstage.
There are stories of a ghost of a little girl by the name of Annabelle who wanders around backstage and tugs on the curtains.
In 1982, actor Victor Kilian was murdered in his apartment which was located one block away from Grauman’s Chinese Theater. He apparently had struck up a conversation with a stranger and they went back to Kilian’s apartment where it had been burglarized. The killer has never been caught, but the ghost of Killian can be seen on the sidewalk in front of the Chinese Theater where he is allegedly trying to find his murderer.
Grauman’s Chinese Theater continues to offer contemporary films. Visitors who don’t want to watch a movie can take a tour of this lavishly decorated theater.