Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028

On October 20th, 2012, Hollywood’s first movie palace, Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre , celebrates its 90th Anniversary.

From their website:

“Please join the American Cinematheque in honoring the legacy of the Egyptian Theatre, the home of the first Hollywood movie première.

Join us for an evening of 1922 style entertainment featuring silent short films (including some Egyptian theme novelty films), vaudeville acts, dancing to premiere vintage orchestra Dean Mora’s Modern Rhythmnists, make your own Hollywood Screen Test, 1920s libations, a buffet fit for King Tut, gaming in our speakeasy gambling den, docent-led tours of the Egyptian’s private spaces.”

A month before its opening, the theatre somehow found its way into a talk on “the temples and religions of  Egypt during the reign of  Queen Hatchepsiut”  given by “well known Egyptologist” Captain D. Stuart Corbett, I. A. R. at the Krontona Institute ( known today as the Krotona Institute of Theosophy).

From Captain Corbett’s lecture as reported in Holly Leaves, September 9, 1922:

“Grauman’s Hollywood Theatre may not last a century but its art was old when the pyramids were built. The careful attention given to detail may be traced in the hieroglyphics on the walls. The reproduction of the cartouche from the royal scarab, bearing the inscription, ‘O Let me not my Heart bear Witness against me,’ is a wonderful exact in detail.

“Another notable bit of detail is the lighting system. Scientists and historians agree that the Egyptian temples were illuminated by a light said to have been handed down to the high priests  of Egypt  by the priests of Lost Atlantis. This effect is beautifully brought out by the hidden illumination in the Grauman Hollywood Theater, enhancing  the beauty of the architecture and giving it an artistic and almost religious atmosphere.

“In conclusion the speaker complimented Mr. Grauman on the realization of his ideals in giving to Southern California the most beautiful and artistic cinema temple in the world.”

Above photograph from a 35mm slide dated October 1983, photographer unknown, part of the Theatre Talks collection.

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

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