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Grauman Papers
988.0.469  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Sid Grauman (1879-1950) built several theaters in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In San Francisco, he created the Unique Theater with his father where artists such as Frank Bacon, Jesse Lasky and his sister, and the Coast Defenders performed. This theater ran until the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, following which they set up a tent theater. Eventually, this grew into a number of theaters in San Jose, Sacramento, and Stockton where some of the premiere vaudevillian performers were booked including Sophie Tucker, Al Jolson, Lou Holtz and Buddy DeSylva. Around 1916, Grauman began moving his business to Los Angeles and involving himself in the budding movie industry there. In Los Angeles, he operated famous theaters like the Million Dollar, the Metropolitan, the Rialto, the Egyptian Theater, formed in 1922, and the Chinese Theatre, formed in 1927. He began practices such as the Prologue, the gala premiere, and the handprints and signatures outside the Chinese Theatre. This collection contains a number of photographs including those of Grauman’s various theaters, personal moments, and actors over the years. It also includes some programs, newsclippings, artwork, postcards, and miscellaneous memorabilia from his theatrical endeavors.
Background
Sid Grauman (1879-1950) built several theaters in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In his early life, he traveled across the United States in search of adventure, including some time in Dawson City, Alaska with his father, David G. Grauman, where they staged a benefit performance for the miners there. Eventually, they returned to San Francisco to open the Unique Theater on Market Street where artists such as Frank Bacon, Jesse Lasky and his sister, and the Coast Defenders performed. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the two of them set up a flourishing tent theater which then expanded to multiple operating theaters in San Jose, Sacramento, and Stockton. At this time, they booked leading vaudevillian performers such as Sophie Tucker, Al Jolson, Lou Holtz and Buddy DeSylva. In 1916, Sid went on the road with a production to Los Angeles and fell in love with the city and the budding movie industry. In the next few years, he began moving his business to Los Angeles and operating theaters in that area. The first was the Million Dollar followed by the Metropolitan (now the downtown Paramount) and the Rialto. These large, grand theaters became his trademark. In 1922 he constructed the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard where he developed the Prologue and where Lawrence Tibbett got his start. Sid also was the creator of the gala premiere. In 1927, he opened his crowning achievement, the Chinese Theatre. The theater opened with Cecil B. de Milles's "King of Kings" and is famous for the autographs and footprints of the stars in cement at the entrance of the theater. In 1929, Grauman lost all his wealth in the stock market crash. However, he was still able to quickly recover. By the late Thirties he had sold his interests in all these theaters and had turned to other endeavors, which included the Hollywood Rollerbowl and several parking lots in Hollywood.
Extent
2 Boxes. 1 linear foot.
Restrictions
Reproduction of these materials can occur only if the copying falls within the provisions of the doctrine of fair use. Copyright varies by item.
Availability
Entire Collection is open for research.