Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Egyptian Theater, Hollywood

Egyptian Theater, 1922. Photo DWP

Tonight Larry and I are heading over to the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood to see two films at the Noir Film Festival 2017. The first film is THE ACCUSED (1949) with Loretta Young. If we can keep our eyes open, we'll stay for the second film, THE HUNTED (1948). I may have seen the Loretta Young film, because I'm a fan. I'm positive I haven't seen the second film. I'm hoping that THE ACCUSED will have some Los Angeles backgrounds. We try to attend at least a few films during the Noir-Fest each year.
Egyptian Theater, 2014

I do love visiting the historic Egyptian Theater! I remember going there for the first time in 1959 with my parents and brother for a matinee of BEN HUR, starring Charleton Heston. It was a very long movie with an intermission. During intermission we saw Lucille Ball in a long, pink wool coat holding the hands of her two children, Lucie and Desi, Jr. Seeing Lucy with that electric red/orange hair was way more exciting and memorable for me than seeing the movie! All my Dad talked about on the drive home was how he liked the earlier version (1925) with Francis X. Bushman better.
Courtyard, 1923
Courtyard, 2016

Sid Grauman built the Egyptian, along with developer Charles Toberman in 1922. This was on the heels of the Egyptian craze that swept the nation after King Tutankhamen's tomb was discovered in Egypt the same year. The architectural firm of Meyer & Holler designed the building. This theater has one of the most ornate interiors!
Interior, 1922
Ceiling, 2016

Over the years, the theater was modernized and then, subsequently fell into disrepair.  In 1996 the City of Los Angeles sold the theater to the American Cinematheque for the price of one dollar with the provision that the landmark building be restored to its original grandeur and re-opened as a movie theater. 
Funds were raised and the Egyptian re-opened in 1998 after a $12.8 million renovation. To make the theater usable for today's sound and projection technology, moving walls were added in front of the original tomb-like walls inside the theater. It's a perfect place to view the films of yesteryear and today!

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