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GRAUMAN’S CHINESE THEATRE – LAND OF THE MUTANT FOOTPRINTS

Am I a mutant?  Or are the Hollywood stars of old mutants.  I’m convinced it is the reverse.  I am a larger gal, but not excessively so.  I’m a towering 5’10”, so I know I am taller than female stars of the Golden Era.  But I felt like a legendary Amazonian princess when I went to Grauman’s Chinese Theater (currently called the TCL Chinese Theatre.) Why?  I strolled through the forecourt, where all of the hand and footprints of those stars that I adore lay before me, immortalized in time-worn cement.

Grauman's footprints Jean Harlow

Grauman’s Chinese Theater

Sid Grauman built Grauman’s Chinese Theater, having already opened Los Angeles’ Million Dollar Theatre and the Egyptian Theatre down the street on Hollywood Boulevard.  It held its grand opening on May 18, 1927 and has been the iconic theater associated with Hollywood glamour ever since.  And unlike many movie palaces of old, it isn’t a relic.  Movies premiere here to this day and even us plebeians view the latest blockbuster in the grand theater.  Tours are available of the inside, but I’ve never been able to time my arrival so I can go inside the main theater, only the lobby.  You have to have your tour in between movie showings if you want to see the main theater.  I have been inside the main theater, though, and it is gorgeous.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Myrna Loy

Grauman's footprints Joan Blondell

Joan Blondell

Grauman's Chinese Theatre

The Forecourt Prints

Like many have before me, I placed my feet next to those grey footprints, and like Ethel in I Love Lucy, I was discouraged to find that my feet were bigger than those ladies.  Having gone to Grauman’s before in sneakers, I made sure to wear heels, so at least my feet might more readily match in size.  My feet were even bigger than some of the male stars.  Now I know the human body has grown in the past century.  Better health, diet and environment have ensured we are larger in all areas than our sisters in the early 20th century.  Jean Harlow, the “Baby”, was known for her dainty size 3 feet.  But, seriously folks, take a look at my clod-hoppers next to these tiny tootsies…

Grauman's footprints Olivia de Havilland

Olivia de Havilland

Grauman's footprints Joan Fontaine

And her sister, Joan Fontaine

Grauman's footprints Norma Talmadge

Norma Talmadge

Grauman's footprints Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford – one of the oldest sets of prints

Grauman's footprints Marion Davies

Marion Davies

Grauman's footprints Ginger Rogers

Ginger Rogers – dancing backwards and in high heels

Grauman's footprints Norma Shearer

Norma Shearer

Grauman's footprints

Me and my husband from another lifetime, William Powell.
 Yes, my feet are bigger than his.

Jean Harlow’s tiny size 3’s – She was in love with William Powell

Grauman's footprints Myrna Loy

Grauman's footprints Jeanette MacDonald

Jeanette MacDonald – supposedly the smallest footprints in the forecourt

Grauman's footprints Joan Blondell

Joan Blondell

Grauman's footprints Eleanor Powell

Eleanor Powell – her tapping toes are legendary – and embedded in cement

Of course there are dozens more.  I really wished I hadn’t missed Irene Dunne, Pola Negri, and Charlie Chaplin, though I’m sure I’ll be back.  You can see a map of the forecourt to see everyone represented, though it appears it might be missing the recent ones.

So come to the land of the mutant footprints.  You too can wonder how these tiny deformed ladies ever toddled about in their tiny shoes.

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4 comments so far.

4 responses to “GRAUMAN’S CHINESE THEATRE – LAND OF THE MUTANT FOOTPRINTS”

  1. I can't wait to go there the next time I'm in LA. I must say, judging from how petite most of the vintage women's shoes and hats I come across end up being, I think people were just generally smaller of head and hoof back in the day!!

  2. Miss Matilda says:

    They were smaller for sure! xx

  3. Laurence says:

    I always take some times to go there when I come to L.A. Last time it was in 2008 and I remember to ask myself why I had so big feet!!!!
    I can easily guess why it's so hard to find vintage shoes in size 7.5M!!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Patricia,

    I feel you pain.All the vintage shoes I seem to come across are usually around 6-6.5 narrow or medium width.I am stuck with modern look alikes(more affordable) or reproductions.Sadly many of the shoes are not even as wide as my HANDS…

    Heidi

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