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.
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.
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…
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.