July 31, 2018

Backstage at Three Iconic Hollywood Theatres

Retirement Practice # 57, “The Iconic Hollywood Theatres Tour!” DayTripper Tours Tour Manager, Keri and driver Shawn picked me up in Mission Valley and we drove north into the storied past of three very famous Hollywood Theatres – The Egyptian Theatre, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Dolby (formerly Kodak) Theatre. And, along the way, we were treated to a two – for – one tour! Yes, Keri pointed out various landmarks and shared tidbits of information along the way. We received a little bit of “The Best of L.A. Tour”. Very cool! Shawn was cool at the wheel. Don’t know how he manages to glide trhough L.A. traffic but I do know that DayTrippers only works with the most experienced and professional drivers.

First on our list was Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre. And wouldn’t you know it, they were getting ready to start filming in the street. We passed various coned off areas with big, I think they were lights or some type of thingamajig. Don’t quote me directly because I don’t work in that industry. None the less, Keri did the “turn here”, “go over there” directions and tada we are at the backside of the Egyptian Theatre. Okay, not that impressed yet, but a quick walk through the parking lot, up a ramp and turn left and WOW, I was in Egypt.

The Egyptian Theatre built by Sid Grauman and opened in 1922 during the silent film era. Later on, the theatre was remodeled to accommodate acoustic panels for sound systems while keeping the original artwork intact. Quite an undertaking, but it works. And as the saying goes… if those walls could talk.

Lunch time! We were handed maps and given times and released to find nourishment with the promise to find Keri and the green flag and meet up in front of the Chinese Theatre. And we did. Actually, we were very lucky to have a tour yesterday. The grounds in front of the theatre and inside were filled with electronic everything because they were setting up for a gaming event. We had a couple of minutes to spare before being led inside so we took notice of all the hand prints and writings on the cement in the forecourt. Soon the tour began and we learned that Grauman’s Chinese Theatre opened in 1927. The inside of the theatre was beautiful. In a world where humans are so quick to tear things down, it is really nice to see something like this preserved. I would love to see a film in either of Grauman’s theatres. Just breathtaking when you think of all the folks who have been there before us.

Next up was the famed Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards and the live show of America’s Got Talent. In fact you can see in the pictures that several rows of chairs have been removed from the floor to make room for the platform where the judges sit. The live show is in August and our docent shared that it takes about 30 days to prepare for a big show such as that. We all got to stand on stage and I used my 5 minutes of fame thanking all the little people who made it all possible. LOL. It was breathtaking to see all the seats, box seats and those poor folks on the 5th level. Gulp, they are way up there. Leaving stage left we walked down the winners hall to the section where the winners with their Oscars have their first backstage interviews. After this tour, I’ll definitely be watching the Academy Awards and AGT and seeing if I recognize any backstage areas. I bet I do.

Wow, what a day. There was a lot of walking but it was okay as it makes for a great nap on the way home. I came away with a deep appreciation for all those folks responsible for preserving the very essence of grandeur within the buildings so we can all continue to flashback to days gone by and look forward to history in the making.

There is another trip scheduled for the “Iconic Hollywood Theatres Tour” on Monday, September 17, 2018. Do yourself a favor and sign up before the bus is filled:
This is one trip you won’t want to miss. Thanks Keri and DayTripper Tour for a wonderful daycation!

~ DayTripper Traveler Donna Grover
Tour: Iconic Hollywood Theatres Tour
Date: July 24, 2018


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