Secrets about the Chinese Theatre's famous cement footprints
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LOS ANGELES — Film fans have been sizing themselves up against the stars in front of Hollywood's Chinese Theatre for decades, but its world-famous collection of celebrity footprints in cement began by chance.
Silent film star Norma Talmadge was visiting her friend Sid Grauman in 1927 at the new
He asked his friends and business partners, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, to intentionally put their hands and feet in wet cement, and he did the same. Grauman's Chinese Theatre's "Forecourt of the Stars" was born.
Those footprints draw five million tourists a year today. As the landmark building now known as the TCL Chinese Theatre turns 90 this week, here are a few little-known facts about its famous forecourt:
— NOT JUST HANDS AND FEET: Jimmy Durante pressed his nose into the cement alongside his footprints in 1945. Jackie Chan did the same in 1997. Betty Grable left an imprint of her leg when she was
— SIZE MATTERS: Because small feet were considered more ladylike, some actresses squeezed into tiny shoes for their footprint
— FLEETING FOOTPRINTS? Not everyone recognized with a hand and footprint ceremony makes a permanent mark at the Chinese Theatre. A few have been purely promotional, said
— TIME CAPSULES: There are two buried beneath the forecourt. The first was planted in 1942 to mark the release of "Mrs. Miniver," which ultimately won six Oscars. Beneath star Greer Garson's prints is a capsule containing a copy of the script and a 35-milimeter print of the film. A second time capsule commemorates the
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .
In Focus: Richard Crouse