Grauman's Egyptian Theatre
A point of interest on the Lost Souls of Hollywood Boulevard GPS-guided audio walking tour.
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I mentioned Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre when we were visiting the TCL Chinese Theatre. It too was built by Sid Grauman, though four years prior. The theatre opened its doors in 1922, and actually housed the first ever Hollywood film premiere for the film Robin Hood starring Douglas Fairbanks on October 18, 1922.
At the time the Egyptian Theatre was built, there was a serious fascination with non-American cultures. The further, the better, and the more mysterious and exotic looking, the more alluring. Which makes ancient Egypt the perfect theme for a historical movie palace built to tell great tales within its walls.
There isn’t much we know about ancient Egypt, and that which we do we barely understand, so it’s no surprise that the theatre was a hit right from the start—even though it’s popularity would eventually be surpassed by it’s sister theatre down the block, mostly due to the celebrity imprints that mark its front walk.
The theatre is adorned with elaborate (though likely inaccurate) hieroglyphics, and is decked out in lavish colours and majestic architecture. And while all of that was most likely chosen for its looks and beauty with no actual ties to the mysterious ancient Egyptian culture, there have been some very strange goings on within its walls.
At the end of a 1988, Northern Illinois University production of West Side Story, journalism associate professor Irvan “Irv” Kummerfield, who was also a co-founder Preservation of the Egyptian Theatre society, died at the top of aisle one of a heart attack. Throughout the years, visitors have reported seeing someone who fits his description milling about the theatre. They see him for a moment, then he just disappears.
But it’s not just ghostly patrons that fill the halls of this Hollywood relic, witnesses have reported objects moving on their own, doors being opened and closed without assistance, people feeling a tap on their shoulder when they’re alone and footsteps echo across an empty stage.
Overnight investigations have been conducted, but no one seems to draw the same conclusion on whether the theatre is haunted or not. As of 2020, Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre is owned by Netflix. Regardless, it does seem to be the perfect setting for the premiere of a murder mystery like Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. Take a look around, see a show and let us know if you spot a ghost!
I know it's a bit of a surprise, but let's continue walking east. We'll cross North Las Palmas Drive. As you do, you'll see part of the sign for the Vogue theatre popping up out of the trees. That's our next tour stop. Let's go!
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