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Hollywood Boulevard (Paul McGehee)

"Hollywood Boulevard" by Paul McGehee. This early 1930's panorama of the famous thoroughfare in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, California depicts the iconic Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the First National Bank building and the El Capitan Theatre looking east from North Orange Drive. This was the theatre district of Hollywood, the movie-making capital of the world...scene of countless film premieres and star-studded red carpet events, with newsreel cameras turning. Sid Grauman was from an entertainment background which transformed into theatre ownership of vaudeville stages and then movie houses in the golden age of silent films. In 1922 Grauman opened an exotic movie palace called the Egyptian Theatre (up the Boulevard a couple blocks to the right), a beautiful place with Egyptian references throughout. It was so successful that Grauman, along with partners which included America's Sweetheart Mary Pickford and her husband, silent film swashbuckler Douglas Fairbanks, decided to build the ultimate movie house, one so opulent, so magnificent as to defy description...the perfect place to see Hollywood's best. In the 1920's, oriental mysticism was quite popular, so what better theme than a Chinese Theatre! The site was chosen, and a long-term lease was taken out on property belonging to silent star Francis X. Bushman (to whom the building was eventually dedicated). The new Chinese Theatre was constructed during 1926-27, and was the first major theatre to have a built-in central air conditioning system. Grauman's Chinese Theatre had its grand opening May 18, 1927 with the world premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's "King of Kings". The theatre was a huge success, and many, many important films had their start there, including "Star Wars" (50 years after that first premiere) in 1977. Off to the right in this scene is the El Capitan Theatre, also a Grauman project, which was primarily built for stage productions in the late 1920's and 30's but was converted to motion pictures in 1941. Among other famous events which took place at the El Capitan was the premiere of Orson Welles' classic "Citizen Kane". All three Grauman theatres, each beautiful in their own right, also featured mighty Wurlitzer organs at stageside to entertain their patrons. Thankfully each theatre still survives to this day and have been beautifully restored to their golden age glory. And, of course, the famous celebrity imprints and inscriptions in the cement at Grauman's Chinese continues to be a major tourist attraction as well...a tangible reminder of Hollywood's storied past. "Hollywood Boulevard" is faithfully reproduced from Paul's original color pencil and acrylic artwork in a limited edition of 2,000 hand-signed prints. Print image size 10 3/4" x 16 3/4".

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