No matter how many Korean taco joints or glass high-rise hotels spread across the city, L.A. never turns its back on the Golden Age institutions that keep Hollywood feeling like Hollywood. Over the past several years, many of these landmarks have been restored and, in some cases, brought back from the brink of death. Because in L.A., when old age sets in, you don’t close up shop, you just get a facelift.
Revitalized Hollywood Theaters
The Theatre at Ace Hotel
Opened in 1927 by the original United Artists—Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and D.W. Griffith—this ornate Spanish Gothic cinema was considered top of the line in its day. Flashy interiors aside, moviegoers were also treated to air-conditioned screenings, a rarity at the time. The building was scooped up by Ace Hotels and given the most delicate remodel, leaving behind just the right amount of patina. Today, the theatre serves as a music venue and cinema.
The Egyptian Theatre
On October 18, 1922, Douglas Fairbanks’ Robin Hood was introduced at Sid Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in what was the very first Hollywood premiere. While the over-the-top Egyptian Revival theater is not quite as glamorous as it was in its heyday, it’s still one of the best venues in the valley to catch a classic movie. A recent update to its projection equipment allows the theater to screen original nitrate-based films from the ‘20s through the early ‘50s, and you can still catch special screenings of films introduced in person by some of Hollywood’s biggest names.
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
In 1927, after the success of the Egyptian, Sid Grauman opened the Chinese Theatre across the street. The theatre was updated in 2013 to house one of the largest screens in North America, but it’s the stars that line the sidewalk out front that draw the biggest crowds most days. After taking your picture with the Spider Man impersonator and Frank Sinatra’s footprints, catch the latest release or sign up for a tour of the theater to get a taste of what it was like in Hollywood’s Golden Age.