The Show Starts on the Sidewalk
SAH/SCC Tour & Talk, Hollywood
Sunday, June 03, 2018
Go behind the scenes with SAH/SCC at the historic Egyptian Theatre (Meyer and Holler, 1922) as we explore the oldest grand movie palace in Hollywood. In addition to the main auditorium, our tour will feature the old dressing rooms, the singer’s boxes, and projection booth. Preservation architect and SAH/SCC Life Member Peyton Hall, FAIA, will join restoration architect Craig Hodgetts, FAIA, of Hodgetts + Fung Design & Architecture, in describing the 1999 restoration work and technology upgrade of the theatre.
The Egyptian Theatre was developed by Charles E. Toberman with impresario Sid Grauman. Between 1910 and 1920, the population of Hollywood increased from 5,000 to 36,000 residents. Toberman engaged Grauman to bring the kind of first-class movie palace experience to Hollywood that Grauman had already developed in downtown Los Angeles with the deluxe Million Dollar (Albert C. Martin; William L. Woollett, 1918), Rialto, and Metropolitan Theaters. The Egyptian stage was built to host elaborate Grauman-designed live-action prologues to the movies screened. It is now home to American Cinematheque.
The inspiration for the Egyptian Theatre was the discovery of King Tut’s tomb and the ensuing Egyptian craze that swept the nation in the ’20s. Forever the showman, Grauman hired an actor attired as an Egyptian guard to march back and forth across the roof parapet calling out the start of each performance. The Egyptian Theatre was the first Hollywood movie palace, built a few years prior to the El Capitan (Morgan, Walls, and Clements; G. Albert Lansburgh, 1926) and Grauman’s Chinese (Meyer and Holler, 1927)
Hodgetts is presently a professor at the UCLA Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning, and was previously a founding dean of the School of Design at the California Institute of the Arts. He has held teaching positions at Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, Rice University, and University of Arizona, among others. Known for his enthusiasm for interdisciplinary studies, he has also been active in curriculum development at the Art Center College of Design, where he created a prototype classroom for advanced studies in the Department of Environmental Design. With Ming Fung, FAIA, his firm has designed some of the more iconic structures in LA, including the UCLA Towell Library (1992) and the design of the new Hollywood Bowl bandshell (2004).
Hall is a managing principal at Historic Resources Group, where he has worked on legendary projects, such as Pasadena’s Gamble House and Rose Bowl. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture at University of Virginia and his Master of Environmental Design at Yale University School of Architecture. He has been an adjunct professor at USC since 1999, and is the winner of numerous preservation awards.
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