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Hollywood on Wikipedia
Hollywood on the Internet Movie Database
Hollywood 100th Anniversary
(with Eddie Murphy)
Forecourt Ceremony held on Thursday, May 14, 1987
Born: February 1, 1887, in, well, Hollywood, California
Age at the time of the ceremony: 100
"Hollywood." What images the word conjures up. We have all been impacted and inspired by films, by American-made films, and the place where most of them originate, which came to be known as "Hollywood."

This plaque embedded in the Forecourt of the Chinese Theatre commemorates three anniversaries: The 100th Anniversary of Hollywood, the 75th Anniversary of Paramount Pictures, and the 60th Anniversary of the Chinese Theatre itself.

The first settlers in the area which became known as Hollywood were farmworkers in 1853. They called the area Nopalera. A flourishing agricultural community arose there. Real Estate developer H. J. Whitley (1847-1931) while on his honeymoon in 1886, decided to buy the 480 acre E. C. Hurd Ranch — what is now Hollywood Blvd on the south, La Brea to the west, Cahuenga on the east, and the Hollywood Bowl to the north. He drew up a subdivision and started selling the lots.

So did Harvey H. Wilcox (1832-1891). He and his wife Ida purchased and began subdividing the area north of Hollywood Blvd, between Cahuenga and Gower. They called the place "Hollywood" and filed a plat map with the county of Los Angeles on Tuesday, February 1, 1887.

Whitley opened the Hollywood Hotel in 1902. He brought electric lighting and other improvements to the area. A vote was taken and approved to make Hollywood a "dry" (no alcohol at all) municipality in 1904. Hollywood joined the City of Los Angeles in 1910 in order to get access to the city's water and sewer lines. So much for being a "dry" town.

1910 also saw the Biograph Company and its film director D. W. Griffith shoot the film In Old California (released in March 1910) with Frank Powell. The Nestor Motion Picture Company set up an actual studio at Sunset and Gower in 1911. More film companies were moving to Hollywood and the surrounding communities, with "Hollywood" coming to symbolize the US motion picture industry.

In 1912, Utah theatre owner William Wadsworth Hodkinson opened a film distribution company he called Paramount. The firm handled the distribution of films being produced by Adolph Zukor and Jesse L. Lasky. Zukor merged the two film producers and bought out Hodkinson, then started building a stable of stars which included Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino, Clara Bow, Wallace Reid and director Cecil B. DeMille.

Showman Sid Grauman and his father David had sold their nickleodoens in the San Francisco area to Paramount in order to set up shop in Los Angeles. Zukor's Paramount helped finance the construction of their first house in Los Angeles: Grauman's Theatre (also known as The Million Dollar Theatre, due to its supposed construction cost). The Rialto Theatre was added to the mix in 1919.

After David Grauman passed away suddenly on April 6, 1921, Sid Grauman took charge, opening his Hollywood Egyptian Theatre in October 1922. Grauman's Metropolitan Theatre followed in January 1923. Also that year, the HOLLYWOODLAND sign was constructed to advertise a housing development. Movie producers continued into the area, and before long, Paramount, Warner Bros., Fox, R-K-O, Charles Chaplin, Samuel Goldwyn and Columbia all had studios in Hollywood.

Paramount began buying theatres all over the US (including Grauman's Million Dollar, Rialto and Metropolitan theatres). After buying the Balaban & Katz chain in Chicago in 1926, Paramount's Publix Theatre Corporation became the largest chain of movie theatres in the world, culminating with the New York Paramount on Times Square in New York City. Paramount also acquired a 50 percent stake (!) in the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1928.

Grauman formed a syndicate with C. E. Toberman, Douglas Fairbanks and Mark Pickford to build his Chinese Theatre in the heart of American film production. It opened in May 1927. At the same time, he became a founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In 1949, the City of Los Angeles agreed to repair the delapidated HOLLYWOODLAND sign, and in the process, removed the LAND. Sid Grauman passed away in March 1950. During the 1950s, the Hollywood Freeway was built through the Cahuenga Pass and into the San Fernando Valley. The Capitol Records Building went up in 1956, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame was created in 1958.

The rise of television forced Paramount into drastic cuts, selling its theatre chain and film library. In 1966, it was sold to Charles Bludorn's Gulf + Western Company, which brought the studio around under the leadership of Robert Evans. Under Jeffrey Katzenberg and Sherry Lansing, Paramount continued making hits into the 1990s.

The Chinese Theatre was finally bought outright by the National General Corporation in February 1970 (National General had been purchasing stock since 1960), then it became part of Ted Mann's theatre empire in June 1973. The Hollywood Boulevard Commercial and Entertainment District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. By 1986, Paramount and Warner Bros. controlled the theatre. Ted Mann remained as preident until his retirement in 1991.

Contruction of the Metro Rail Red Line subway through Hollywood caused much grief and havoc, but was opened in June 2000, with the Hollywood & Highland Center (containing the Grauman's Chinese Theatre 6) opening in November 2001. The main Chinese Theatre was remodeled in 2001, just in time for the Harry Potter movies.

In 1993, Viacom purchased Paramount for $10 billion. Viacom bought CBS in 1999. In 2005, they bought DreamWorks SKG. With the rise of the Disney empire, Paramount's market share has seen a drastic falloff, but chairman Jim Gianopulos has pledged to revamp the Hollywood lot and has been networking with Netflix to bring the studio around.

The Chinese was sold to a group of investors who undertook to convert the theatre to show IMAX®  films in 2013, renaming it the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX®.
Mann's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Hollywood 100th Anniversary Plaque. Executed by John Tartaglia, Thursday, May 14, 1987. 16 x 12 inches.
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