El Niño, Downtown Los Angeles 1966 - age 3.

El Niño, Downtown Los Angeles 1966 - age 3.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Egyptian Theatre and The Film Noir Festival

A found snapshot of a WWII soldier on leave at The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on Feburary 28, 1943.
The back of the photo reads “I am in the chariot that Eddie Cantor used in Roman Scandal”

Currently the American Cinematheque is hosting the 13th annual Film Noir Festival at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The festival runs from April 1 through April 20 and its your only chance to see lost and recently restored 1940’s noir films that will probably never make it to your Netflix queue, simply because they are not available for home media.

Built in 1922 by the ever so ambitious Mr. Sid Grauman. The Egyptian Theatre was a real head turner, a modern day Norma Desmond that fell into despair in the 1980’s. Sid Grauman went on to build other famous landmark theatres such as the El Capitan, The Chinese Theater and the decadent Million Dollar Theatre in downtown. The Hollywood and Highland intersection has gone through a lot of change in the past 25 years with the Red Line Subway, the Hollywood Highland complex, the Kodak Theatre and the subsequent revival of the El Capitan and Egyptian Theatres. The American Cinematheque purchased the property from the City of Los Angeles for one dollar and restored it to a leading lady once again in 1998.

I experienced a few memorable moments amongst the hieroglyphics at The Egyptian Theatre in the 1970s and 1980s. Fire Chief Steve McQueen battling The Towering Inferno in the movie of the same name, Captain Leslie Nielsen navigating the S.S. Poseidon in route to a collision course with disaster in The Poseidon Adventure, Paul Newman and Joanna Woodward floating to the top of the hydrotherapy room in the Drowning Pool and of course the robot cowboy Yul Bryner drawing his gun in defense in the futuristic thriller, West World. The last movie I ever saw there before the American Cinematheque restoration was something called “Friday The 13th - The Final Chapter“. As we all know there was nothing final about Friday The 13th as Jason continued the body count well into the year 2009.

Venturing into Hollywood and Highland in the 1970s and 1980s carried a bit of an edge to it, an impending danger that loomed around every dark and seedy corner. Charles Bronson tracked down one of his assailants in Death Wish II through Hollywood and Highland and gunned him down at the abandoned Garden Court Apartments where the Knitting Factory now sits (I think). Today, Hollywood and Highland is a busy tourist destination patrolled by multiple Captain Jack Sparrows. It is cleaner, safer, brighter and a destination made easy by the Red Line subway. Change is good.

Don’t miss the Film Noir Festival happening right now at The Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.


  1. What a great photo! The message on the back makes it all the more of a precious find. I can just imagine that soldiers other experiences in Hollywood during that time and how exciting his leave must have been.

  2. Thanks Robby, yes that is a cool photo, I am lucky to have found it for my collection, and thanks for reading my blog, I don't think I have many followers.