Footprint Ceremonies at Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Actor Jackie Chan at the Chinese Theater
Actor Jackie Chan Adds His Nose to Handprints and Footprints at the Chinese Theater. Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

Grauman's Chinese Theatre is a popular stop for Hollywood tourists. Everyone likes seeing the hand and footprints of Hollywood idols in the forecourt. The tradition of memorializing celebrities started in 1927, when then-superstars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks created the first of the more than 200 prints you can see there today.

Empty spaces in the forecourt are getting scarce, but a few times a year, a new star gets their shot at cement-imprinted fame. Those ceremonies are open to the public. If one is scheduled during your visit, you may find it enjoyable to plan the rest of your activities around it.

When the Ceremonies Happen

Ceremonies are infrequent. They're usually reserved for the biggest of stars and often scheduled around the celebrity's newest movie release.

One of the best sources for schedules for footprint ceremonies, Walk of Fame star ceremonies and film premieres is the webstie Seeing Stars.

If you're planning to watch, you should know that the hand and footprint events are primarily set up for the media. Their cameras and lights are likely to be blocking your view of the stage, If you get there early enough, you can see the arriving honoree and their actor pals who come along to wish them will. However, you probably won't be able to see the ceremony itself very well.

After the ceremony, the wet cement will be wrapped in wet burlap to keep it damp until it cures. It may take several days before you'll be able to see the final result.

Tips for Watching the Footprint Ceremony

If you go, these hints will help you enjoy the ceremony:

  • Get there early. The more fans a star has, the earlier. When Anthony Hopkins was honored, people were three deep 45 minutes before the scheduled start, but the Tom Cruise crowd was so big that organizers started the ceremony early before things got out of control.
  • Taking photographs can be difficult, even if you arrive early enough to get a place in the front of the crowd. While you're waiting, be sure your camera is set up for the lighting conditions. Something with a better low-light and zoom capability and more zoom than your mobile phone cam will improve your chances of getting a good shot. Take lots of pictures and hope a few of them turn out. 
  • The press will get the best view of the event. The best place for everyone else to stand will depend on the setup. Check out the layout and try to find a spot with an unobstructed view.
  • If no footprint ceremonies are scheduled during your visit, you might also enjoy a star ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which happen more often.

Getting to Grauman's Chinese Theater

Grauman's Chinese Theater
6925 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA
(323) 463-9576
Grauman's Chinese Theater Website

Grauman's Chinese Theater is at the northeast corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Drive. From US 101, take the Highland Avenue exit and go south. The Hollywood and Highland parking lot is most convenient. The entrance is on the right about half a mile down the hill.

The Los Angeles MTA (Metro Transit Authority) Red Line Hollywood and Highland stop is just steps away.