In the middle of the Dream Factory, Hollywood city of symbols, rises a temple to movies and handprints, footprints (and hoof and paw prints) in the front courtyard — Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Plans and construction happened in 1926 (and perhaps before). The building held its Grand Opening on May 18, 1927, and was opened to the public the following day. [Building history summarized here: http://www.manntheatres.com/chinese/.]
So other than appreciating the locale, its role in American movie history, and the pageantry surrounding the movies and people who are part of the movie industry, what does this all have to do with me? It has to do with images on paper. In blueprint blue.
Over the past five years or so, I have developed a business relationship with a rare book dealer located in Manhattan. When he and I first began discussing items of interest to me (anything related to Judy Garland and Katharine Hepburn and old Hollywood and the theatre — we talk about a huge array of items and the vast majority are far far far out of my financial league), I lived in Washington, DC. During the time we have been communicating via email and mail I have lived in Washington, DC, Chicago, IL, Philadelphia, PA, and now New York, NY. Through the years I have purchased play scripts and film scripts, some that have come with published first edition hard cover copies of the scripts or movie stills or other treats. And over the past few years I have been tantalized by an offering that was available for a while, then purchased, then recently available for sale again — two images for which my dealer pal arranged a massively reasonable price for me in exchange for several items in my possession and some cash and a future sale — it gets complicated. Two beautiful 1926 construction blueprints for Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
This week I met my now local dealer pal in his West Village office and took possession of two pieces of faded, worn, folded, records of stages of the construction of a dream. An old acquaintance from a distance becomes a familiar acquaintance close up.
Here are low resolution, slightly cropped, versions of my new possessions.
© Martha Wade Steketee (December 14, 2010)