Saturday, September 10, 2016
Jean Klossner, Mr Footprint
TCL Chinese Theatre is a cinema palace on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard. Originally known as Grauman's Chinese Theatre, it was renamed Mann's Chinese Theatre in 1973; the name lasted until 2001, after which it reverted to its original name. In 2013, Chinese electronics manufacturer TCL Corporation purchased the naming rights to the facility, making its official name TCL Chinese Theatre. This resulted in the first affiliation of the Chinese Theatre with an actual Chinese corporation.
The original Chinese Theatre was commissioned following the success of the nearby Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, which opened in 1922. Grauman hired Jean Klossner to formulate an extremely hard concrete for the forecourt of the theatre. Klossner later became known as "Mr. Footprint", performing the footprint ceremonies from 1927 through 1957.
Many stories exist to explain the origins of the footprints. The theatre's official account credit Norma Talmadge as having inspired the tradition when she accidentally stepped into the wet concrete.
However, in a short interview during the September 13, 1937, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of a radio adaptation of A Star Is Born, Grauman related another version of how he got the idea to put hand and foot prints in the concrete. He said it was "...pure accident. I walked right into it. While we were building the theatre, I accidentally happened to step in some soft concrete. And there it was. So, I went to Mary Pickford immediately. Mary put her foot into it."
Still another account by the construction foreman, Jean Klossner, recounts that Klossner autographed his work next to the right-hand poster kiosk and that he and Grauman developed the idea then and there. His autograph and handprint, dated 1927, remain today.