We pass through a metal detector – I wonder, do the red carpeteers get any screening? (I’d be more worried about some of them!) I forget to take a spare phone battery out of my front pocket, so that the guards do a little extra wanding, and then we’re in.
We are standing in the lobby of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre!
It’s ornate, but also very dimly lit. I take a few pictures to try and capture the detail.
There are also display cases showing off various costumes from past movies. There’s a steady flow of people through security, though, so we can’t really linger in the area.
There is a large sign on an easel at the portal to the main theatre room itself, full of warnings and disclaimers, mainly about the perils of doing any audio or video recording.
Then I take a look at the snack bar. It looks much like any other movie theater snack bar, except for two things: one, it’s in the midst of the luxury of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre; and two, there are cups of soda and bags of popcorn waiting on the counter, free for the taking! In spite of having just eaten, we grab a bag and a soda each, add some butter-flavored grease to it and get a few napkins at a side table, and then it’s time to head into the theatre.
I take one last picture of the lobby, and one of the security guards tells me, “Just so you know, you can’t take pictures in the theater itself.” Okay, I did not know that – the sign says no audio or video recording, but says nothing about still pictures, and I had hoped to get a lot of pics of the inside of the theater. But then, he’s a security guard and he’d be one of the ones enforcing the rules, so I’m going to go with his interpretation of them.
Becky and I step to the theater entrance, collecting a set of 3D glasses from an attendant on the way in. They’re the standard issue Real3D glasses, not a commemorative set like the round ones I got at the Harry Potter 7B first showing.
There are no doors separate the lobby from the theater proper, which is probably good since there’s a flight of steps down to the seating area right inside.
The theater itself – oh, wow, it is beautiful. Heavy red curtains, very ornate oriental décor, red… well, hey, I can’t take pictures here, but the internet can. Just follow this to a Google image search for “Grauman’s Chinese Theatre interior.” It’s a gorgeous place.
The floor seats are in a standard theater layout, with a large central section, two aisles, and smaller sections on the sides. Our tickets say we are in Section RC, Row M, Seats 211 & 212. I can figure out the row and seat numbers, and I’m guessing that RC stands for “Right Center,” but I don’t know exact where that means. Since we won our tickets, though, I’m not really expecting good seats.
We show our tickets to an attendant at the base of the steps, he directs us down the (right) aisle, then says we are to turn left at row M. Left? Hey, that means we’re in the center section!
Row M is a little over a third of the way back from the front of the theater, and our seats are the second and third ones off of the aisle. Not bad at all – in fact, they are pretty decent seats!
There’s a weird audio mix playing over the speakers – several holiday classics, including Bing Crosby’s "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," Perry Como singing "It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," and "Sleigh Ride," but also some less familiar songs like "Mamacita, Donde Esta Santa Claus?" Interspersed with the familiar Christmas songs are songs which are both jolly and include foul language, and what sounds like clips of the dialogue from the movie, which have even fouler language. I suspect they’re playing the soundtrack from the movie as people arrive.
I notice a few others in the theater taking pictures, some with the flash on, and no one seems to be stopping them or confiscating their cameras. I don’t want to risk too much going against the security guard’s instructions…
...but I’ve got to take one to prove we were here!