Opening of the Egyptian Theatre: Premiere of "Douglas Fairbanks in Robin
October 18, 1922
opened the Egyptian Theatre as the first movie palace on Hollywood Boulevard on Wednesday,
October 18th 1922. The theatre opened with the premiere of ROBIN HOOD starring
Douglas Fairbanks. Not only was it the first film to premiere at the Egyptian, but it is
considered Hollywood's first ever Hollywood movie premiere!
Some of the luminaries in the audience that night were Cecil B. DeMille, Charlie
Chaplin, Jesse L. Lasky and of course, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. Sid Grauman
asked director Fred Niblo (director of the silent BEN HUR) to be his spokesperson and
master of ceremonies for the dedication.
Grauman selected the Egyptian opera Aida as the overture. Jan Stofer led the
Hollywood Egyptian Orchestra in a suite consisting of Lotus Flower, Serenade and Caravan.
Tickets were $5.00 for the premiere of ROBIN HOOD. The film was not shown in any other
Los Angeles Theatre that year.
Some excerpts from opening night speeches published in the The Hollywood Daily
Citizen on Thursday, October 19, 1922 read:
"This night is a most auspicious one for Los Angeles, but it is
still more auspicious for Hollywood. It marks Hollywoods advent from the status of a
small town to a city of metropolitan importance, where world premieres are shown."
-- George L. Eastman, then president of the Hollywood Chamber
"I want to congratulate him
[Grauman] upon his business sagacity in coming into this community. "
people of Los Angeles are proud of Hollywood. We are proud of Hollywood and her beautiful
homes; we are proud of her culture; and we are proud of her civic enterprise. May her
future be filled with success and success and all prosperity to Sid Grauman."
-- George Cryer, Mayor of Los Angeles
If you are interested in learning more
about the history of the Egyptian Theatre you can purchase a copy of our history for $1 in
the lobby. You can also take an historic tour of
the theatre on select Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 AM.
ROBIN HOOD (1922, Douris Films, approx. 120 min.) director
Allan Dwan's classic swashbuckling adventure ROBIN HOOD, stars the legendary Douglas
Fairbanks Sr., Wallace Beery, Enid Bennett and Alan Hale.
"From New Year's Day 1922, the Fairbanks
company kicked into high gear to produce the grandest spectacle the world had yet seen on
film. The mammoth castle of King Richard and the Nothingham town sets required hundreds of
carpenters and hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete, and they were authentic down
to the smallest detail (as much so as Hollywood money could buy). Hundreds of extras had
to be outfitted in historically accurate costumes. Months of shooting ensued. When the
film was completed, the release prints made and the publicity paid for, Fairbanks had
spent $1.4 million of his own money for Robin Hood. And it was a success. In the days when
quarters bought you a movie theater ticket, Robin Hood made $2.5 million." (from www.silentera.com)
The film won a Photoplay 1922 Medal of Honor and
is still respected today for its outstanding cinematography, spectacular sets, costume
design and historical accuracy.
Original Advertising Copy:
Sid Grauman hyped the Opening Night as:
"An Innovation in Presentation
Only 2 shows daily 2:15 PM and 8:15 PM
You can reserve seats one week in advance and know just where you will sit:
Curtain for Nottingham Castle Pageant promptly at 2:15 PM and 8:15 PM. See and hear
living players in this huge spectacle, wearing the original costumes from "Robin
"Robin Hood" will not be shown in anyother Los Angeles theatre this year.
50 cents, 75 cents and $1
75 cents, $1 and $1.50"
80th Anniversary - 2002!
The American Cinematheque celebrated the 80th
Anniversary of the Egyptian Theatre on Thursday, October 17, 2002 with a screening of
ROBIN HOOD featuring live accompaniment by world renowned theatre organist Dennis James,
who played his solo organ transcription of the
original orchestral score by Victor Schertzinger, originally written for the film's
release in 1922. An Allen organ was brought in just for
A sword fighting performance by the Action Actors Academy preceeded the film
presentation, as well as an interview with 93-year old director Joseph Newman (THIS ISLAND
EARTH), who appeared at the Egyptian on its opening night, (October 18, 1922), as part of
Sid Grauman's live-action prologue to ROBIN HOOD ! Newman told the audience that his boy
scout leader was a good friend of Douglas Fairbanks (and appears in the movie) so he was
invited to be part of the opening ceremonies.
A dessert and beverage reception sponsored by Alize and Bouvet's "Passion and Pagne" began the
evening at 6 PM.
The American Cinematheque has an on-going committment to
preserve the Egyptian Theatre as a working movie theatre for future generations to enjoy.
Please support this cause by becoming a member of the
American Cinematheque today! Other naming opportunities are available at the
theatre. Click here for donor information.