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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Have You Read Your Souvenir Cup?

While browsing the store at the 2016 TCMFF I found a nice mug. The design was a graphic any classic film fan would recognize. It was of the Chinese Theater as it is now known, but older fans will recall the days when the Hollywood landmark was referred to as Grauman’s Chinese. The cup has a nice lined depiction, black on white with a classy black interior. It’s an attractive cup and has just the kind of nice thin lip I like for my morning mocha. I have been using the cup regularly since coming home from my four-day immersive experience into classic cinema.

Of course, my association with the cinematic landmark began a long time ago. I visited the Chinese first when I was twelve, on my first trip to “Hollywood”. Even people who have never been to the Los Angeles area, who have never tried their feet against the imprints of movie giants past and present, who have never fitted their hands to the cement molds of star digits, who have never sat in the beautiful dark interior and got lost in the magic on the big screen, recognize the iconic visage from its many appearances in the media from the I Love Lucy TV show to random appearances on the evening news. Oh the people and the movies the venerable edifice has welcomed across the forecourt paved in cemented memories, under the tall ornate entrance, and in through those big doors. If only that theater could talk!

I bought the cup for the image and the memories it evoked. We all know, I assume, that the theater is no longer the Grauman’s Chinese, but known now as the Chinese by those of us who cannot yet get our heads around the new owner’s name (TCL – a Chinese television brand that stands for The Creative Life). Now, I should point out that I have used the cup two or three times a week in the last few months, and yet it was only this morning while stirring the chocolate into my coffee that I actually finally read the inscriptions on its side.

Imagine my surprise, thinking at last to know the great theater’s new sobriquet, to find that the cup has only three words upon it, and those words are as follows: Sid Grauman’s Theaters. WOW! I think I bought a relic, a leftover in effect from other, more glamorous days. If I had read the cup to start with I would have bought four or even six of them to give as gifts or to keep as a set. I might have swept the shelf clean, though how I would have gotten them home would have required some thought. Maybe the gift store may have been trying to clear out old merchandise; either way I was able to buy a reminder of old Hollywood.

Did you buy a cup? Quick, go read it. There is no end to the wondrous experiences presented by TCMFF.

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