NBC Los Angeles reports that concrete slabs bearing the original footprints of Sid Grauman, Douglass Fairbanks and Mary Pickford have been found in — of all places — a local airport hanger. Along with the still-lost footprints of Norma Talmadge, the silent-era imprints date to 1927 and, through a quirk of fate, were the very first to grace the famous Hollywood forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Exactly how and why the historic footprints were made, removed in 1958, lost, and eventually rediscovered by TV personality Chuck Henry is a story filled with bizarre plot twists. Ultimately, Henry stumbled across the artifacts while visiting a local airport this past December, and NBCLA has spent the two months since authenticating his find.
Predictably, the slabs’ reappearance is erupting into an epic tale of Tinseltown avarice. Mann Theatres CEO Peter Dobson has told NBCLA he’d “like them donated to the Chinese Theatre. And I would like the slabs put in front of the forecourt, back to where they truly belong.”
But Hollywood developer Nick Olaerts, who now claims ownership of the famous concrete chunks, has wasted no time in rejecting the proposal, saying bluntly, “I have no interest in giving them back to Grauman’s.”