Time Frame: The Egyptian Theater 91 Years Ago and Now


To put the newly minted moviegoing experience on the same level as other cultural offerings in the 1920s, theaters like the Egyptian in Hollywood came up with all manner of preshow rituals. For a 1924 screening of Cecil B. De Mille’s silent epic The Ten Commandments, visitors were invited to sign in at a registry placed atop an ornate stand (inset). Ticket holders were also entertained by “living” statues covered in bronze body paint as they enacted scenes from the Bible. Most theater props of the time disappeared as quickly as the marquee changed, including the hefty record books. Unlike the millennia-old Holy Grail, which Spanish historians claim to have found, the Ten Commandments registry is lost to the ages.