Believe it or not, 2014 marked the 40th anniversary of Young Frankenstein. To commemorate this Mel Brooks classic, Grauman’s Chinese Theater asked him to add his hands and feet to the famed forecourt on Hollywood Boulevard. In keeping with the spirit of the event, he gave them the finger – actually an extra one, on his left hand.
As a comedian alongside Hollywood giants like Clark Gable and John Wayne, Mel thought people would expect something a little different from him. So he cleverly and quietly had a prosthetic finger added to his left hand. It looked so real no one noticed it at first — until it was time to smush his hands into the cement. Once the print was done, the cat was out of the bag (or the finger out of the cement). Joking with the press that day, Mel said he hoped it would catch the attention of a tourist from Des Moines, who would believe their eyes and say “Harry! Mel Brooks has six fingers on his left hand!”
Since the theater opened in 1927 stars have added their hands and feet (and the occasional cigar, nose, or pair of glasses) to the public forecourt. There are over 200 sets including Mel’s 11-fingered version. He still laughs when people ask him about it. The “Young Frankenstein-ian” response would be “What finger?”
Know Before You Go
Grauman's (now part of the Chinese company TCL) has regular first-run and IMAX movie showings, but the forecourt is open 24/7 and free to wander around as much as you like. There are maps to show you whose handprints are where - Mel's hands can be found on the upper right side of the sidewalk as you face the front of the building.