Grauman's Chinese Theater: Who Started the Hand and Footprints Tradition?

A showman named Sid Grauman was the creator behind Hollywood's famed Chinese Theater.  He had opened theaters in Los Angeles before, including the Egyptian on Hollywood Boulevard and the Million Dollar Theater downtown, but he considered the Chinese his dream theater.  

It opened on May 18, 1927, and 90 years later it is still the most sought-after theater by Hollywood studios for their film premieres, but the real draw to the Chinese theater is the Forecourt of Stars.  

The tradition of stars immortalized in the cement of the theater’s forecourt dates back to 1927...there are several stories, but the most likely one is this:

Natalie and Constance Talmadage shared silent screen stardom as well as sisterhood.  They were with Sid Grauman, getting an exclusive tour of his latest show palace in the works, when Constance accidentally walked through wet cement (or she may have done it on purpose; she was the flapper-type that loved making a scene.)  Other accounts of this story have Norma walking through the cement...but I think that’s just because she was the more famous sister. Little tweaks to the truth made much better copy for the newspapers! The reason this version seems to be more truthful is because if you look at the cement, Constance Talmadge’s footprints appear to be walking across the block of cement...everyone else’s look posed.  See exhibit A:

The first Hollywood power couple, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, get a lot of credit for being the first to put their hands and feet in the most famous cement block in the world.  However, this legend grew out of them being the first celebrities to have an official hand and foot print ceremony, after Sid Grauman realized that the Talmadge sisters had literally stumbled across his greatest publicity gimmick to date. 

There is also a rumor that Sid Grauman himself walked through the cement, and that gave him the idea.   But this photo of Constance Talmadge's bit of real estate in the forecourt has me convinced.

What do you think?