Killing time in Hollywood does not require a great deal of imagination or money. On my way to see a Broadway play, I decided to kill some time here in Hollywood. I once had a SoCal office down here at or near the famous corner of Hollywood and Vine. My very first visit there was rather interesting. It turns out that Motown Records had an office in our building.
The rides up and down the elevator that day proved quite entertaining. When we went to lunch, someone in ALL pink entered the elevator. When I say all pink, I meant pink from head to toe, including his/her hair, along with some shiny pink boots. I could not figure out if the pinkster was a he or a she. Of course, imagine my surprise when they finally told me that everyone from Motown was in town for the Grammy Awards that evening!!!!
Anyway, the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame is worth a few minutes of my time. There are only 2400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded on the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood. Easily, over 10 million people visit the Walk each year. Here are the five
categories: Classic film camera representing motion pictures Television receiver representing broadcast television Phonograph record representing audio recording or music Radio microphone representing broadcast radio Comedy/tragedy masks representing theatre/live performance (added in 1984)
Of the categories, 47% are in the film or motion picture business, the largest group. Only the emblem for the Apollo 11 astronauts differ from the traditional star. The three astronauts circular “moons” to commemorate their landing on the moon, July 20, 1969.
Many people think Joanne Woodward, actress and wife of Paul Newman, was the first honoree on the Walk. Woodward’s name was drawn randomly as one of eight from the original 1550. It turns out that later, in 1960, director Stanley Kramer was honored with the first permanent star. I will spare you further rather boring information about the Walk, for it is the people who make the Walk so interesting.
Stars can be honored several times, with only Gene Autry received a star in all five categories. Those with four are Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney, Roy Rogers, and Tony Martin. Thirty three people have three stars, including Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, Gale Storm, Danny Kaye, and Jack Benny (my Mom’s favorite). Even Muhammad Ali has a star, since boxing was considered a “live performance.”
A star is honored with a star only if they attend the ceremony. The only person who did not attend, and subsequently did not get her star, was Barbra Streisand. Clayton Moore, who played “The Lone Ranger” on TV is only one of two honorees who have both their real and fictional name on the star. Sidney Sheldon is one of only two novelists who have been honored for writing screenplays. The other is Ray Bradbury.
Nine inventors have stars, including Thomas Edison, George Eastman, Lee De Forest (vacuum tube), Merian Cooper (inventor of the Cinerama process), Herbert Kalmus (for Technicolor), Auguste and Louis Lumiere (components of the motion picture camera), Mark Surrurier (for film editing technology), and actress Hedy Lamar (co-inventor of frequency hopping, a precursor to wi-fi systems and cellular phones).
My favorite, of course, is the fictional character, Mickey Mouse, who received his star in 1978. Other animated recipients are: Bugs, Donald, Woody, Snow White, Tinker, Winnie, Shrek, Rugrats, and the Simpsons, the Muppets, and the Munchkins. The three dogs have stars, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and Strongheart. Of course, their creators are here too, including Walt Disney, Charles Schultz, Walter Lantz, Hanna-Barbera, and Dr. Seuss.
Show business royalty have their stars located in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Perhaps the most whimsical placement is the star of Ed O’Neill, whose star is located in front of a shoe store since his TV character Al Bundy played a shoe salesman who despised his job.
Four stars have been stolen. The stars weigh about 300 pounds each. These included the stars of Jimmy Stewart, Kirk Douglas, Gene Autry, and Gregory Peck. There have been several misspellings, including Julia Luis-Dreyfus, and Dick Vandyke (both have been corrected).
Probably the most popular is the star of deceased mega star Michael Jackson. Not a day goes by without some flowers or other remembrance at his star.
If you have never seen these, I strongly suggest that you go. The only other place similar to this, is of course, Westminster Abbey in London. The individual monuments are not gravestones, as only Kings and Queens were buried there.