Next up on our trip: Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame! Every time I think of the Walk of Fame I can’t help but think of Pretty Woman when Kit yells “Esther Williams where you belong!” Ha! Love it.
Again, the Walk of Fame, like it’s cousin the Hollywood Sign, is such an iconic part of Hollywood. It wouldn’t be a trip to Hollywood without seeing the stars. It’s another piece of public art, one that I also think meets the 4 elements of placemaking: orientation, connection, direction, and animation.
I always assumed that you got a star when you made it big! I didn’t know how they measured “big” but I looked at them as a way of saying to those who received a star as a “You’ve made it!” kind of statement. I also was under the impression that the stars were only on Hollywood Blvd. but they are actually on Vine Street as well. Of course walking among the stars prompted me to look at the history behind them and how stars actually get one. I actually found this site through the Hollywood Sign one discussed in my last post. http://www.walkoffame.com/
The history of the stars is not as exciting as the history of the Hollywood Sign. It was a very drawn out process full of lawsuits and disagreements but still good to know. The idea for the stars came from E.M. Stuart, the volunteer president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 1953. He didn’t actually think of using stars (a committee was in charge of that) but he did have the idea to commemorate the people “whose name means glamour and excitement.” After going through some leaps and hoops, in 1956 a proposed star was presented and it was also determined that the sidewalks would be black and coral.
Selecting who would be the first honorees was another story. Four committees were in charge of selecting honorees in the four different parts of entertainment: motion picture, television, recording, and audio. After some legal matters, the Walk of Fame began construction in 1959 with eight honorees already having stars: Olive Bordon, Ronald Colman, Louise Fazenda, Preseton Foster, Burt Lancaster, Edward Sedwick, Ernest Torrance, and Joanne Woodward. It’s funny because I don’t know any of the eight honorees and one of the legal matters was over Charlie Chaplin being honored with a star. He would have been the only one I would’ve known. Shame on you Hollywood (He did eventually get a star).
It was in 1980, under the leadership of Johnny Grant that the Walk of Fame became an international icon. It was also under his leadership that a fifth category of “Live Theatre” was added. There are about 2 stars added to the Walk of Fame a month and a list of rules and regulations on the FAQ part of the Walk’s website explaining a part of the process one has to endure to have a star. One fact I found interesting on the site is that a celebrity can have more than one star. In fact, they can have a star for each of the 5 categories. The only person to have 5 stars is Gene Autry.
Orientation and connection are a major part of the experience when walking down the stars. The stars are there to commemorate the contributions these people have made to the entertainment industry. This allows us to connect with the stars by recalling our own memories of them and the meanings they have to our own lives. Also, I stood where Tom Hanks and Christina Aguilera stood. What a neat way to “feel” connected!
As far as direction and animation, I give the Walk of Fame five stars!! (Ha! See how I did that?!?! I crack myself up). The stars are clearly visual and definitely easy to navigate. All you do is follow them. The only downside is trying to find a certain star. You’d have to do some research or just hope you come across your favorite star. I was hoping to see Tom Hanks’ star and started getting bummed out because I didn’t think we would find it. But on our last day in Hollywood we got lucky and stumbled upon it. Yay! Tom Hanks is the best!
(Those must be comfortable shoes. - Forrest Gump)
The Walk is animated with mostly shopping and dining. Which I love to take part in when I’m walking up and down a street. Also, famous movie characters are brought to life and they walk up and down the Walk of Fame. We saw Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider Man, Iron Man, characters from Star Wars, and characters from Pirates of the Caribbean. This is how these people make money! They dress up in costume and people hand them money to take pictures with them. What?!?! Are you kidding me. I’d really like to know how much they make in a day. I might need to think about making a career change. I wonder what movie character I could pull off?