The Hollywood Walk of Fame
What is the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
We always hear about movie stars being given their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.We’ve even seen it in the movies so we all know about it but exactly what is it?
First off, it’s fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street, that’s in California of course.It began in 1953 when the then Chamber of Commerce President came up with the idea but not the exact Walk of Fame with the stars.No one knows for sure where the exact idea came from. A special Assessment Committee was established to be responsible for the maintenance and support of a Walk of Fame and an Improvement Association got to pick the first honorees for the Walk.
The cost to build the walk back in 1956, with lighting and tress was estimated to be $1.25 million.The first stars on the Walk were unveiled in 1958 and included; Olive Borden, Ronald Colman, Louise Fazenda, Preston Foster, Burt Lancaster, Edward Sedwick, Ernest Torrance, and Joanne Woodward. The Walk was not done but was it thought it would be finished by 1960.The first star actually laid was that of Stanley Kramer.
Stanley Earl Kramer was not an actor, but a Hollywood director and producer. His films won sixteen Academy Awards and eighty nominations! Kramer said, "I tried to make movies that lasted about issues that would not go away." You might remember "The Caine Mutiny", one of the films Kramer directed.
For those of you who don't know Olive Borden, she was a silent film star. In 1927 she starred in an amazing eleven films! Her nickname was "The Joy Girl". Many of you won't remember, but she began her career as a Max Sennett Bathing Beauty. Just about every site I searched said she was known for her jet black hair and her beauty. Her career took a bit of a nosedive when she refused to take a pay cut and it seems the transition to 'talkies' was difficult. A lot of silent film stars had that problem. She enlisted in the Army during the War and received an Army citation for bravery. Sadly she died at the age of 41.
Ronald Colman, an extremely handsome and talented English actor, was most likely remembered most for his starring role in the movie "Shangri La". He won a Best Actor Oscar for his role in "Double Life". He actually has two stars on the Walk of Fame, one for acting and one for television!
If you want to know more about any of the actors listed you can certainly find them on Wikipedia. There are so many and I have mentioned only a few with stars on the walk and have looked at fewer still in further detail here, but there just isn't enough room to look at each one as I'd like.
Facts about the "Stars" themselves
An interesting point of history was the Charlie Chaplin incident.Charlie Chaplin wasn’t nominated for a star (most likely because of his political affiliations.) Later, Charlie Chaplin, Jr. sued the Chamber of Commerce for the exclusion of his father’s name.The judge threw out the case. However, in 1972 Charlie Chaplin received his star.
In 1962 all parties concerned realized they needed a specific way to pick names for the Walk.The Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance that made the Chamber of Commerce responsible for all matter regarding names on the Walk.The walk has been expanded since its original designated area and adds about two stars per month and attracts more than 10 million tourists a year!
Originally they wanted to put a caricature of the person on the star but soon realized it would be too difficult so they chose categories instead. The five categories represented on the Walk include; Motion Pictures, Broadcast Television,Audio Recording or Music, Broadcast Radio, and Theater/Live Performance.The last category was only added in 1984.
So, what about the stars themselves? Both the movie stars and the stars on the Walk? Gene Autry is the only one to have a star in five separate categories.According to Wikipedia:
Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney, Roy Rogers, and Tony Martin each have stars in four categories — Rooney has three of his own and a fourth with his wife, Jan, while Rogers also has three of his own, and a fourth with his band, the Sons of the Pioneers. Thirty-three people, including Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, Gale Storm, Danny Kaye, and Jack Benny, have stars in three categories.
Who's Who on the Walk of Fame, And Other Trivia
- One President has a star. Can you guess? Of course, Ronald Reagan.
- Two California governors…try to guess? Again, Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.vThose were the easy ones.
- Here’s another, what two Members of the U.S. House of Representatives ….. Helen Gahagan (California), and Sonny Bono (California).
- What two dogs have a star? Give up? Lassie and Rin Tin Tin.
- Remember Sheena, Queen of the Jungle? It’s star, Irish McCalla has a star on the Walk.
- How about Steve Allen from the original Tonight Show back in 1953?
- The broody, sexy, Montgomery Cliff? Trumpeter Miles Davis, Bugs Bunny, Jerry Fairbanks who developed the three camera system for TV, Diana Ross, the list obviously goes on and on.
- Of course there are errors made on the Walk, but they are corrected. For example, Dick Van Dyke was spelled Vandyke and Julia Louis-Dreyfus was spelled Julia Luis Dreyfus.
- Those of you interested in superstitions might like to know it is believed five stars are haunted (not the person but the star on the walk), Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Jean Harlow, Charlie Chaplin, Thelma Todd, and Natalie Wood.
- Joanne Woodward was the first to be photographed with her star.
- The Simpsons have a star!
- Johnny Depp's star was the 2,014th star on the Walk.
- There is a star for the "Moon Landing", the only non-Hollywood star.
- Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were the first to have their stars in front of Grauman's Chinese Restaurant.
There are Bombshells, Hunks, Innovators, Singers, Animated Characters; the greatest gathering of names anywhere.
Walk of Fame Canopy
Interestingly enough, anyone can nominate someone for a star as long as their managers agree, however there is a light fee of $30,000 to pay for creation, installation and maintenance of the star. While I have a feeling none of us will be nominating our favorite star any time soon, there are numerous clubs, organizations, film studios, etc. will continue to nominate and the Walk of Fame will continue to grow.
If you ever get to Hollywood, you’ve got to see the Walk of Fame. Its like walking through history.
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