Hollywood Boulevard is the home of the stars. And its sidewalks have the proof.
The boulevard is home to the Walk of Fame – stars emblazoned in the concrete, recognizing people from acting to civic involvement. During our trip there in 2011, I found myself stopping at almost every star and getting a photograph. Hundreds? A thousand? I think I finished closer to the latter.
Some of my favorite celebrities from my childhood – Fred MacMurray, Vin Scully, Dick Enberg, as well as a bunch of others.
Scully and Enberg were two of my favorite sports play-by-play announcers from my childhood into adulthood. Scully is still calling games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in baseball. He’s in his 90s and still active.
A special marker on the Walk of Fame recognizes where it all started.
Another star recognizes the true stars of the world – the American astronauts who were the first to land on the moon.
Back on Earth, I loved that John Ritter’s star was set next to his dad’s (Tex). John Ritter was probably was on TV’s modern clown princes with his slapstick humor in “Three’s Company,” as well as overall comedy in shows such as “8 Simple Rules.” It was during a taping of that show that he suffered heart issues and later died, much too young.
Tex was known as a singing cowboy, like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. I remember watching him in old black-and-white westerns on Sunday mornings as a kid. When we lived in Oakland, Nebraska, my mom had my dad take us to Fremont, where the elder Ritter was performing at the old Holiday Lodge hotel. We stood in line after she bought an album, so she could get his autograph. Ah, childhood memories.
We checked out some Hollywood “classics,” such as Ingrid Bergman, Groucho, Marx and Cecil B. DeMille.
Not to be left out – the Nebraskans with stars on the walk of fame. The list included Hoot Gibson (Tekamah), Henry Fonda (Grand Island), Fred Astaire (Omaha), Marlon Brando (Omaha) and Johnny Carson (Norfolk via Corning, IA).
As a Star Trek fan, not only did we see the stars of favorites Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, we were able to watch Walter Koenig get his star revealed on the Walk of Fame.
Our friends mark and Ron were tipped off about the ceremony, so the four of us went to watch. Did we get a view! Takei embraced Nichols shortly after arriving. Koenig shook hands and shared hugs with all kinds of folks, including “MASH’s” Jamie Farr.
Leonard Nimoy did the introduction speech for Koenig, who played Chekov in the TV and movie series.
Koening’s speech as sweet and you could tell he was so ecstatic to finally be recognized on the Walk. He was the last of the main core of cast members to have his star on the Walk of Fame.
Afterward, Lisa recognized Kirsten Vangsness from “Criminal Minds.” We are fans of the show, and asked her for a photograph with us. She was really sweet and obliged. Thanks Garcia!
In addition to movie and TV stars, some of my favorite musicians have their stars on Hollywood Boulevard: Billy Joel, Buddy Holly, Eagles, Steve Miller Band, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.
And, who can forget the “Man in black” himself? Mr. Johnny Cash.
The neat thing about Hollywood Boulevard is that is more than just the Walk of Fame.
We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Musso and Frank Grill with our friends. We sat in a corner booth. Ron’s brother, Fred, and his wife arrived earlier and Fred asked for the celebrity’s booth. Apparently, Sean Penn had sat in the booth recently before our visit. Nice.
We enjoyed a great dinner and had a wonderful time. A couple of years while watching the movie “Hitchcock,” we recognized our booth. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Scarlett Johansen sat in it for a scene. Excellente!
The boulevard is home to the Chinese theater. It used to be Grauman’s, but has changed hands. To me, it will always be Grauman’s Chinese Theater. It’s the spot where a lot of celebrities put their hands and shoes in wet cement to celebrate their fame and recognition in movies.
Some of the names embedded in concrete include Meryl Streep, Sidney Poitier, John Travolta, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Shirley Temple, the cast of “Star Trek” movies, Jack Benny, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Tom Hanks.
The theater itself is a beautiful view and full of photo opportunities.
Walking a bit more on Hollywood Boulevard, we came up Lisa’s favorite photo opp – a Hard Rock Café.
El Capitan Theater was lit up for the evening. Jimmy Kimmel films his nightly show inside for ABC.
The home of the Academy Awards is at the Dolby Theater (formerly Kodak). The steps that are walked up by stars were available for us to pose for our paparazzi.
The theater has columns scattered about with the names of all the previous Oscar winners for “Best Movie,” as well columns ready for future winners.
Our hotel was about two blocks of Hollywood Boulevard. It was boutique hotel, where we would stay again if we go back.
Near our hotel was the famous Capitol Records building.
It was closed every time we walked by, but we did peer inside once and see the gold records adorning the walls.
Our favorite morning stop – Starbucks – was a short walk from the hotel and was located at 18th and Vine, where Hollywood Boulevard starts and dreams come true.
We enjoyed a couple of evening visits to the Frolic Room. Visiting the bar is a tradition for our friends, whenever they’re in town.
The interior of the bar was vintage. The clientele was awesome. Average folks sharing good times. Strangers were willing to talk to strangers. It was a good time for all.
Hollywood Boulevard offers visitors more than just a look at the stars on the sidewalk. You can take in a lot of people watching, enjoy good meals at authentic Hollywood eateries, and top the night off with a relaxing drink with friends, new and old.
As Casey Kasem would say, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”