Ready for a close-up: Oscar history lives along Hollywood Boulevard

Think this is the path Marilyn Monroe. Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda took to stardom?

Vacation Memories: Part of an ongoing series reviewing past trips.

Who will win the Oscar for best actor? Actress? Which movie takes home the title as the best of the year? Those questions will be answered tonight during the 88th annual Academy Awards. The show takes place in Hollywood.

Hollywood will be electrified with all the big names and soon-to-be big names walking the red carpet, telling the droves of television reporters “who” they’re wearing. Fans will line up, just for a chance to check out an actor or two.

We’ve been on that street – Hollywood Boulevard. We watched a ceremony – not the Oscars – where fans line up for a glimpse of a celebrity or two. We watched Walter Koenig get his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We watched Leonard Nimoy – Mr. Spock – give a beautiful speech to honor his co-star.

The late Leonard Nimoy

We even got our picture taken with a celebrity. We are fans of CBS’ “Criminal Minds.” Kirsten Vangsness portrays Penelope Garcia on the show. She was checking out the festivities, too. She was super nice to pose for a picture with us.

Our close encounter with a celebrity. Kirsten Vangsness was so nice to take the photo with us.

We’ve strolled along Hollywood Boulevard. We checked out the entrance to the Dolby Theater, home of the Oscars show. We stood on the famous red carpeted staircase.

Us at the Dolby Theater, home of the Academy Awards ceremony

One thing we found interesting was that there are columns listing all of the best picture winners. Additional columns await the future winners.

And the 2071 Oscar goes to…

The Dolby Theater isn’t the only spot on Hollywood Boulevard to host the annual awards show. The former Grauman’s (now TCL) Chinese Theatre hosted the Oscars 1944-46. Casablanca won the Best Picture Oscar in 1944.

This will always be Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to us

The Pantages Theatre hosted the Oscars 1950-60. Among the winners during the time here was “All About Eve,” produced by Nebraska native Darryl F. Zanuck. Zanuck is buried in Los Angeles. Another former Husker to win an Oscar during its time at the Pantages was Marlon Brando, who brought Oscar home for lead actor in “On the Waterfront.” The movie also won Best Picture in 1954.

Once the home of the Oscars, the Pantages now hosts plays and other events

Next door to Pantages is The Frolic Room. Our friends Mark and Ron always visit this bar when in Los Angeles. We took in the scene with them during a visit. It’s considered a dive bar, but it’s a cool one. The ambience shouts ‘60s. A popular mural is located opposite the bar.

A step back in time at The Frolic Room

So, what Hollywood visit is complete without stopping at Hollywood and Vine? Not ours. We checked that bay off the list quickly during the trip.

The corner of Hollywood and Vine

To feel like a true Hollywood player you have to have dinner at an established restaurant. Our choice was Musso and Frank Grill. Opened in 1919, the restaurant remains a meeting spot for Hollywood’s celebrities. Ron’s brother and sister-in-law beat us to the restaurant, and he wrangled a corner booth. Not just any corner booth, but, like, THE corner booth. He said the maître de told him Sean Penn and company had held court there a couple of nights earlier. In fact, that booth was featured during a scene in the movie “Hitchcock.” I may have said a little too loud “I sat there!” at the theater when I saw the movie with a daughter.

Delicious food and possible star sightings

Hollywood Boulevard is so much more than just the Walk of Fame, where you can see so many stars’ names immortalized on the pavement. It’s a fun place to check out the sights and sounds.

A Nebraska boy wins an Oscar

So, as we watch the Oscars tonight, we’ll do so recalling how much fun we had our adventure there.

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