Friday, August 10, 2007

A star is shorn, removed from the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Actually not "a" star, but many, were shorn recently. They were not shorn, exactly, but removed from the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.*

Don't panic! The stars were not stolen, as some have been. And they won't be vandalized, as was the unassigned placque depicted in the photograph, right: "Sylvia Hutt's self-written star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame." [Source: Hollywood Walk of Fame - Wikipedia. Contributor: Usfirstgov].

This situation is temporary. A 1/2-block strip near the famous Hollywood and Vine intersection was temporarily closed, and the brass placques of 61 stars were dug up. So were the charcoal
terrazo squares they were embedded in.

The stars and still-intact squares are safely stored in a warehouse. The eight squares that crumbled during extraction will be replaced.

What would be so important as to eclipse the stars of stars? Apparently, a private real estate project. To meet federal requirements for providing access for wheelchairs, Ken Summers, project director for Webcor Builders, said the old walkway had to be replaced by a new, flatter, sidewalk.

When Webcor's work is completed, the starry, starry placques and Hollywood squares will be returned to their former, glitzy glory. Strollers along that stretch will be seeing stars again. And all will be back to normal, er, business as usual along that starry, starry right of way through La La Land.

FYI, not all the Walk of Fame placques are stars, not all the placques are on the ground, and not all the honorees are people. Moreover, the price of fame on Hollywood Boulevard - specifically, the cost to be immortalized with a brass placque, terrazo block and associated fanfare - is rising.

According to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which selects nominees and installs the stars, the cost of a Walk of Fame star ceremony is currently "$25,000 upon selection. The money is used to pay for the creation and installation of the star, as well as maintenance of the Walk of Fame." Today's price reflects an astronomical increase over the $15,000 fee reported four years ago in Hollywood Boulevard's Price of Fame>>Fox News (Decembe 3, 2003). Reporter Catherine Donaldson-Evans itemized the associated expenses: removal of an old, blank star; installation of a new one with the honoree's name; security; publicity; and staging costs, with a portion set aside for maintenance and repair.

The Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame is but one of many monuments to celebrities. Where the Stars are Immortalized>>Seeing Stars in Hollywood lists other monuments, as well as various types of imprints, halls of fame, statues, museums, and other honors.

One example is Grauman's Chinese Theater, where celebrity handprints, footprints, cigar prints, nose prints, gun prints, wand prints, hoof prints of the horses they rode, and more are inscribed in cement blocks. The photo, right is encaptioned: "Many older entries contain personal messages to Sid Grauman, such as Myrna Loy's 1936 contribution. Loy's first job was as a dancer at the theater in the 1920s.' [Source: Myrna Loy, in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Taken by Rossrs. Source: Grauman's Chinese Theater - Wikipedia]

* NOTE: After reading "61 stars removed from Walk of Fame," I couldn't resist posting this.