The Hollywood Walk of Fame started as a commercial strategy for Chamber of Commerce. For today it grew out itself more than the dreamers would’ve thought. Now it on the list of Hollywood’s most frequented spots for tourists, visited by approximately 10 million people each year. It’s gonna celebrate it’s 58th anniversary in February 2018, so let us tell 12 things you got interested by about the Hollywood’s most famous sidewalk, where there is room for everyone on the screen.
1. The story began in 1953
The main idea for the Walk of Fame is originated from a company, called the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. E. M. Stuart, volunteer president of the company, planned to build it seven years before they started the construction, in 1953. As the press said at that time, he thought of the idea as a marketing strategy to “maintain the glory of a community whose name means glamour and excitement in the four corners of the world.” The construction waited until January 1956 at the Los Angeles City Council for getting accepted.
2. There would’ve been caricatures as well
It took some time to select the right concept and color scheme. In the original plans, there would’ve been stars that would include a caricature of the celebrity with brown and blue walking stones. Eventually both ideas were ditched. The caricatures were hard to produce on the stars and the colors were clashed with a building that real estate developer C.E. Toberman, a.k.a. Mr. Hollywood, was erecting on Hollywood Boulevard. There had to be a stylist in the team…
3. The court made the construction longer
The construction started shortly after they sneaked out of the first eight names for the stars, and the troubles began with two lawsuits, preventing that. The first came from a group of nearby property owners who didn’t like the $1.25 million tax assessment they had to pay thanks to the Walk of Fame. “Luckily”, they failed. The second one was given by Charlie Chaplin, Jr., who wanted $400,000 because it seemed, there was no room for his father wasn’t in between these names. Seriously?! The judge of course dropped the case in 1960, and Chaplin could be satisfied with the star he got in 1972, in the same year he won his Oscar.
4. The first star was Stanley Kramer
So they could finally start the construction on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960. Filmmaker Stanley Kramer the director of The Defiant Ones, Inherit the Wind, Judgment at Nuremberg, was the first star-owner, who could be actually seen. His star was mounted on March 28, 1960.
5. If the celebrity agrees, anyone can nominate a star
As Robert Capa said, “It’s not enough to be talented, you also have to be Hungarian.” Well, talent is neither enough to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. True that anyone, even a fan, can nominate their beloved star to have room on the Walk of Fame, they have to run through an application process where they also check, if the nominee or his or her manager approved for it.
6. Got to pay $30,000
The Hollywood Walk of Fame isn’t a motel, where every poor people can have their room. Each nomination application must have a list of sponsors who can pay the $30,000 that comes with creating, mounting, and keeping the star clean. But that price isn’t that high if we consider that it’s a terrazzo and brass star.
7. The star has to be there at the unveiling
Before 1968, the star’s presence was more of an honor than a requirement. Since many turned back on this honor, they made it obligatory. There was one exception though. Barbra Streisand, got a star in 1976, but she didn’t appear. Saving the situation, a reporter got creative and interviewed her wax figure at the nearby Hollywood Wax Museum. Funny thing, she did show up at husband’s, James Brolin’s star unveiling in 1998.
8. Anyone can have more stars
If you think a star is done with one room on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, you’re wrong. Many artists, like Bob Hope, Roy Rogers, Mickey Rooney, and Tony Martin have one in four categories. There are also above 30 people, for example Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Jack Benny who own stars in three sections.
9. Michael Jackson’s and Harrison Ford’s double
Even they have the same name, these are individual people. There was also a silent film actor, called Harrison Ford, who got his star in 1960. Harrison Indiana Jones Ford got his in 2003. And also, Michael Jackson wasn’t only a singer, there was a radio dj as well and they both got their room on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984.
10. Cartoon characters are welcome
Believe it or not, someone nominated enough cartoon characters on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that there are 15 stars dedicated to them for today. Of course Mickey Mouse was the first and he made it pretty soon, in 1978. Then came all the famous ones, like Bugs Bunny, Snow White, Woody Woodpecker, Big Bird, The Simpsons, Rugrats, Kermit the Frog, Donald Duck, Godzilla, Winnie the Pooh, The Munchkins, Shrek, Tinker Bell, and The Muppets, so Kermit and Big Bird stars in two sections.
11. Not everyone went on a spelling bee
In 2010, the designer had to be a bit tired, since Julia Louis-Dreyfus got her star spelled “Julia Luis Dreyfus.” As she told to the press, after the unveiling: “The misspelling was so perfectly apt, a great metaphor for show business. Right when you think you’ve made it, you get knocked down. It’s an ideal metaphor for how this business works.” The company acted quickly and Julia got the misspelled star as a souvenir. Dick Van Dyke was in the same situation, in 1992 when they spelled his name as “Vandyke.”
12. Five years to organize the unveiling party
Though it’s not a sweet sixteen, not even a marriage, getting a room on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a pretty big deal. So nominees get their notification for getting a star five years before the unveiling. That leaves enough time for them to even buy a new house for the party. As Hollywood Chamber of Commerce president Leron Gubler told The Huffington Post “Stars like to make it a big deal. That’s the way they are. They get a little more bang for their buck out of it when they time it right.”