The Quick 10: The Hollywood Walk of Fame

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The Hollywood Walk of Fame celebrates its 50-year anniversary this week. Although a big block-party-style bash is scheduled for later this summer after some much-needed renovations are complete, the actual construction kickoff happened on February 8, 1960, with the star ceremony taking place the following day. Since Hollywood's celebration is still a few months away, we thought we'd help celebrate the official day in our own meager way "“ by featuring the WoF in a Q10.

woodward1. The first stars were actually put in place in 1958 so the Chamber of Commerce and the L.A. City Council could show the town what they had in mind. But construction didn't start on the full plan until February 8, 1960. The first official dedication ceremony was for Joanne Woodward and her star the next day, but the Walk of Fame site still lists her official induction date as the 1958 date the prototypes were unveiled. The first new star to be laid was in honor of director and producer Stanley Kramer.

2. After the unveiling of the first eight prototype stars in 1958, the Chamber and the City were promptly sued by Charlie Chaplin's son, who was upset his father hadn't been included. Charlie Sr. is there now, but he had to wait another 14 years for his April 10, 1972 induction.

3. As with most things in Hollywood, induction to the Walk of Fame is going to cost you (or your movie studio). Upon selection, someone has to cough up $25,000, which pays for the star's creation, installation and maintenance. But Hollywood's honorary mayor, the late Johnny Grant, once said in an interview that it wasn't uncommon for film studios to offer up to four times that amount. "These studios, when they want a star and they've got a picture opening, they'd give you $100,000," he said. Sometimes fan clubs also foot the bill.

johnnygrantstar4. The vast majority of the stars fall under five categories. You can discern what the celebrity was inducted for by checking out the icon in the middle of their star: a motion picture camera represents the film industry, a T.V. set represents the television industry, a phonograph record denotes the recording industry, an old radio microphone shows that the celeb contributed to broadcast radio, and comedy/tragedy masks represent live theater. There are a few exceptions to this rule, including the Great Seal of Hollywood icon on Johnny Grant's star, the seal of the city of L.A. on L.A. mayor Tom Bradley's star and Disneyland's castle emblem. Additionally, the members of the Apollo XI mission are jointly honored with a moon shape instead of the traditional star.

5. If you're looking for Muhammad Ali's star, you're going to have better luck scanning the walls of the Kodak Theater than looking down at your feet. When he was inducted in 2002, Ali requested that his star be placed elsewhere because he didn't like the idea of being walked on, the committee agreed. So far, it's the only star to be placed anywhere other than the ground. In case you're curious, Ali apparently falls under the category "live theater."

6. So far, Gene Autry is the only person who has a star in each of the five categories.

7. There are three dogs honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You're probably familiar with Rin Tin Tin and Lassie, but the third one is a little more obscure (and was also the first dog honored): Strongheart, a German shepherd who was the first celebrity canine.

8. Shockingly, Judge Judy beat Judge Wapner to the Walk of Fame. She was honored in February 2006, while Lana Turner's ex-beau didn't get a star until last year.

9. Twenty or so stars are added to the WoF every year. The latest? Ringo Starr, who is being inducted tonight. He already has one as a part of the Beatles, of course, but he's now the third Beatle to be honored individually. Paul McCartney still doesn't have one for his solo efforts.

10. Each star is made of pink terrazzo. The slabs weigh about 300 pounds each, but that hasn't stopped thieves from making off with a few of them. Jimmy Stewart and Kirk Douglas both had their stars stolen by a contractor who was helping on some renovations to the WoF. They were both later found, but only after the stars had been replaced. It was probably for the best anyway "“ the stars had gotten badly damaged while in the "care" of the contractor. Gregory Peck's star suffered the same fate in 2005. One of Gene Autry's stars was also stolen during a construction project; Johnny Grant later received a call saying it had popped up in Iowa, but no one bothered to return it. I'm so proud.

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February 8, 2010 - 1:56pm
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