April 8th, 2014

carole lombard 02
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A morning stroll through the Walk of Fame

The last time I genuinely experienced the Hollywood Walk of Fame was in September 1996, and much has changed since then; Carole Lombard's star, for instance.

It's still on Hollywood Boulevard, slightly east of the Hollywood Roosevelt where she spent plenty of time with both Russ Columbo (at the Cinegrill) and Clark Gable (at the penthouse suite that now bears their names), but it's now in front of a Baja Fresh Mexican restaurant. Or should I say, the restaurant was built behind it. (A bit further east along the boulevard, a McDonald's stands near stars for Marilyn Monroe and Ginger Rogers, among others. Wonder if that added a bit to the sales price?)

What would Carole think? Hard to say, though she probably ate her share of Mexican cuisine (El Cholo, on Western Avenue, has been around since the 1920s, and we know she regularly went south of the border to Agua Caliente while married to William Powell).

The Walk of Fame remains as fascinating as ever, and it says something about how much I'm now immersed in classic Hollywood that I now recognize far more of these names than I did while visiting in 1989 and 1996. (I also visited LA in March 2000, but my time spent on the Boulevard was limited to waiting for a cab near Hollywood and Vine on a drizzly Saturday night after getting off the Metro following a Kings game at Staples Center.)

Some of the stars are in rather appropriate places. For instance, John Barrymore's is in front of Musso & Frank's Grill, which has been around since 1919 and where he probably dined (and drank). Others are beautifully juxtaposed; TV icon Betty White's star is next to that of her late husband, game show host Allen Ludden ("The password is...love").

Across on the south side of the Boulevard, the star for famed TV producer Dick Wolf is adjacent to one for Jack Webb, whose "Dragnet" radio and TV series inspired Wolf to create his own police procedural shows. (Wolf even produced a revived "Dragnet," with Ed O'Neill -- yes, that Ed O'Neill, who also has a star on the Boulevard -- as Joe Friday, but it didn't catch on.)

A stop at the Roosevelt showed the lobby being set up for the TCM Classic Film Festival later this weekend; all sorts of goodies saluting the channel were being assembled for the TCM Boutique. I'm not certain how much of this I'll be able to partake, since I don't have a festival pass, but at least I'll be on the periphery. If you're going, I'll try to see you there...and also envy you.

Again, I apologize for the lack of photos, but I'm still learning the ropes with this laptop. Additionally, I apologize to those of you who regularly use my WordPress alternate site, as I've been unable to copy my laptop entries. Once I return east, I'll aim to set everything right.
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