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Fifty and Fabulous!

What’s 50 years old, receives 10 million enthusiastic visitors a year, stretches over 18 city blocks and has become an international icon?  The Hollywood Walk of Fame, of course.

The brainchild of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce president in 1953, the Walk of Fame was created as a tribute to artists working in the entertainment industry. And on any given day, frequent sights in Hollywood include tourists (from all over the world) taking pictures over the star of their favorite celebrity or throngs of fans gathering to witness one of the exciting star ceremonies made famous by the late Johnny Grant.

In 1958, the first 8 stars were placed at the corner of Hollywood and Highland Boulevards in black and coral-colored terrazzo stone squares.  Two of the original honorees were Joanne Woodward and Burt Lancaster.  After a few delays, the project was finally approved and dedicated on November 23, 1960 in conjunction with the Hollywood Christmas Parade.

The actual sidewalk containing the Walk of Fame belongs to the City of Los Angeles, but the awesome task of advising the City on the addition of new names belongs to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber receives hundreds of nominations every month and sets out to determine who will receive a star in one of five areas:  motion pictures, television, recording, radio and live performance.  The $25,000 price tag is usually paid for by the stars’ fan club.  Do you know who has a star awarded in every category?

Stars celebrate everyone from Michael Jackson to Sandra Bullock to Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.  Let’s not forget Lassie and Mickey Mouse!  Awardees are asked to be present when their star is presented, and it can turn into quite a party as seen when the Mariachi singer Vicente Fernandez drew 4,000 fans to his ceremony!  To date, just over 2,400 stars have been awarded at a rate of about two per month.

If you’ve never been to Hollywood to check out the stars, what are you waiting for?  The 50th Anniversary makes a perfect reason to grab your camera, head to this famous city and “walk the walk.”  See you in Tinseltown!!