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Hollywood Celebrates 50 Years of Stars

By Edwin Folven, 7/22/2010

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The stars in Hollywood will be shining more brightly than usual this Sunday, particularly the ones lining the sidewalks that are part of the Walk of Fame.

A community celebration for the Hollywood Walk of Fame is scheduled for this Sunday. (photo by Edwin Folven)

A community celebration for the Hollywood Walk of Fame is scheduled for this Sunday. (photo by Edwin Folven)

A community-wide celebration will be held titled “Walk the Walk” as part of the Walk of Fame’s year-long 50th Anniversary celebration. The event is being billed as Hollywood’s “open house”, and will include live music, special tours and giveaways.

“We were feeling we needed to have an event that allowed the public to come out and explore the Walk of Fame, and be involved in the celebration,” said Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the Walk of Fame. “It is the number one attraction in Hollywood. We have an average of twenty–four to twenty-five ceremonies a year, and the Walk of Fame is the one award event that is accessible to the public. We hope people will really enjoy this celebration.”

Karen Diehl, the chair of the Walk of Fame 50th Anniversary Committee, said visitors will have opportunities to view Hollywood attractions, including a free movie screening at the Pacific Theatre, and tours of the Capitol Records Building and The Kress, the new name for the iconic building that formerly housed Frederick’s of Hollywood. Other attractions, businesses and retailers are participating, including the Hollywood and Highland Center, the Ricardo Montalban Theatre and the TV Guide Studios.

“It’s about walking and enjoying Hollywood,” Diehl said. “We didn’t make the day at one specific location because we want people to see things they haven’t seen in a while and enjoy.”

The events will run from 11:00am to 6:00pm, and separate locations will celebrate the different categories of Walk of Fame Stars, including film, television, theatre, radio and recording. A special star ceremony will be held at 11:30am in front of the Montalban Theatre at 1617 Vine Street for the late big band bandleader, Louis Prima, who was known for songs such as “Just A Gigolo-I Ain’t Got Nobody” and “Zooma, Zooma”. The ceremony will include a performance by “Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses”.

Tours of the Capitol Records Building at 1750 N. Vine St. will begin every 30 minutes from 11:00am to 5:30pm.

Additional tours will be held from 11:00am to 3:00pm at the TV Guide Studio, and visitors can sign up for the tour at the information table at the Hollywood and Highland Center.

Docent tours of the Egyptian Theatre at 6712 Hollywood Blvd. are also scheduled throughout the day, as are free rides westbound along Hollywood Boulevard offered by Starline Tours from the Pantages Theatre, near Hollywood and Vine, to the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

The Hollywood Museum at the Max Factor Building, located at 1666 N. Highland Ave., is hosting an exhibit on the Walk of Fame, including original photographs, plaques and terrazzo stars from decades of ceremonies. An exhibit by Walk of Fame photographer Bob Freeman will also be displayed at the Stella Adler Theatre at 6773 Hollywood Blvd.

Live music performances will be held on stages in front of the Capitol Records Building and the Egyptian Theatre beginning at noon. The Montalban Theatre will feature film screenings and music, as well as a performance by “Ballet Folklorico Mi Linda Nicaragua”. A special film screening of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, followed by a panel discussion on the film, is also scheduled at the Pacific Theatre, 6433 Hollywood Blvd.

Kerry Morrison, the executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Association, encouraged visitors to walk the sidewalks to view the 2,412 celebrity stars. She said Hollywood has come a long way since the early 1990s, when a renaissance began in the area that transformed it into a premiere destination for local residents and tourists.

“This is an indication that we are ready to fully open our doors to the community and invite people to walk every block of our district,” Morrison said. “We have new tenants, streetscape improvements, we have cleaned up the sidewalks and improved security. All of these things contribute to a very safe and enjoyable experience, and it might surprise people how far we have come.”

For information, visit www.hollywoodchamber.net.

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