50 Years, Thousands of Stars

The Walk of Fame marks a milestone. You're invited.


A star, and what a star is, the shape of a star and the idea of a star forever belongs, first, to the cosmos.

But a close second in the whole brand-association game would be the Walk of Fame's relationship with the iconic form. You see a star and you think, oh, Hollywood Boulevard.

Powerful stuff that.

The Walk of Fame has now had 50 years to put stars in our heads. And the started-in-1960 stretch is getting its own birthday party, on Sunday, July 25, and the public is invited. There will be music, from none other than Louis Prima, Jr., there will be photo shows, there will be walking around and staring down. It is free, but there are some additional, for-a-cost things going on -- theater tours and whatnot -- so eye everything. (Also note that the Montalban Theater on Vine is a major center of the action.)

We're hard-pressed to think of another landmark, anywhere in the world, that is similar to the Walk of Fame. For one, it is free. Two, people are forever walking on it, scuffing it up. There are chewing gum issues. And three, it stretches over a good distance, but isn't enclosed, like a traditional building.

Thank goodness that fans regularly return to take a toothbrush and cleanser to the stars of long-gone actors. That there are trivia buffs who can tell you that Joan Crawford's star is at 1750 Vine Street. That there are rather byzantine and fascinating rules about how the whole shebang works.

And that the cosmos still own the idea of the star, but have lent it to Tinseltown, on loan, indefinitely.

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