The ultimate draw at this popular tourist attraction is a small plaza of solid concrete between the movie theater’s entrance and the busy Hollywood sidewalk.
Imprinted in the concrete are handprints, footprints, and autographs of nearly 200 famous movie stars.
Over 80 years of entertaining, and the theater still hosts moviegoers every day, including premiere films with an entourage of celebrities and fans. Now called TCL Chinese Theater (and boasting the new James Bond film in IMAX) it has had many names, many owners, many face-lifts…and millions of visitors. Read more here.
There was much noise and activity surrounding this hotspot on Hollywood Boulevard: street artists, impersonators, souvenir hawkers, and tourists. But I found that once I was in the plaza with the prints, the chaos melted away.
For here I was looking at the shoe prints of Rita Hayworth, the delightfully talented feet that had fluttered across my TV screen so many times.
Artists as far back as the 1920s and 30s had mingled here–Mary Pickford (original co-owner of the theater), the Marx Brothers, Al Jolson. And hundreds more silver screen friends were here throughout the rest of the 20th century, and into the 21st. View the list here.
People I had never actually met, but whose body and face, voice and gift, instantly sprang up in my mind. Here were the artists from every stage of my life, and my parents’ and grandparents’ too–they entertained and enlightened me, in sickness and in health.
We all paused and admired our own special heroes, stood in their footsteps, honored their essence.
In a few quiet corners I noticed there is still some space left for future celebrities, because yes, the show must go on.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander