Sunday, March 7, 2010
Hollywood, Day Two
The next morning we scheduled a tour around the city in one of those big Grayline buses. I am not much of a morning person and this tour started early and lasted until mid afternoon. They even picked us up at the hotel and took us down to their ticket office. Much to my surprise their ticket office was right across the street from Grauman’s Chinese Theater. As I sat waiting on our bus tour to leave I noticed that all the Marilyn Monroes, Spidermen, Sponge Bobs and Darths were not morning people either. In fact Hollywood Boulevard didn’t have much going on at 7:30 a.m. I never explained about all those characters. The sidewalk in front of Grauman’s seems to be a gathering place of sort. Of course it draws all the tourists because it has been there forever. And I have learned in my traveling that where there are tourists, there are opportunists. That’s what we’ll call them – opportunists! There are folks that make their living by showing up on Hollywood Boulevard, specifically in front of Grauman’s, to pose for pictures with tourists. They make their living from tips. I forgot to add that Barney was there and so was Gene Simmons from KISS – although you know that might not have been an opportunist, it might really have been Gene – how would we really know?
The Walk of Fame is another big tourist attraction. I had formulated in my mind what I thought all this was going to be like and I was really wrong. I don’t know why I had in mind that the Walk was a specific spot. The Walk stretches all up and down Hollywood Boulevard and some of the intersecting streets as well – for eighteen blocks! I also didn’t realize that these stars in the sidewalk have to be purchased. That’s right – the ole Hollywood Chamber of Commerce sells them for $25,000. I couldn’t imagine anyone vain enough to purchase their own star and then showing up for the big publicity when it is unveiled. A tour guide explained that most of the time a star’s fan club or studio they work for purchases the star for them. I also learned that there are five categories to be eligible for a star and each has their own symbol on the star – movie camera, record, microphone, television and theater mask. They unveil 20 stars per year and you can even find a schedule of unveilings on the internet and center your vacation around it.
So we boarded our bus and took off for a tour of Los Angeles and Hollywood Highlights. I must say that this really was the best bang for the buck. After covering the Hollywood area, we also went as far west as Muscle beach, the Santa Monica Pier and back into Los Angeles to pass some star’s homes, see the Hollywood sign (privately owned by the way). I really like taking these tours because there is no way you could figure out your way around a city and be able to see the tourist sites as well. If it were my family, Gary would drive, I would read the map and the other passengers would be the only ones getting to see anything. And Gary and I would be in the front seat arguing over where to turn. One of my pet peeves is for him to ask me to navigate and then he questions my directions! My thought is that if you aren’t going to follow the map directions I give you – when I am the one holding the map – then pull over, study the map and do it yourself! I must add that I am a good map reader – remember I like to study maps! Anyway, the bus tours are really the best deal for our family.
We arrived back at the tour office about 3 p.m. and immediately noticed that things had really changed over at Grauman’s since I left at 7:30 that morning. All kinds of barriers had gone up, a red carpet had been stretched out, big guys wearing black suits and sun glasses were hanging around. The tourist crowd had really picked up too. I questioned around enough to find out that there was a movie premiere that was going to take place. Things were buzzing over at Grauman’s. Hmmmm, sounded like a place to spot some stars.
Leave me a comment to register for the $25 drawing tonight. Which “opportunist” would you tip to have your picture taken with?
And the picture – this is Grauman’s in full swing preparation for a movie premiere. Normally this area is full of opportunists, tourists, pick pockets, and weirdos. Notice the concrete blocks in the fore court of the theater – those are the ones with hand prints and signatures of Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Shirley Temple – that’s another story.