The taxi ride from our hotel to Hollywood Blvd was one of the most exciting car rides of my life. Knowing that the Walk of Fame was just minutes away was pretty intense, and on top of that when the taxi stopped at a junction we got a view of the Hollywood sign between two buildings, in the far distance. It once again reminded me that we were really in the ‘land of dreams’ and that I wasn’t actually just in a dream.
As the taxi pulled over to a stop, it was difficult to see anything apart from the hustle and bustle of people. But as I stepped out of the car and put my foot on the ground, I looked down and saw a big red star underneath; I had just stepped straight out onto the Walk of Fame! It was a moment I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Suddenly this wave of amazement washed over me as it started to sink in that we were actually here.
We started walking and naturally our heads were looking down at all times, reading all the famous names that we were walking over. From Michael Jackson to Mickey Mouse and Stevie Wonder to Elvis, there were so many of my favourite Hollywood names engraved in the ground beneath my feet.
There are approximately 2,500 stars on the Walk of Fame and the walk stretches for 1.3miles across several blocks. That’s why it was impossible for us to see every single star, because they are everywhere you look and we were worried that if we walked too far we’d get lost. But the main part of the walk outside the TCL Chinese Theatre is the best because it’s where the buzz of Hollywood is.
The TCL Chinese Theatre is the backdrop for LA red carpet film premieres that you see on TV. It has a huge amount of history and is a spectacular building to look at. On our tour of the theatre we learnt that it was built in the 1920’s and opened in 1927. It’s where classic old films had their premieres like Wizard of Oz (1939) and it has a few star’s costumes inside including James Dean’s outfit from Giant (1956) and Judy Garland’s as Dorothy in Wizard of Oz. On the tour we also got to see the VIP box in the theatre where celebrities watch the premier of their films, even to this day, among the audience.
Outside of the theatre are the hundreds of handprints and footprints of Hollywood stars. Even today stars take part in the ceremony to put their hands and feet in cement so that the prints of them will last forever for fans to see. From Marilyn Monroe to Will Smith, stars throughout the decades have been immortalised outside the theatre. Marilyn Monroe’s handprints are the ones that have become the most blackened due to wearing away, because so many people have put their hands on the prints, more than any other star’s (see picture below). But out of the thousands of stars that have graced the earth, there are only a very special few picked to get their hands and feet imprinted forever; only around 200 have been honoured with the privilege. It’s much harder to get one of these than to get your star on the Walk of Fame.
Hollywood Blvd isn’t as vast as I assumed it would be. There aren’t many restaurants or shops other than gift shops full of Hollywood memorabilia. But there’s the Madame Tussauds wax museum (see slideshow below) and the Hollywood Museum which were amazing and definitely need to be visited if you go to Hollywood. The Hollywood Museum has 10,000 artefacts, costumes and props from famous movies throughout the history of film all the way to today’s blockbusters. The thing that was by far the most fascinating to see there, was the original pill bottle that was found by Marilyn Monroe’s bed when she died. To actually see it with your own eyes and to know it was found next to Marilyn is another strange and surreal experience, much like the Whitney Houston experience I mentioned in Part 1. I also got to see Michael Jackson’s 1987 Bad tour costume (pictured below) which of course was incredible for a huge MJ fan like myself. Bottom line is, the Hollywood Museum is a must see!
Hollywood Blvd, although this will sound cheesy, was so magical and I recommend that everyone visits it at least once in their lifetimes. Find out about our experience with American food and culture in Part 3 of My Hollywood Holiday, coming soon!