A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS: I first visited Hollywood on a very brief trip back in 2006 or so. I basically walked down Hollywood Boulevard taking pictures of the stars in the street. I made it all the way to the classic Mann’s Chinese Theater, but time prevented me from looking at the legendary hand and footprints in cement. I basically had to leave right then and there. A few weeks ago, I got another chance to go to Hollywood, and this time the cement prints were a must see. It was fun- I got to compare my handprints to Humphrey Bogart, Robin Williams and Deanna Durbin. and it also led me to a bit of a mystery. It seems that a penny was put into the block with Deanna Durbin’s cement prints. Why? It took a little bit of searching, but it seems that Deanna played a character named “Penny” in a film around that time. Here’s a quote from an article that someone was kind enough to post:
"They're organizing an expedition to dig up the penny at the Chinese Theater," explained Deanna (Durbin). When they took my footprints for the theater someone exclaimed, 'Oh, we should have a penny to put in the cement with her footprints!' Because my name is 'Penny" in the picture, you know. And some elderly lady brought one up and they used it. I tried to find her afterward, thinking I'd like to know more about her-she was so sweet to us. But she had gone home."
- HOW KIDS GROW UP IN HOLLYWOOD, Oakland Tribune, February 26, 1939, By Alice L. Tildesley
This is a fun example of change that has been laying on the ground for the past half-century or so. My friend Bert, obsessed with finding pennies (long story, folks), urged me to try and pick it out of the cement. No such luck; it was wedged in there pretty deep. He then suggested I take out the entire block of cement and bring it home. I responded, "Who do you think I am, Lucille Ball?"
I’m not sure about this, but I’d bet that the Star Wars characters have the shortest amount of time between their first movie and getting their feet in cement at the theater. The date on their cement block is August 3, 1977- which is LESS THAN THREE MONTHS after Star Wars debuted! How would you like to get your footprints in cement at the theater less than three months after you debuted as a movie star? Not too shabby, boys. It’s quite a testament to how popular the film was at that time.
It was a fun visit - I’d recommend you to go early, and be aware that you’ll be ambushed by several people who want to give you a tour of the town. You can view a few of the classic prints in cement on my Flickr page:
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE: I picked up a copy of Fantastic Four 400 at a flea market recently, and got a real kick out of it. It was a fun read, and it immediately brought me up to speed (well, at least more up to speed) on what has been going on in the comic. Reed is dead. Reed’s dad has taken his place. Ben has a weird face deformity going on. I‘m sure he doesn‘t sweat it too much. Dr. Doom’s son Kristoff has taken Doom’s place. Johnny is apparently getting over a bad relationship. Susan is trying to get over Reed’s death. The Watcher has been demoted to the laughingstock watcher. In spite of these significant changes, things are pretty much the same for the FF. The comic broke ground in that it was one of the first to present the characters as “real people” with personal issues that affected their work. Those personal issues remain an important part of the comic, and hopefully always will.
More about my thoughts on comic books here:
LET’S ROB SAN DIEGO: Now look, folks. I’ve got nothing (major) against Los Angeles. It’s a fine town. But coming from San Diego, I have a few concerns. First there are rumors that the San Diego Chargers will move up to the L.A. area. That would leave San Diego without a football team and the possible demise of Qualcomm Stadium into housing tracts. NOW there’s a rumor that the Comic-Con will be moving to Los Angeles! Please folks, one crime at a time. Give San Diego a bone, here. I know L.A. is trying to be the big “hub” of entertainment, but it’s not fair to say that ALL entertainment has to take place in L.A. Keeping the Comic-Con in San Diego is no big loss to L.A., and based on the Comic-Con’s past success, keeping it in San Diego won’t prevent the fans from coming to visit. My only fear is that somehow, the Comic-Con suits will smell more money by moving to L.A. Their gain will be San Diego’s loss. That could be what the folks in charge of the Chargers are going through as well. But when talking about L.A., anyone who lives in San Diego will tell you- bigger isn’t always better. If they do move to L.A., it will be for the money.
Come to think of it, that’s why I moved to L.A. . .