Hollywood Walk of Fame

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The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a mainstream promotional institution. It was originally created in the 1950's to encourage redevelopment of Hollywood Boulevard in California by honoring celebrities, but later became a symbol of validation, public relations, popularity, and marketing.

The honor came in the form of having a star embedded in the sidewalk.

Visiting a star for some fans is a pilgrimage and symbol of their devotion. Some fans show respect for star recipients by laying flowers or other symbolic tributes at the site. Having one's photo taken with the embedded star is also popular.

In the 1980s, the cost of having a star installed was about $2,500-3,000. [1] In 2020, that cost was $50,000. [2] This cost is paid by the nominating organization, which may be a fan club, film studio, record company, or broadcaster.

For more, see Wikipedia.

Hurt Feelings, Political Clout, Over-Reach, and General Strife

For some fans, the lack of a star for their favorite celebrity was felt to be a slight, and procuring a star was an homage and proof of fealty. There are many instances of fans, either singly or banding together, to promote a star by raising funds. It was an activity that was sometimes fraught with politics and hurt feelings.

In 1982, a fan said she was not in favor of a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame for anyone:
it really disturbs me to see this movement to put a "star on Hollywood Blvd" for William Shatner. Who really needs it? Does Mr. Shatner? If so, let him put up the $2,500 - he has it. In all fairness to him, I doubt (maybe this is wishful thinking) that his life will change one way or another. If he is so anxious to see work done for charity, surely he'd rather have a little plaque above some Humane Society saying his fans personally spayed 100 female dogs, or took care of the tuition for 1 blind kid. I could go on and on, but surely you get the point. I feel the same way about our other Star Trek stars. [3]
Another fan in 1982 wrote about how in-fighting and politics (some of which was about the fan campaign for William Shatner's star) helped bring down a fan club:
I was very sad to see WS's fan club fold. I think many of you fans quit for insignificant reasons and that helped the club go down the drain. I hope you are proud of yourselves. I won't mention any names, you know who you are. I didn't agree with everything said in the club newsletters, but I didn't quit... How dare you criticize us Shatner fans for wanting to pay for a STAR on Hollywood Blvd. We are doing it because we admire Bill and respect him and love him. It is a gift of love, and you do not ask someone to pay for a gift, even if he does have the money. You obviously are not a WS fan or you would already know he gives a great deal of money and time to charities, etc. I think it would be very nice to see his name on Hollywood Blvd., a gift from his fans. [4]
In 1984, a fan wrote:
We heard that George Takei fans are raising money in a desperate bid to leap onto the "Buy-a-Star-For-Your-ST-Hero-Today bandwagon. Yes, Mr Takei is joining Shatner, Nimoy, presumably Roddenberry and the 1790 ether people on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for the bargain-basement cost of only $3000! Get yours today! [5]

Fannish Strife and the Harrison Ford Star

a 1983 letter and boost printed in Rogue's Gallery #12
a 1984 flyer requesting money from fans for Harrison Ford, printed in Flip of a Coin #3

The star for Harrison Ford ran into issues regarding fan relations.

Ford was notoriously prickly about fan clubs and organized fandom. Several fans were given the go-ahead by Ford's agent, but this agreement appears to have been made a bit on the sly, as the agent did not want Ford to know she had any sort of hand in it, instead wanting the campaign to appear 100% organic. When wires got crossed, this caused some problems.

In August 1983, the editor of Rogue's Gallery, boosted a fan's plan:

Harrison Ford fans can put a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame with a yes vote from the Walk of Fame Committee and the star's cost of $3,000. What we must do is raise it's cost.

Ruth Scott of San Antonio, Texas and Becky Novak of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida initiated the idea, contacting both the Walk of Fame Committee and Harrison's personal agent Pat McQueeney. Ruth Scott has all the necessary paperwork ready because Ms. McQueeney assured her that Mr. Ford would be pleased since it would be coming from his fans. This editor has contacted all the parties evolved [sic] including the agency for confirmation and this editor has been assured the idea will be acceptable to Mr. Ford.

Ruth Scott has informed this editor Harrison will be able to choose the star's location if he wishes, and he will set the date for it's placement when he must be present. These are the rules of the Walk of Fame Committee which will become binding upon their yes vote. If they do not vote affirmative the first time, his name will be resubmitted until it is. This editor has no doubt that Harrison will be accepted. At that time the $3,000 must be available to the committee.

Ruth Scott has opened a special savings account for the donations.

[snipped]

This notice is a call to all Harrison Ford fans. What can you contribute? Any amount—fifty cents to a thousand dollars--is welcome. Overseas fans should send money orders negotiable in the USA. We've all expressed our fandom as individuals in many ways. Now let us express our fandom collectively and put Harrison's name on Hollywood's Walk of Fame! This editor can't think of a better way to show him our appreciation than by making his name a permanent addition to Hollywood's archaeological digs.

Every donation will get a letter from Ruth Scott with your name, address, and amount given recorded for future reference in case that individual

would want their money returned. Any amount collected over the $3,000 will be sent to the charity of Harrison's choice. Your name will then be placed on a scroll to be presented to Harrison Ford later.
from an update in Rogue's Gallery #24, in 1986, the fan campaign for Ford's star was still plugging along

As of February 5, 1985, "the Star Fund as reported by Ruth Scott [stood] at $1,600.50 collected from 113 people." [6]

As of August 1986, the fund drive stood at $1,900.58. According to Ruth Scott, the campaign's organizer, the recent rise of the star from $3,000 to $3,500 would not affect Ford's star, as it was planned before the price adjustment. [7]

In 1987, Ruth Scott, wrote:
I've run into a problem with the Star Fund for Harrison Ford and wanted to tell you about it because you've always been so supportive of the effort. Pat McQueeney, Harrison's manager wanted to clarify that the fund was started solely by Becky Novak and I, and that no way was she soliciting funds for it, to make it clear that it was a fan effort. I don't know why she felt it was necessary but nevertheless she wrote to Joann Emerson of ROGUE'S GALLERY stating that the idea was mine. Joann evidently printed it with or without comment. Anyway, the feedback has been totally negative. I have always claimed Pat McQueeney has known about the Star Fund, which she does, and the Walk of Fame Committee notified both she and I when Harrison's nomination was accepted on July 8, 1985, and that there was no objection from Pat concerning the effort to obtain a star for Harrison. There is no objection from Pat. She simply doesn't want anyone to think she's soliciting funds for it because cause Harrison wouldn't approve of her doing that. She wants the star to come totally from his fans. Anyway, people have written to me asking for their money to be returned, some of them stating that they believe I've spent it on Lord knows what, rather than the fund. I'm sending refunds back, of course, with a copy of the notification of acceptance and, as much as I can, ignoring the personal slander. Joann will not let me make any statement in her publication, so I am left high and dry. All I ever wanted to do was honor Harrison with a star that he has earned and deserved. I still feel Harrison deserves it and, though it is meaning all this nasty mail, I am not giving up, no matter how much people pull out. I know there have to be others out there who want this for him as much as I do, especially after his brilliant performance in MOSQUITO COAST. [8]
Perhaps this all could have been avoided. In 1981, Ford mentioned that when he began acting, there was another actor called Harrison Ford, and Ford thought about using the name Harrison J. Ford to differentiate the two. Ford was quoted as saying:
Finally, I learned the old man had passed on," said Ford. "So I called SAG and told them I was dropping the J. They said they had no record of [the original Harrison Ford] dying but I went ahead and dropped it anyway... The old man has a star on Hollywood Boulevard -- did you know? There it is. Harrison Ford. So if they ever decide to give me one, they can save themselves a lot of trouble and expense. I rather like the idea of using his. [9] [10]

The Star as a Sign of Fealty and Homage

The January/February 1985 issue of Empathy News reprinted an article an article from "Variety" about Gene Roddenberry's Hollywood Star with an accompanying letter by Roddenberry's personal assistant, Susan Sackett, asking for money that she has already spent:
Dear Friends. At last—the dream is coming true! When I submitted Gene's name in nomination for a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame almost a year ago, I was told that there would be a long wait. Therefore, I vowed that I would personally put up the $3,000 needed if his Star were approved before I had a chance to collect from his fans. Now it seems a virtual certainty that Gene Will be receiving his well-deserved Star some time in 1985. We're all aware that without Gene Roddenberry there would have been NO STAR TREK, no Mr. Spock, no Captain Kirk, no USS Enterprise. His mind created the spark that ignited life in our beloved programme and its characters. NOW IS THE TIME TO SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION! Let's get behind Gene's own Star Trek! If only 3000 fans each send $1.00, we'll have the full cost of his Star. Please be sure to include your name and address with any contribution you send. This is important for two reasons. When Gene receives his Star, we'll be giving him a giant card with the names of alt donors on it. Also, in the remote chance that the Star is not approved (not likely, however), we will want to return your money. Any money collected in excess of the $3.000 will be donated to a charity of Gene's choosing. And once the $3.000 goal is reached, we'll be sending out the word. Please send your contributions (payable to GR STAR) to: GR STAR P.O. Box 3168 North Hollywood California 91609 U.S.A. With thanks and appreciation for your help. Live Long and Prosper! Susan Sackett. Assistant to Gene Roddenberry. (Donations can be made in Sterling, but please remember that a proportion will be used to convert the currency)

From the Quantum Leap zine Green Eggs and Ham #1 (1991):

Donations to buy Dean Stockwell a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is progressing nicely. It shows how committed the man is to his cause when he said that only money coming from recycling could be donated. Those donating the most will receive Quantum Leap cast jackets. Remember, many recycling centers don't give receipts, so this is all on the honor system. But just writing out a check for $200.00 isn't going to do anyone any good, so get out there and start picking up those cans! Send donations to Christina Movroudis. I don't have her address handy, but ask around. Someone will know it. Donations accepted until May 1, 1991.

Personal Sacrifice

Some fans could personally afford to support these promotional activities, both by donating to the fund, and by showing up at the presentation ceremony. And other fans could not.

In 1985, a fan described Susan Sackett's "handsome, gold-lettered invitation" to attend the ceremony in California to attend the dedication of Gene Roddenberry's Hollywood Walk of Fame star. The editor of the zine said:
A number of members are planning to fly out for the ceremony (and I expect a full report for the next newsletter, guys!) THANK YOU, SUSAN SACKETT, for remembering us! We Trek fans will no doubt give Gene one of the most memorable moments of his entire life. [11]
In 1989, DeForest Kelley got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the editor told club members:
So everyone start those diets and saving money for the big trip. We're going to have a grand ol' time for this event. [12]
In 1991, a fan, Mysti Frank, responded to another fan:

(I live close enough to drive to Hollywood to see him get a star on the Walk of Fame on Leap Day, 1992! Yay!)

(-I'm green with envy; I missed this! My accountant said I could go see Dean or pay my rent and eat for the next three months. It was a hard choice...- MF) [13]

Some Specific Fan Fund-Raising Projects

Fans of Brian Keith and specifically Hardcastle and McCormick raised funds for Keith's star via the creation and sale of zines:

References

  1. ^ numerous comments in Interstat, also cited in a flyer for Harrison Ford printed in Flip of a Coin #3
  2. ^ Wikipedia
  3. ^ Interstat #53 (1982)
  4. ^ Interstat #55 (1982)
  5. ^ from Constellation #1
  6. ^ as was reported in Rogue's Gallery #18
  7. ^ as reported in "Rogue's Gallery" #24 (September 1986)
  8. ^ from Southern Enclave #15
  9. ^ from the L.A. Times, September 6, 1981
  10. ^ A fan in Rogue's Gallery #13 mentions this star for the "first" Harrison Ford is "located in front of the Musso S Frank-Restaurant, between Las Palmas and Chero"
  11. ^ from Communications Console (September/October 1985)
  12. ^ The DeForest Dispatch #21 (1989)
  13. ^ from Green Eggs and Ham #1 (1991)