The day after Christmas most people get to lounge around like pythons digesting elephants.
But my friend Andy had a tourist on his hands. A tourist who, despite poo-pooing the idea of a visit to Disneyland (this was before I knew Andy helped design some of the rides) still wanted to see the Hollywood sign, Rodeo Drive, and other cheesy Los Angelean tourist attractions.
So, on Boxing Day, Andy took us to Rick’s Tacos in Pasadena (the sign says Bobby’s these days, but everyone knows it’s still really Rick’s), to fuel up for the serious sightseeing mission ahead.
Then we navigated onto the Parkway – once a mellow, winding road through genteel suburbia, now a crazy, narrow sidewinder that trucks shouldn’t dare to drive.
Thanks to caffeine, sugar, the Chevy Crossfire and Andy’s superior navigation skills, we were soon strolling along the pavement of Hollywood Boulevard, occasionally pausing to peruse the names on the stars we were stomping on.
Perhaps as a reaction to the really rather seedy surroundings – Hollywood Boulevard is a bit like Sea Point Main Road in the bad old days – a form of reverse snobbery overcame me, and I refused to pay any attention to the ‘famous’ names. Instead, I decided it was time a few unknowns had a brief (and all too obscure) revival on this blog.
Just after I ignored Robert de Niro, I saw a name that made me stop in my tracks and gasp. Could it be? Was it really her?
Not long afterwards, Andy stumbled upon (but not over) another of my childhood heroes…
Excited now that I’d found the stars of two of my favourite 80s TV shows, I started paying more attention to the pavement. Perhaps I might even glimpse Richard Dean Anderson or Tom Selleck (who, incidentally, made me think moustaches were extremely sexy, right up until I was 16 years old). Instead, I found a properly famous celebrity I thought I should photograph, just to be polite.
There were several excellent celebrity impersonators along the strip, including Darth Vader (my alter-ego) and Michael Jackson (convincing except for his lack of a bubble room) who would have allowed me to be photographed with them, for a fee. But the celebrities I eventually chose to have my photo taken with didn’t charge anything…
Then it was time to go in search of the Hollywood sign. Hollywood-Hillers get highly annoyed by tourists in search of the sign who park in their very narrow, winding roads and take stupid photos of one another. So, they do everything possible to discourage them, putting up lots of misleading signs saying ‘No access to sign’ at every junction. But Andy found a cunning way to an excellent viewpoint using an obscure website that published illicit directions.
Sure enough, a highly-annoyed Hollywood-Hiller-with-dog passed by and pointed pointedly at the big sign saying ‘No Stopping’ that we and another carful of high-heeled Koreans had stopped in front of and were gaily taking photographs next to. I smiled and shrugged. Honestly, what did he expect? If Hollywood knew anything about entertainment, they’d have sorted out a proper viewpoint yonks ago.