Maggie’s Hollywood ! !

Hollywood Sign

I recently returned from a 2-week vacation to the west coast.  One week was spent in California and the second week was spent in Las Vegas with a friend.  When I was in California I had the opportunity to do only  a very little star searching as I only spent a few hours in Los Angeles and Hollywood.  Hardly significant time to get the full effect.

I spent over an hour pacing up and down the sidewalk taking pictures of the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This is a list of all the starts I took.  The most important to me were of course The Monkees, Kermit, Jim Henson and the Muppets.  It was also neat to find all the stars for the cast of The Dick Van Dyke show (one of my all time favorites).

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Here is a full list of Walk of  Fame Stars that I took pictures of:

Hollywood Walk of Fame Stars

Halle Berry
Steven Spielberg
Harrison Ford
Donald Trump
Jerry Lewis
Jackie Chan
Gilda Radner
Edgar Bergen
Tony Curtis
Telly Savalas
Bert Lancaster
Jan & Mickey Rooney
Vivien Leigh
Ray Charles
BB King
Lindsay Wagner
Bing Crosby
Sally Field
Will Ferrell
Rosanne
Sammy Kaye
Eddie Cantor
Ingrid Bergman
Kermit
Mellisa Etheridge
William Shatner
Glenn Miller
The Munchkins
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Elton John
Jack Nicholson
Micky Mouse
Herb Alpert
Hugh Jackman
Paul Williams
Pen & Teller
Phyllis Diller
Bugs Bunny
Alfred Hitchcock
Dick Van Dyke
Randy Travis
Nicolas Cage
James Doohan
Charlie Sheen
Brooks & Dunn
Ricardo Montalban
Bob Hope
Big Bird
Patrick Stewart
Richard Dreyfuss
DeForest Kelley
Kelsey Grammer
Cindy Williams
Penny Marshall
Michael J. Fox
Mary Tyler Moore
The Simpsons
Charles M. Schulz
Walt Disney
John Denver
Ray Parker Jr.
Sidney Poitier
Rose Marie
Don Knotts
George & Ira Gershwin
Irving Berlin
Spanky McFarland
Elvis
The Beatles
Kiss
Clint Black
Etta James
Charles Champlin
New Kids On The Block
Stan Lee
Ethel Merman
Tom Hanks
Vivian Vance
Jerry Stiller & Anne Mera
Woody Woodpecker
Chuck Norris
Tony Danza
Lionel Hampton
Ted Turner
Alice Cooper
The Mills Brothers
Jean Harlow
Hans Zimmer
Burgess Meredith
Morey Amsterdam
Rod Serling
Ron Howard
The Muppets
Garry Marshall
Linda Evans
Ray Bolger
Steve McQueen
Danny Kaye
Winnie the Pooh
The Andrew Sisters
Spencer Tracy
Claudette Colbert
Ozzy Osboure
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Judy Garland
Adam West
Fred Astaire
Ella Fitzgerald
George M Cohan
Bob Barker
Ed Harris
Sylvester Stallone
James Cameron
Bob Eubanks
Herb Jeffries
George Burns
Gracie Allen
John Lithgow
Guy Lombardo
Burnett
Boris Karloff
Raymond Bur
Peter Falk
Errol Flynn
Jack Benny
Rip Taylor
Al Jolson
Frank Capra
Will Rogers
Jamie Lee Curtis
Mister Rogers
Dr. Seuss
Pee-Wee Herman
Orson Wells
Frank Sinatra
Alfred Hitchcock
James Cagney
Jim Henson
Perry Como
Nichelle Nichols
Tommy Dorsey
The Monkees
George Takei
Gene Roddenberry
Harry James
George Reeves
Betty White
Allen Ludden

I did visit Grouman’s Chinese Theater (now known as TCL Chinese Theather).  If given the opportunity I would have photographed all the prints and autographs in cement, but there were tons of other tourists milling about and their feet were covering much of what I wanted to photograph.  I felt kind of naive in that the first cement slab I wanted to find was John Wayne because of the famous I Love Lucy episode where she stole it and then tried several times to replace it.  To my slight disappointment…. John Wayne’s slab did not look like the one on Lucy.  I don’t know what I was thinking  🙂  Here’s a slide show of a sampling of stars

 

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The other bit of star gazing I did was actually in a cemetery.  I have visited cemeteries in the past as a vacation destination for Presidents (Washington, Lincoln, Fillmore, Wilson, Kennedy) and for historical figures (some local history, some general American history), but I had never been to a “celebrity” grave site before.  While Forest Lawn is the place most associated with Hollywood, I had no plans for that plot of land.  I wanted to “see”  and pay my respects to 2 pretty significant people in my life; and those being Richard Dawson and Bob Crane.  How fitting that they were both buried in the same place.  I’m a big planner when I go on vacation so I had a list of internment’s and a general idea of where they were located.

I started out at the top of the cemetery and began walking up and down the rows one by one.  The first gravestone I saw was for Don Knotts.  His had so many engraved pictures from his most memorable roles.  It read, “He saw the poignancy in people’s pride and pain and turned it into something hilarious and endearing.  He will always be Deptuy Fife to me.  ❤

I walked further and saw Mel Torme, Eva Gabor, Natalie Wood and Louis Jourdan before I found Bob Crane’s grave.  I had seen what the stone looked like on the internet before, but when it sneaks up on you like that, I was surely taken by surprise.  It was if I had actually been standing before him because just like other celebrities I got real nervous and quickly took a picture and moved on before I started crying.  His had a nice poem at the bottom. The stone was divided in two sections, his on the left and his last wife Sigrid Valdis on the right.

I found other memorials for Karl Malden, Walter Matthau, Merv Griffin, Rodney Dangerfield, Jack Lemmon, Carroll O’Connor (A favorite of mine), Peter Falk, Jim Backus (Mr. Howell !!!!) , Marilyn Monroe (fans kiss her grave stone leaving lipstick marks) and Jack Klugman (another one of my favorites).  I stood there perplexed that I couldn’t find what I was looking for.  I stepped under a tree and pulled out my phone to connect to the internet to try and figure out where Richard was placed.

All I had to work off of was a picture.  I could see a white building in the background, a sideways facing bench and 2 planted pots.  I felt like I was looking at a treasure map.  With those clues in hand I was about ready to put my phone in my pocket when I got a text message….. I’m sure I’ve mentioned (if you haven’t already heard it) that my text tone is Richard Dawson calling my name 3 times.

The entire time I was in the cemetery, there was a woman sitting next (and talking) to a grave at the very edge of the park so I had been courteous not to go over in that area.  (This cemetery has both regular and Hollywood graves)  I took my clues and headed in that near direction.  I found the bench, I saw the pots not far ahead.  And then two steps in front of me I found what I was looking for.

I knelt down in shock and before I knew it, my head was in my hands and I was sobbing.  It was like the reality of him not being here anymore had sunk in.  There was no one there to give me a kiss, hold my hand to  make me feel calm.  After a few minutes and leaving my own memorial, I stood up and did what I could to wipe my eyes and nose with my shirt.  I could see Bob from where I was standing and that made me smile so I walked back over there again with more confidence.  It was getting late in the morning, as I had a reservation to go horseback riding in the Hollywood hills so I had to leave.

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It wasn’t my intention, but on the last day of my vacation, a week later, I decided I had to come back one more time.  Not so much to find the other celebrities that I didn’t see the first time such as Dean Martin, but to say goodbye one more time.  This time I was able to walk directly over to Richard’s grave.  Bob’s was a bit more challenging as the sprinkler was on and despite my attempt to dodge it, I got soaked.

Here is a short montage of the photos I took at the cemetery

 

Charles Nelson Reilly

I love collecting autographs in person, but sometimes the autograph that I want is no longer obtainable so occasionally I will have to purchase them.  It’s always a challenge to figure out if what you are buying is authentic or not. 

This time I wanted to get Charles Nelson Reilly’s autograph.  At the time, when I searched Ebay a lot of what was available was pictures of him as Hoo Doo from his TV kids show, Lidsville.  I wanted a picture of him, but couldn’t find him so I went for the next best thing.  This is one of the more irregular autographs that I own.  

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I suppose anything could be faked these days, but I’m pretty sure this is authentic.  Because I’m so interested in autographs, even before I started searching for it, I would always watch his handwriting (as well as my other favorites like Richard Dawson) on the Match Game cards he wrote his answers down on.

In this screen shot you can see the capital F is the same as the check.

I haven’t put it together in a collage in my scrapbook yet, but when I do I’ll update this with a picture.  

Charles Nelson Reilly has been one of my favorite performers since I started watching the Match Game. Boy did he have some crazy outfits ! He was just so funny, even when he wasn’t picking on Brett.  If you haven’t seen Lidsville before, he’s a perfect villain.  You’ll have to watch it on YouTube or spend over 160 bucks on Ebay for the vhs tapes.  

Speaking of YouTube, his one man comedy show called The Life of Reilly is available to watch in segments.  He talks about his childhood and life. This is the best recording of it.  

 

 

Gaelic Storm

 

I have a sizeable autograph collection. So many that you’d think I’d be a pro at getting them in person without getting nervous or hysterical deafness. I guess just because of my naturally shy and quiet persona, whether I’m nervous or very calm, I just can’t seem to get it together when I’m standing in front of a famous person. So many things are running through my head and I can’t get them to connect to my mouth- and another opportunity is always lost.

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to meet my 2nd favorite music group, Gaelic Storm. (yea 2nd….sorry guys, but no one goes in front of The Monkees). They were performing all weekend at Milwaukee’s Irish Fest. I look forward to this weekend all year. Milwaukee has a lot of popular and fun ethnic festivals along the shore of Lake Michigan during the summer that I enjoy, but there’s something about being around “your people” that makes it more fun.   I’m 49% Irish with 1% French from one side of my family and the other is 49% Polish, 0.5% Russian, and 0.5% German. I love to hear all the bagpipes and tapping and seeing my favorite color green, eating the stereotypical potatoes and stew, tossing Wellies down the yard and dressing like Leprechauns.   All that being said, it’s not what drew me to Gaelic Storm.

Several years ago, I had purchased a new MP3 player and their song Scalliwag was pre-loaded on to it as sample music. I liked the song and decided to investigate the band some more and I’ve been hooked ever since. Gaelic Storm is Patrick Murphy, Steve Twigger, Peter Purvis, Ryan Lacey and Kiana Weber.

Last year, they came out with a new CD called “The Boathouse.” All of the songs are arrangements of traditional songs, except Watery Grave, which was written by Steven Twigger.  Available for purchase at live concerts and on gaelicstorm.com, this CD is part of their small batch sessions. The Boathouse was reportedly recorded in only a week in close to 14 hour sessions and was done in a makeshift studio on a friend’s boathouse in Maryland. Wonderful place for inspiration for this group of songs! Kiana writes more about the production of the CD here. http://kianajuneweber.com/the-boathouse/  

I truly like all of Gaelic Storm’s albums with their comedic lyrics and energetic instrumentals, but so far the Boathouse CD is my favorite. I have an inclination to pick out the songs they have about boats and sailing and pirates as my favorites.  (I love being by the water, so much so I’m even a submarine tour guide.)  Scattered throughout the band’s CD catalog, you can find similar songs that feel like they would fit in to that old time seafaring genre such as, Devil Down Below, Lover’s Wreck, Turn This Ship Around, Whichever Way The Wind Blows, and the afore mentioned Scalliwag just to name a few.

I was inspired by The Boathouse CD insert to put together a collage in a frame to get autographed. I worked hard the past two weeks on coming up with the perfect design, knowing that I had a deadline of this Saturday. I used my nautical rubber stamp collection and distressing techniques to create pieces that would complement the mounted CD insert. I chose a grey wood frame that reminded me of an old rotting boat. Also working on a time crunch I had to figure out which photographs I had taken from the concert the night before that I would print in sepia tone and also integrate into the collage. Being that I was not very close to the stage last night I spent the entire concert trying to get at least one photo of each of the band members that wasn’t blurry. (Hard task to complete when everyone is jumping around next to you)

With barely an hour to spare, I completed the collage and headed off to Irish Fest to get it autographed. When it was my turn in line and was standing in front of them, I wanted to tell them some of what I have said here, but I was just too nervous. I couldn’t even tell Steve how I had sort of made this with him in mind and had hoped he would like it. I think they did. It’s one of my favorite autographs, and I will always treasure it.  

Here are some close-up photos of the finished, autographed frame.

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William Shatner

Handwriting- a style in which characterizes a person.  It’s something uniquely theirs.  My own signature has changed over the years as I have taken a liking to the curve or straight lines of cursive letters which I have seen other people use.

Whatever the reason, I love collecting star autographs.  There’s something special about seeing your name being written in the moment on a piece of paper or photograph.  It’s transferring from the famous person’s brain to their hand, through the pen and forever onto the paper.  I see it as a fleeting moment in them that they are concentrating on you, making you special. That’s a lot to think about for the few seconds that the autograph is being created, so in reality, if you’re anything like me, you’re actually in a controlled hysteria causing you to stand there speechless; smiling like a fool before nervously walking away.

That reminds me of when I met William Shatner.  I’ve always been a Captain Kirk fan.  March 18, 2012 I got a chance to meet him in person.  He  bought his “It’s Shatner’s World and We Just Live In It” show to Milwaukee.  I chose to purchase the highest price ticket which would allow me to meet him backstage after the show.  Not to skip over the show and diminish how great it was (By the way I think it should be released on DVD I liked it so much), but this section is about autographs not shows.

I was very very nervous to even be in the same room with him.   Mr. Shatner was only going to be autographing posters from the show and nothing else in the way of Star Trek or other memorabilia.  We had our names written on a sticky note so he could personalize the poster and then pose for a picture.  This process would hopefully make the line run quickly and smoothly.  By the time it was my turn, the line may have been running too  smoothly and quickly.  I didn’t get to chat with Shat, but standing beside him was enough for me.  I posed for a nervous picture, took the autographed poster off of the table and began to take my first 2 steps away from the table when I heard him speak,

“Just hold on a minute. (pause)  Come back.”

It was like he had set phasers to stun and fired.  I was so afraid I had done something wrong as I turned to face him again.

“This poster is yours.  That guy before you walked away without his,” he explained.

I looked down and I was holding a poster made out with some man’s name on it.  Oh, Bill Shatner, if you hadn’t been paying such close attention, I may have had a useless souvenir on my wall right now.  I traded posters with Bill and thanked him.  He just nodded and went on to the next poster in front of him. I imagine if stars do this enough it does become quite mechanical.

This is one of my most prized autographs as I don’t think it’s that easy to get to meet William Shatner everyday.  Also the same reason why I paid so much. wpid-20140718_230559-1.jpg