Friday, February 20, 2009

Celebrity Footprints OC Style

Part of a continuing series of articles about interesting, unusual or underappreciated things Orange County has to offer. Click here for all Orange County articles.

One of the most iconic symbols of old Hollywood can be found on the cement just outside the historic Grauman's Chinese Theatre. I'm talking, of course, of the cement enshrined foot- and hand-prints of celebrities from the golden age. Did you know Orange County has its own collection of cement celebrity footprints?

Marcel Marceau
Marcel Marceau

The Orange County version can be found in Buena Park, CA, just outside the building that once housed the Movieland Wax Museum. Although Movieland Wax Museum shut its doors permanently in October 2005 (see my previous article discussing Movieland Wax Museum's final days), its collection of celebrity foot- and hand-prints is still accessible to anyone who wishes to see them.

Dorothy Lamour
Dorothy Lamour

Now before I continue, let me first warn you that the calibre of stars enshrined in Orange County is not exactly A-list. Don't expect to find Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, or Paul Newman there. But do expect to find the likes of Dudley Moore, Ray Charles or Liberace. My personal favorite is probably one of the smallest stars, both in terms of celebrity rank and stature: Herve Villechaize (aka "Tattoo" from Fantasy Island).

Herve Villechaize - Tattoo from Fantasy Island
Herve Villechaize - Tattoo from Fantasy Island

The other thing you'll notice is that the celebrities feel like they came straight out of an early 1980s time capsule. We've got people like Loni Anderson from WKRP Cincinnati, Jack Klugman from The Odd Couple and Quincy, M.D., and Lou Ferrigno from The Incredible Hulk TV series. In fact, looking at all those names, it seems the only thing missing is the cast of Barney Miller.

Ray Charles
Ray Charles

Although the collection seems a little dated, it's still pretty cool considering you can see it for free. When the Movieland Wax Museum closed, developers announced they would raze the building and replace it with "Movieland Plaza," a movie-themed retail center anchored by a Best Buy store. The retail center even planned to display some of the original wax stars in glass cases.

Eva Gabor
Eva Gabor

It's been more than three years, and there's still no sign of "Movieland Plaza." And with the current economic climate, I don't expect bulldozers any time soon. All that sits there now is the empty building, the iconic sign, and a Starbucks.

Vincent Price
Vincent Price

So the next time you're craving a venti non-fat, sugar-free vanilla latte and want to compare shoe sizes with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Tom Selleck or Gloria Estefan, you know where to go. Located at 7711 Beach Blvd. in Buena Park, CA. Ample free parking. For more pics, click here.

3 comments:

TIM said...

Hmmmm I prefer a Venti non-fat Chai Tea Latte!

Loren said...

Must. Go. Visit. Must. See. Eva. Gabor's. Footprints.

beastandbean said...

Sounds awesome! And thank God you clarified that you were talking about the Loni Anderson from "WKRP", for a second there I confused her with the dozens of other famous Loni Anderson's out there!

Whew... :)