Agent J and I are back from L.A., not too much worse for wear — Jonathan had it worse than I did, as he flew in Wednesday morning to make the afternoon meeting, then took the red eye back that same night. But I’m Mister Can’t Sleep On the Plane, so I opted to stay one more night and return yesterday instead. And given the three hour time change, an L.A.-D.C. flight takes up the better part of a day.
As for our meeting . . . well, it went about as well as we could have hoped, and made for an incredibly memorable day — which I’ll tell you all about as soon as we know whether we have anything to announce. And maybe even if we don’t.
I did manage to take in a few of the sights. As I had hoped, I made it to Grauman’s Theatre — which, you can see, I pretty much had all to myself:
The place was vacant for two reasons: first, I woke up Wednesday morning on Maryland time — meaning 6:30 a.m. East Coast time, which was 3:30 a.m. locally. I tried to go back to bed, but after tossing for a while, finally got up and went walking. So I arrived at Grauman’s at 7:00 a.m., well before pretty much anyone except me and a tourist from Denmark, who asked me for directions. Plus, it was starting to rain, which sent even the early risers heading for the cover of nearby coffee shops and bakeries.
Now, understand that when I left D.C., it was 14 degrees out with snow on the ground — so 55 degrees and rainy seemed positively tropical and certainly wasn’t enough to keep me inside. I spent most of my morning, then, pacing up and down Hollywood and Vine, leaping over the enormous gushing rivers of rainwater at flooded intersections, with my head down, looking at the stars on the Walk of Fame.
I’m guessing the stars must be movable, because the area in front of Grauman’s contains stars for today’s more iconic celebrities like Robin Williams, Clint Eastwood, and Whoopi Goldberg. So if you want to find the old Hollywood legends, you’ve got to work your way up and down several miles of city blocks. (And I’ll give you a bit of practical advice: it’s really hard to walk on wet marble sidewalks with heeled cowboy boots. Trust me on this one.)
Stargazing can be a shock to your system. Rock Hudson’s star, for example, sits in front of a vacant lot. Valentino’s is on the way into a record store, Reagan’s in front of a nondescript apartment building. It’s almost as if the old timers have been discarded or relegated to the cheap seats. It also makes for some odd juxtapostions when you find, for example, Groucho Marx’s star three steps away from Tony Orlando’s, or Al Jolson’s sitting next to Loretta Swit’s.
There are other moments, however, that are oddly satisfying. Bela Lugosi’s sits on a prime bit of real estate at the corner of a major intersection (and I’m sure he’d be delighted to know I never found Boris Karloff’s). Rodney Dangerfield’s has a disrespectful divot in it. Carl Reiner’s is two steps away from his son Rob’s. I was thrilled to see there are still stars for folks like Fatty Arbuckle and Mabel Normand, and I officially called it a morning when I finally ran across this one:
That was well worth a walk in the rain.