Seeing Stars: Where the Stars are Immortalized

The Gene Autry Statues
   There are two different statues dedicated to singing cowboy Gene Autry:

  • The first statue is inside the gates of Anaheim Stadium (now called "Edison International Field"), located at the NE corner of State College Drive & Orangewood in Anaheim (a few miles southeast of Disneyland). Gene Autry founded the California Angels baseball team (now named the Anaheim Angels.) He eventually sold the team to the Walk Disney company, which erected a life-size bronze statue of Gene in the gardens of the baseball park. It's located just to the west of the main gate. Gene stands, cowboy hat in one hand, his other hand extended as if to shake hands. And indeed, many fans do indeed shake the statue's hand!

  • The second Gene Autry statue is outside the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage, located across the street from the Los Angeles Zoo, at 4700 Western Heritage Way, in Griffith Park. This outstanding statue of Gene is larger-than-life. The singing cowboy sits strumming his guitar, next to his horse Champion.

    The Jimmy Stewart Flagpole:

    In 1998, a year after the death of beloved actor Jimmy Stewart ("It's A Wonderful Life," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "The Philadelphia Story"), the city unveiled a monument to Mr. Stewart in Griffith Park, where Jimmy hosted his annual Jimmy Stewart Marathon. The monument consists of a 25-foot flagpole, atop a rock pedestal, with a plaque praising the actor. It was dedicated on what would have been Mr. Stewart's 90th birthday. In part, the plaque reads:

    "In honor of the great American whose humanity touched us all through his work as one of the favorite actors of our time."

    It's located off Crystal Springs Drive, near the main rangers' station, south of the Zoo, and just east of the merry-go-round.

    The Michael Jackson Mural:

    In 2010, a year after Michael Jackson's untimely death, artist Rudy Martinez created a 100'x30 foot purple mural of the gloved one, titled "MJ2010".

    You'll find it on the west-facing wall of the Graff Lab (a legal graffiti gallery). at 1038 Venice Blvd, in the Pico-Union district of Los Angeles. (That's a few blocks west of the Staples Center.)

    77 Sunset Strip:

    Remember the old TV series "77 Sunset Strip"?  If you do, you'll no doubt remember "Dino's Lodge," which was featured in the credits. It was an actual building, but it's gone now.

    However, a plaque on the sidewalk outside its former location notes that this was indeed the legendary "77 Sunset Strip."

    You'll find the plaque in front of the doorway to 8524 Sunset Blvd., in West Hollywood.

    The Laurel & Hardy Stairs:

    In the hilly Silverlake district (northwest of downtown L.A.), just south of Sunset Boulevard, you'll find a long outdoor staircase. This is where Laurel & Hardy struggled futilely to haul a heavy piano up all those steps, in their classic 1932 comedy "The Music Box." It was shot at 927 Vendome Street; just to the west of Silverlake Blvd (from Vendome up to Descanso Drive ). If you look carefully, you'll spot a memorial plaque in the sidewalk bearing images of the boys.

    A high school in the San Fernando Valley (formerly known as "West Granada High School") has been re-named Kirk Douglas High School in honor of the actor, whose foundation provided a $25,000 matching grant to the school. It marks the first time in history that L.A. school has been named for a living person, and Mr. Douglas himself showed up for the dedication. The school, re-named in 2000, is dedicated to helping bright students with problems, who are on the verge of dropping out. You'll find it at 10500 Lindley Ave., just north of Cal-State Northridge.

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Copyright  2014-Gary Wayne
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