Late Sunday night of the Oscars 2013 February
A few years ago, twenty five or so KDAL listeners trained and bussed our way from Chicago to California. It was a fantastic experience. Naturally, the folks were a great bunch, and we capped it off with a guided, behind stage tour of the Kodak Theatre. That was the named then, the home of the Oscars Live Ceremony. Kodak has given up that sponsorship now, and I heard Dolby has given it there name. I have some stories to pass along.
First, you cannot get into the theatre with out a pass….a very elite pass. You can’t even be on the Red Carpet without that pass. Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, rolled up to the front entrance and Hanks forgot his pass at the hotel. They wouldn’t let him in and that was final. He sent some guy hustling back to his room to retrieve it as Hanks stood out in front like a doofus. The television cameras were waiting for his entrance.
That long, wide balcony was specially designed to be extra wide with three foot stairs. That was to make sure those stunning gowns wouldn’t cause the ladies to trip and cause a local disaster.
Empty seats are filled instantly by college age men and women as soon as it gets vacated. How do they do it so quick? It’s simple. Potential Oscar winners are highlighted on a seating chart, so as they mosey up to the stage, someone fills their seat. The producers don’t want the TV cameras to show any empty seats.
After the Oscar is presented on stage, the winner gets hustled backstage for a quick photo and a quicker television interview. Then they take an elevator up two floors, passing by the many photos of past winners. From there, it’s off to a lavish dinner hosted by The Academy and the governor of California.
We were told that the silverware, dishes and cloths will never be used again. They get auctioned, we were told, later this year with proceeds going to help fund the awards ceremony.
The late Jackie Cooper has the honor of holding his Oscar statue longer than any other person. He won it at age seven, and died at age 86 in 2011. That’s 79 years with an Oscar on the mantel. Shirley Temple got a “special” Child Actor Award, which we were told, was different from Jackie’s. I think that’s splitting hairs, but that’s the way it went then.
One final thing, and it has nothing to do with the Oscars. It’s the names, handprints and footprints of stars in the sidewalk along nearby streets. You get nominated for the Hollywood Star, made of brass. You have to PAY for it yourself, something like $25,000 now….and start a fund to keep it clean and maintained. Our tour guide, when asked about popularity, said it varies every few years. Clark Gable is “out” now and John Wayne’s star visits are dwindling. Hanks, Monroe, Clooney, and Honey Boo Boo are on the rise. Ouch.
If you plan a visit to Los Angeles, see if you can book a tour of the Oscar Theatre and the Grauman Chinese Theatre. It’s expensive, but very ,very interesting. The building was erected back in1926 at 6931 Hollywood Blvd. Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were part owners back then. The footprints were started about the same time.