For the record, I highly recommend playing tourist in the place you grew up. Since Reid had never really experienced LA, I trotted him around everywhere - Griffith Park, Farmer's Market, Hollywood Blvd., Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach ... and so on.
He'd requested a brief stop at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. It seemed like the cheesiest touristy thing we could do but it ended up being a real highlight for me, the person who had driven past it so many times without ever stopping.
For one thing, all those footprints, handprints and scrawled-in-cement autographs? I hadn't realized that the great majority of them are from Old Hollywood. We're talking John Wayne, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable and Cary Grant. There's a smattering of newer folks, like Johnny Depp, but it's the Barrymores and the Pickfords who rule these hallowed grounds.
As a result, I experienced a giant, squishy pang of love for the place. Here were carloads - nay, busloads! - of modern-day tourists who probably hadn't heard of these stars of yesteryear. I heard one teenager say aloud: "Who is Bette Davis?"
Honestly, I could have stayed there all day. Reid took a photo of me putting my hands into Carole Lombard's tiny handprints. Perfect fit. Since she was so glamorous, ballsy and funny, she's kinda my hero. (That's her at right.) That she was married to Clark Gable and died in a plane crash while on a USO tour during WWII only cements (ha!) her place in my heart.
My favorite Grauman's moment was watching a little boy gingerly put his hands into the tiny imprints of Shirley Temple. Did he know who she was? Had he ever seen her films or her tap dancing? Probably not. But in the simplest of ways, it was the seamless melding of two eras - no technology needed.