Seeing Stars In North Hollywood
Sure, I’ve lived in Southern California for 60 years, but doesn’t mean I’ve seen everything (or even heard of everything). A few of these places are only a few miles from where I work. Such was the case with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza (until today) located in an almost secretive place off Lankershim Boulevard (near the corner of Magnolia) in North Hollywood. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza features bronze sculptures, bas-reliefs and wall sculptures depicting television pioneers who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The plaza is tucked away in a larger center behind the Landmark Entertainment Group Building. It is the only physical representation of the Television Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame began in 1984, and the plaza was created in May 1991.
Continuing my “Statue Walk,” I ran into Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz.
As I strolled toward the back wall, there was Sheldon Leonard, producer of one of my all-time favorite television shows, I Spy. He was also the bartender giving out angels in It’s A Wonderful Life.
I soon was in the midst of past a cavalcade of famous television personalities like the late Dick Clark, host of American Bandstand and Betty White, a Golden Girl who is still going strong.
Talk show host Merv Griffin was not forgotten.
The plaza is dotted with statues…
…and also with bas-reliefs like the one of the original Tonight Show host, Steve Allen, and the great comedy duo, George Burns and Gracie Allen.
There is another relief of The Muppet crew including Jim Henson, Big Bird, Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Oscar The Grouch, Rowlf The Dog and Gonzo. It was dedicated in 2005.
The animation was highlighted with a relief of Hanna-Barbera (William Hanna and Joseph Barbera with Fred Flintstone and Yogi Bear looking down at them.
There’s an interesting trifecta with busts of Vivian Vance (Ethel Mertz) and William Frawley (Fred Mertz) flanking Carol Burnett.
There was a wall full of plaques with a peaceful waterfall in the middle.
Next up were two comedy giants, Jack Benny, and Jackie Gleason.
Oh, another genius of comedy and music wasn’t too far away, Dick Van Dyke.
Then it was time to visit the far corner of the plaza where I saw All In The Family stars Jean Stapleton and Carroll O’Connor.
Finally, as I was about to leave the neighborhood, I saw a painting of Mr. Rogers gracing a small garden.
All in all, I spent about 45 minutes wandering around, but you could spend a lot more time trying to find your favorite star, newsman or writer, whether it be Bill Cosby, Walter Cronkite, Bob Hope, Rod Serling or dozens more. One more good thing…it’s free.
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza
5220 Lankershim Boulevard • North Hollywood, CA
2.8 miles (10 minutes) from Universal Studios (straight up Lankershim)