Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Path to the Walk of Fame (part 1)


One more post about Brian Keith, and a bit about how he came to achieve a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  It started like this . . .

Way back in 2004, I was dealing with a minor illness that had me off work for several weeks.  If you’ve ever been confined to your home for any amount of time, you know it can eventually make you go a little crazy.  Even for someone like me, who would use any excuse to get to watch a bunch of TV, it can get pretty bad.  And, since I’m not much of a fan of soap operas, infomercials, or drama-filled talk shows, daytime television didn’t really do all that much for me.  So I did what any television fanatic would do:  rummaged around my stash of old VHS tapes until I found something to occupy my time.

As it turns out, one of the things I dug out of that stash, was a tape (several, actually) of old episodes of Hardcastle and McCormick.  Now, remember, this was 2004, and H&M had gone off the air in 1986, so when I say “old episodes”, I’m not lying about the “old” bit.  Anyway, I had the show recorded because I always loved it, and because back in the day, I recorded a lot of stuff.  It’s like I knew I’d need to entertain myself some day.  The point is, I loved the show when it was on first run, still loved it when it was syndicated to the cable networks, and loved it still when I pulled out the VHS tapes in 2004.

Watching the show again after so many years made me wonder if there were any other fans around anywhere, so I got on the computer and browsed around a bit.  That ultimately led me to a Yahoo! group dedicated to the show.  Imagine my delight when I realized there were other people out there who still enjoyed a program that had faded into the sunset almost twenty years earlier.  Of course I joined up. I met some wonderful people there, and it was great fun, immersing myself in the small by excited fandom.

Flash forward just a little over two years, it’s May of 2006 (the ladies who would become my two best Hardcastle friends had joined by now) and we’re scheming and planning about how we could put together a convention devoted to the many programs of Stephen J. Cannell.  Sure, it was a crazy huge idea, requiring more details and planning than we could ever have understood, but one of my only regrets about pursuing the star was that we completely set aside the convention idea somewhere along the way.  But, in the midst of these planning conversations, someone posted a comment that neither Brian Keith nor Daniel Hugh Kelly had a star out in Hollywood, and wouldn’t it be great if we could spearhead a campaign to get that situation rectified.  Oh, and by the way, in addition to applications and finagling and such, let’s not forget that once someone was selected for a star, there was a $15,000 fee.  If we were going to do this thing, we had some serious fundraising in our futures. 

Well, as it turned out, we decided we weren’t going to let a measly fifteen grand keep us from going after what we wanted.  After all, Brian Keith had been an actor a really long time, and he was the first reason a lot of us even tuned into Hardcastle and McCormick to begin with.   Surely we wouldn’t be the only ones who thought he deserved a star.  And, ultimately, we were not . . .

Okay, it’s almost midnight, and (as usual) I am wiped out.  I can barely keep my eyes open, so I’ve got to head off to bed.  More on the strange process of getting a star on the Walk of Fame tomorrow. (See part 2.)