Visitors to Hollywood hoping for a classic photo-op pressing their hands into the prints of one of their favorite Hollywood luminaries may be a bit disappointed to discover that many of the iconic, concrete-preserved prints and celebrity signatures in the TCL Chinese Theatre courtyard have been covered over by another well-known Hollywood attraction: cheap souvenirs.
On Friday, the Vintage Los Angeles Facebook group posted a photo showing a rack of hats and t-shirts taking up a good-sized chunk of real estate next to Bette Davis’s handprints in the famous courtyard. As the post notes, the souvenir cart appears to be covering up the signatures of both Jean Harlow and Lana Turner.
The post has attracted an enormous amount of attention, garnering hundreds of comments from mostly outraged Facebook users. Soon after the picture was posted, a Change.org petition was created urging TCL Theatres, as well as the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, to take necessary steps to remove the carts from the forecourt. So far, it’s gotten more than 2,100 signatures.
At least one of the groups the petition targets has already made clear they aren’t too concerned about the issue. Historic Theatre Foundation Director Escott O. Norton took to Facebook to support the theatre’s decision to allow the souvenir stalls on site.
"I personally do not see it as the disaster that some are making it into," Norton said. "The Chinese Theatre is a business, not a museum, and whether one person or a million people walk into the Forecourt to take a selfie with their favorite star's footprints, they make no money to pay for insurance, maintenance, upkeep or improvements."
It's not clear how much theatre owner KLM Equities, Inc. stands to make renting space to the owners of the stalls, but perhaps the proceeds will help pay for the $15.6 million Tesla store the firm just acquired.
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