“What do you mean no one knows who I am anymore? I got a star on the Walk of Fame, dammit!”
Last week, we posted an article about famous celebrities who have a star on the Walk of Fame that maybe, just maybe, proved that getting a star has less to do with your achievements and more to do with your willingness to find someone to spend $40,000 on the damn thing. But despite the amount of shit we gave Bobby Flay for his Hollywood star, all the people included in our first article were at least some amount of famous to today’s culture.
But Hollywood has been around for a while, and let’s just say that not all the stars on the Walk of Fame have aged particularly gracefully. So for our second Hollywood Walk of Fame article, we will focus on people who, sure, may have been big deals a half century ago, but now simply elicit blank stares of, “…Who?” when we come across their name today. Consider this, we don’t know, a history lesson or something.
An Incomplete List of Every Strange, Surprising, or Altogether Weird Names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Part 2- Much, Much, Much Less Famous, but Equally Confusing Entries)
Dead End Kids
We thought this might have been a mid-00s Indie Rock outfit or something, but we were thinking of the Cold War Kids. So apparently the Dead End Kids were a group of young New York actors who were in a play called Dead End, which told the story of a group of fourteen children growing upon the mean streets or whatever. When the rights to the play were purchased by some Hollywood types, they decided to bring six of the kids from the play over to Los Angeles, and sign them to a film contract. Now, keep in mind, this was the 1930s, so the concept of shipping out six “street tough” actors from New York to Los Angeles to act in various films under the single billing of “The Dead End Kids” was…pretty much par for the course.
While filming the adaptation of Dead End, which starred Humphrey Bogart (someone who actually deserves to have a star), the actors in the Dead End Kids (who, we should note, literally are all listed as one collective actor on IMDB) caused so much damage on the production set (including, lol, crashing a truck into a sound stage) their contract was sold off to Warner Brothers, with whom they made six films (including two under the embarrassingly bad name “The Crime School Kids”) before being again released from their contract because they couldn’t stop breaking shit on set.
From 1938 to 1943, (most of) The Dead End Kids continued to make films under the name the Little Tough Guys. Their career lasted until 1958, during which time they made 89 movies under such additional names as The East Side Kids (from 1940-1945) and The Bowery Boys (from 1946-1958). Listen, we’re not saying they didn’t put in the work, we’re just saying the only people who can change their names that often while actually staying famous are P Diddy and Prince. That’s the list, and the Dead End Kids definitely don’t make it.
Fibber McGee and Molly
So first of all, Fibber McGee and Molly sounds like the kind of name you’d come up with if you were a hack writer on a deadline trying to come up with a joke-sounding fake name for a radio show airing from the 1930s to the 1950s. Like, their name isn’t even trying. And look at them. We’re like 50% sure that these guys wrote for our 1950’s predecessor, The Informative American. But yes, they were a popular radio series on the NBC Red Network, and they were kind of a big deal…like, in 1948.
Here’s the thing. There are a lot of radio personalities that have a star on the Walk of Fame. Almost none of them are common household names. Does anyone outside of California really know who “Shotgun Tom” Kelly is? Hell no, but he’s got a star as well. That said, Fibber McGee and Molly make this list because they are radio stars that entertainment history has largely forgotten, but also because, like, their name is Fibber McGee and Molly. Were you wondering why the picture we have of their star is so blurry? Because that was literally the only picture of their star we could find. Even the Internet is like, “Wait, these guys were an actual thing?”
This one isn’t a weird name or anything, but we just had to include him because he might very well be the least consequential person who has a star on this list. Google had nothing on him. We had to do a fucking deep dive on this guy, and all we ended up with was, well, this super short 50 word article. Apparently he was a radio host in LA from 1965 until 1993, but that’s all you can find about him. The guy has less of an internet footprint than you. Yes, you fellow reader can find more actionable information googling your name than you’d get trying to find anything about Johnny Hayes. He doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page, but he’s got a Walk of Fame star. The fuck?
This is the third entry in a row where the person is so obscure that the only picture of their Hollywood star is roughly six pixels large and looks like 1998 Altavista when blown up for this article. Although this has the benefit of the charmingly absurd name, Hoot Gibson, which is just, the best name. The best thing about early Hollywood nicknames is that no one thought, “Like, will this name seem stupid in 50 years?” Granted, we’ve got our fair share of Ke$has and like 17 rappers with the first name of A$AP so we probably don’t’ have much of a leg to stand from, but still. Hoot Gibson. Like, if a naïve farm boy accent could have a name, it would be Hoot Gibson.
Hoot (or Edmund, his actual name we imagine he wished he was called) was a rodeo champion who transitioned to being a popular cowboy film actor back in the early days of American cinema. When he was working as a biking messenger for the Owl Drug Company, he was given the nickname of Hoot Owl, which got shortened to Hoot as time goes on, which again proves that back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries people were impressively weird and lazy with their nickname selections. Anyway, he was given his star in 1960, so pretty much right when the Walk of Fame opened (and likely before you had to pay $40,000 for the honor) so now thousands of tourists can walk by every day and think to themselves, “Who the heck is Hoot Gibson, is that a character from Hee Haw or something?”
We could only find one picture of this star anywhere, but it was all watermarked and asking us to pay $50 dollars for it, and we were like, fuck that, but also, don’t sue us, we’ll link to your rip-off stock photo page just to prove that yes, this star exists, and yes it looks as absurd as you’d expect. But yeah, when we saw that Parkyakarkus was someone who had a star on the Walk of Fame, our response was…
Like…huh? So, apparently he was a comedian and character actor named Harry Einstein who often went by the pseudonym of Parkyakarkus, because, and keep in mind comedy in the 30s was weird, he was a specialist in Greek dialect comedy (which was…popular at some point in history apparently?) and would go on Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson radio programs as a chef named Nick Parkyakarkus. Now, there are a few interesting things about Harry Einstein (other than the fact that Paryakarkus is an insanely obscure and strange name to have on the Hollywood Walk of Fame) that we just want to point out, so this entry isn’t just “lol what a silly fake-Greek name we still can’t pronounce correctly on our first attempt.”
First of all, he was Albert Brooks’ dad. That’s kind of interesting. Also interesting (and crazy) is that he literally died on stage giving a roast. In 1958, he did a roast of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and when he was done, Art Linkletter, who was the emcee for the roast, said, “Every time he finishes, I ask myself, why isn’t he on the air in a prime time?” Einstein responded by saying, “Yeah! How come?” and then, BAM, he slumped over having suffered a heart attack. Milton Berle shouted, “Is there a doctor in the house!” and people initially, for just a second, assumed it was all a gag. He died of a heart attack and people were thinking it was a joke! That’s insane, kind of sad, and kind of darkly funny all at the same time. Either way, there are worse ways for a comic to go? Just for that, we’ll let him keep his silly Parkyakarkus star on the street.
*lawyer rushes up and whispers in our ear*
Well apparently we have absolutely no authority to remove someone’s Hollywood star in the first place, so that last sentence means nothing. Whatever, we’re still letting him keep it.
What is it with random long one-word European names that begin with the letter P that leads to them getting stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? So Paderewski is Ignacy Jan Paderewski, who was a “famous” pianist and composer, as far as a late 19th and early 20th century piano player can be. Like, have you heard of him? Okay, for those who answered yes, answer this—are you like, super Polish, or super into classical music? Because in that case, you might know him—he was a world-famous concert pianist during his time (literally 100 years ago) and he , super randomly, was one of the first Prime Ministers of Poland for 10 months in 1919.
But like…literally his whole thing was “good at piano” and “played an important role in helping Poland achieve independence” which is pretty impressive and admirable, but we think he’d be better served with a movie about him than with a star on the Walk of Fame. He’s no movie star, you know?
Anyway, join us next time for part 3 of our Hollywood series, which is just a bunch of silly names we found that made us laugh. Because we are very easily amused.