imprinted memories

When I was a child my father replastered the path to our back door. In doing so he reclaimed the small rectangle that had been a sand pit for my brother and me. He used to tell the story of how I was upset by this so as a consolation prize I was allowed to leave my handprints in the wet cement just outside the garage. My brother got the less advantageous spot beside the laundry which I accidentally walked over before it dried properly.

Sid Grauman, the part owner of Hollywood Boulevard’s Chinese Theatre, had the inspired idea of getting movie stars to place their foot and handprints in the wet cement on the sidewalk outside it.

image found here

Grauman was one of early Hollywood’s great personalities. Legendary as a practical jokster, he once sent MGM’s Marcus Loew to address an audience at the Ambassador Hotel, only to discover afterward the room was filled with dummies borrowed from the nearby Hollywood Wax Museum.

On another occasion, Grauman staged a Chaplin look-alike contest with official judges, with Chaplin himself as a secret contestant (Chaplin lost).

image of Chaplin and Einstein found here

His most notorious practical joke was played upon director Ernst Lubitsch, who was frightened of flying. He hired two stuntmen dressed as pilots to run down the aisle and parachute from the plane on which Lubitsch was travelling.”

Parachutist found here


Published in: on February 15, 2010 at 7:08 am  Comments (31)  
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31 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Why was I expecting to read that you left two imprints, but not that of your hands or your feet?

    As brilliant and fascinating as ever.

    • jimmy! I was just a wee bairn then

  2. i have never seen the ‘Einstein/Chaplin’ photo, and it makes me smile. as does Jimmy’s comment! 🙂

  3. Well, there are at least two more Jeopardy questions I can now answer because of you. When I go on to win 100k, you’re getting a nice cut!

    • $5000 will do nicely thanks Scott

  4. Hands in cement; a sort of a precursor to photocopying one’s arse on the Xerox machine…..

  5. Was there a scuffle with you and your brother over damaging his hand prints?

  6. i had no idea that charlie chaplin was so suave/handsome… i’ve never seen a picture of him out of character… albert einstein used to be my hero when i was a physics freak… great pic, where do you find this stuff?? you might enjoy the new blog that i started on tumblr, my photographs will still be on it, tho in a smaller version, but there will be other things… i’ll change the address up there…

    • Your new tumblr is great Elaine

  7. In this country we put plaster on walls …… just sayin’

    • did I use the wrong terminology? Re-cemented sounds incorrect too. I dunno, he was a plasterer by trade and he plastered everything. I used to wake up on a Saturday morning to the sound of the cement mixer churning round and round and wonder what he was going to do next

  8. Chaplin was HOT – but true, some competition from Einstein’s mo’. I like the wax dummies prank: occasionally at work I get the feeling someone has played that prank on me …

  9. Ooh is that Yul Brynner on the right??? I love love him!

    No pictures of your handprint love???

  10. I think I’d like a wax dummy in my house.

    • Have you seen a photo of Stephen’s work “Dave”? He was standing near his kitchen for a while. So was Spiderman 🙂

      • Cool! I haven’t seen it. Can you show me please, Nursie?

      • Of course darlin’ I’ll show you on Sunday

  11. My sons’ handprints and footprints are imbedded in sidewalks throughout the neighbourhood – their childhood attempts for fame and immortality.
    Their history of practical jokes is pretty damn good, too.

  12. That was sweet… the idea of leaving your hand prints on the wet cement…

  13. I was quite good at getting plastered.

  14. I never realized Charlie Chaplin was that handsome!

  15. Damn, Bogart ain’t got shit on Chaplin in the suave department. That man is smooth with a capital ooth.

  16. I always enjoy it when you share bits and pieces of your upbringing/ family!

  17. I agree with the others, who knew Charlie Chaplin was so sexy looking!

  18. Mm, mm. Sexeh Charlie. And I loved the practical jokes!

    • Looks like all us gals love The Charlie

  19. Hitler could win a Chaplin Look A Like Contest

  20. I never recognise Chaplin without his moustache

  21. We used to leave our hand prints in any wet cement for projects. It was sort of a family tradition.

    When my Dad built the well house in Colorado, there was a cement foundation all around the well head and all of us including the dog and cat put our prints in that cement, with our names carefully inscribed by Dad. Years later that house burned down and the property was sold, the new people built a new house on the old site and moved the pressure tank for the well inside the house, so they no longer needed the well house. But when they took it out, they noticed the names, etc. in the cement foundation and left that intact. Last year when I visited that concrete was still there with all our hand prints. My hands were so little then, I was 8 when that was put in. I thought it was awfully nice of the new owners to preserve that history.

    • Nice story HMH, the new owners sound like respectful people

    • Yes, lovely story!


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