Western Walk of Stars.

Western Walk of Stars

Field review by the editors.

Newhall, California

Creating a genre-specific walk of fame is one way for a town to sprinkle itself with magical powder, a way to attract celebrity-loving tourists. In the case of Newhall (really, the City of Santa Clarita), it's the Walk of Western Stars, an extensive sidewalk tribute to the movie, TV and radio legends who shot it out on the streets of fake western towns, rode stunt horses in pursuit of Indian impersonators, and made sure justice was served.... if that's what the script called for. Santa Clarita has hosted countless location shoots in its scrubby hills for Hollywood's cowboy pictures.

Jack Palance plaque.

Since this is a city and chamber of commerce project, choices for new inductees are always carefully considered, the plaques unveiled at the spring Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival.

Bronze plaques of horse saddle bas reliefs are set in terrazzo tile and installed up both sides of the street for half a dozen blocks.

The small shops in downtown Newhall mostly close by dinner. Not a bad time for a stroll -- quiet and empty, like immediately after a gunfight, but before the cowardly townspeople come out to gawk. It's just you and slow-to-the-trigger challengers sprawled at your feet. There's Clayton Moore, the original Lone Ranger; Tex Ritter the singing cowboy; Hoot Gibson, rodeo champ actor and director.

Beyond obvious classic white hat cowboy movie heroes -- Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, John Wayne, Tom Mix -- darker characters also get downtown boot time: Jack Palance, Bruce Dern. Leading ladies include Virginia Mayo and Jane Russell. The city has been adding plaques each year since 1981, so the gathering gets more eclectic over time: 2013 inductees were Mexican bad-guy actor Rodolfo Acosta, cowboy singer Stuart Hamblen, and Lee Marvin (Cat Ballou!).

Harry Carey Jr. plaque.

The businesses along the Walk are not western-themed; in fact, they're typical for an aging California downtown. So you might see a plaque to a grizzled character actor in the entranceway of a nail salon. On the day we wandered through, Harry Carey Jr's plaque shared the sidewalk with three sets of female mannequin legs and hips displaying tight jeans. And we had to move a shopping cart off John Wayne.

But those are all healthy signs. If Newhall fared as poorly as a real western ghost town, there'd be no one left to take care of the Western Walk of Stars.

Western Walk of Stars

Address:
Main St., Newhall, CA
Directions:
I-5 exit onto Lyons Ave heading east to Main St. on the right, downtown Newhall. Sidewalk Star Saddles run along Main St. from Lyons Ave. south to 5th St. and continue on Newhall Ave.
Hours:
Always visible. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Heritage Junction - Death Poker Table, Movie TrainHeritage Junction - Death Poker Table, Movie Train, Newhall/Santa Clarita, CA - < 1 mi.
Horse Drawn Hearse Under GlassHorse Drawn Hearse Under Glass, Newhall, CA - 1 mi.
Elliot and E.T.'s Bicycle StreetElliot and E.T.'s Bicycle Street, Granada Hills, CA - 8 mi.
In the region:
Cold War: The Wende Museum, Culver City, CA - 26 mi.

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