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Mock Of Fame

October 26, 1986

OK, now I'm really mad. It's not just the fact Chuck Berry has no star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Pop Eye: "Walk of Fame Rolls Over Chuck Berry," by Patrick Goldstein, Oct. 19).

And it's not just that so many other deserving entertainers also remain unrecognized on the Walk. It's just that the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has such contempt for the intelligence of the general public.

Goldstein quoted a Chamber spokeswoman as saying a secret five-member committee chaired by Johnny Grant votes on all applications for the Walk. She said criteria include "show biz longevity and contributions made to the show business community."

What she really meant was contributions made to the Hollywood Chamber and profits generated by a performer.

It's no secret most anybody with a spare $3,500 can get a star on the Walk. It matters not whether you're a Hollywood pioneer or a preteen TV star.

If we are to believe the Chamber's lofty stated criteria, how is it that Tom Cruise--who must have all of five film roles under his belt--got his own star on the Walk less than two weeks ago?

Let me tell you how. It's because Bankable Young Tom has a big new movie out. Young Tom's studio, manager, agent, lawyer and dental hygienist all want the film to succeed and Young Tom's career to advance. So somebody put up the bucks.

Cruise's sidewalk immortality was a business decision by his associates, one happily endorsed by the Chamber. After all, what's financially good for Hollywood is good for the Walk.

There's nothing wrong with hype and promotion; Hollywood was built on it. Just don't dress it up as something else. And don't use it to the detriment of truly deserving people like Chuck Berry and others.

BARRY M. GREY

Santa Monica

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