Alicia Walsh really likes the Righteous Brothers. Well, actually, Alicia Walsh really likes Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers.
"What can I say?" gushes the 56-year-old mother of four. "I've got the hots for him. . . . I've had the hots for him for a long, long time."
So when she was told by a friend from Santa Ana that Medley and his fellow Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield would be honored Thursday with a star in the Anaheim Hilton & Towers' new "Orange County Walk of Stars" promotion, she drove all the way down from Santa Barbara to witness the razzmatazz. Neither blitzing early morning showers nor knotted Los Angeles traffic could dissuade her.
"Have you ever heard him sing 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling' live? He's just very, very sexy," Walsh purred. "I haven't missed any of their concerts, and I didn't want to miss this."
As the Righteous Brothers' brass stars were unveiled, along with those of Jose Feliciano, Gale Storm, Buddy Ebsen and Steve Martin (who didn't make it but whose parents did), Walsh watched respectfully along with about 100 others (at least a third of whom appeared to be officially connected with the proceedings). And then, when Medley took a bow, Walsh erupted with a sweet-16-type squeal.
She thought it was a pretty good party. She thought it was nice that the hotel decided to honor Orange County celebrities and that she could be a part of it.
There were, however, a few dissenters.
Frank Peralta, 34, an out-of-work mechanic from Anaheim, groused that the hotel's walk of fame is merely a diluted version of the much more famous one in Hollywood. He's the meaty veteran of close to 10 induction ceremonies in Hollywood that were, he said, far more exciting: "There were more people, the crowd was wilder and the intensity was pretty high. This seemed nice (but) kind of pale."
His friend, Shelly Frias, agreed. "I always like to see stars, no matter where they are," said the 28-year-old from Fountain Valley. "But I think they should get more people to show up next time."
Walsh, though, thought it was "too crowded . . . I could barely see them. There was this real tall guy in front of me. . . . I would have preferred being alone with him (Medley), if you want to know the truth."
The stars, for their part, were predictably appreciative. Medley, who lives in Huntington Beach, reflected on his adolescence in Santa Ana, where he used to "cruise Main Street trying to get rid of my acne."
He added that there is "no place like Orange County" and that "Orange County deserves such a tribute," sentiments echoed by all the honorees.
Feliciano, who now lives in Villa Park, said he came to the county in the mid-1960s "without any money and with no prospects." His career began to sail after he gained a local following, so he credits county fans with much of his success.
And, like the others, he said he hopes the "Walk" ceremony will become a regular thing.
Cherie Kerr, president of the Huntington Beach public relations firm that concocted the promotion, said if all goes as planned, a commemorative star will be sunk in the sidewalk near the hotel's entrance every two months. The list of possible honorees includes Gene Autry, former astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr., comedian Joey Bishop and former stage and film star Ruby Keeler, she said. To qualify for sidewalk status, the person must live or have lived in Orange County and agree to have his name used in association with the hotel.
And, of course, be famous enough to warrant all the hoopla.
Peralta isn't so sure. "I don't think they can get a lot of people out here every two months," he said. "It doesn't make much sense to me. I mean, are there really that many stars around here?"