The great pretender

I think it’s fair to say that West Hollywood is somewhat of a tourist trap, with hundreds of people of all nationalities taking in the sights from the Walk Of Fame to Grauman’s Chinese Theatreer. Everywhere you look there are people trying to hustle you into taking a bus ride around the homes of the rich and the famous. Well, a tour of the roads leading to the homes of the rich and the famous, I’d imagine. I somehow doubt that George Clooney is going to open the gates to his mansion to allow a minibus packed full of Japanese tourists to gain unfettered access to his pot-bellied pig.

Indeed, wherever there are tourists, there are people trying to make some money for themselves. Given that this is Hollywood, that generally means dressing up as a famous character from movie history, and attempting to cajole allcomers to part with a bit of cash in order to have their photo taken with you.

The problem is, of course, that where movies can employ cinematic sheen and a healthy dose of computer generated imagery, real-life lends no such luxuries. Thus while Brandon Routh may look very convincing as Superman on screen, Tony from Long Beach just looks like a bloke dressed in a poorly fitting Superman costume that was machined by his sister.

Being confronted by ‘Hollywood legends’ wherever you walk is a little disconcerting, especially when they momentarily drop out of character. As I passed Spiderman this morning, for instance, the ‘actor’ within spotted somebody he knew and called out to her in a thick Southern accent to ask whether she was going to ‘the party’ tonight. That the person he called out to turned out to be (the poor man’s) Supergirl is no excuse.

The whole sorry façade reached its lowest ebb when I made my way to Baja Fresh to grab a lunchtime burrito. As I sat eating, a weary out-of-shape man in his mid to late 40s with dark dyed wavy hair ordered himself a quesadilla. He looked like a member of Kiss without the makeup (and without the charisma or cash in the bank), and wore a dark black cape with some kind of faux electronic trickery attached to his belt.

It couldn’t be, could it?

Darth Vader

Sadly, it was. For the record, I’d like it to be known that he had left this on his table while he went to use the facilities. Who knew that the Dark Lord of the Sith ever had to attend to anything so mundane? It was like finally unmasking Batman and discovering that for all these years, it had been your mum underneath.

Ironically, the ‘actress’ playing Marilyn Monroe looked more like somebody’s dad in a blonde wig, so I guess what goes around comes around, huh?

5 thoughts on “The great pretender

  1. Expatmum

    I always think the only ones that look halfway decent are the people sprayed head to toe in copper paint pretending to be a statue of Buffalo Bill or someone else historical and famous. Other wise it’s just plain sad.

  2. Karen

    I just watched a fascinating documentary on the characters that stand around the Boulevard. It’s called “Confessions of a Superhero” and focuses on the “original” superman character,wonderwoman. Batman and The Hulk. It’s quite tragic really.

    Enjoy your stay.

  3. gabi

    My favorite was the Ent (on stilts) who hung around motionless next to the trees further down Hollywood. If I hadn’t seen him carrying up the rear of a Scientology protest on my way to the Tower on Sunday, I might not have noticed him lurking on the way back to the hotel. I may have a picture, but I actually used FILM this time, so I have to finish up the roll.

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