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Saturday, April 30th
Was Immortalized with Hand and Footprints in Cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre
Louis Prima Placed On The Hollywood Walk of Fame
by Steve Tuminello
The 50th Anniversary of the Hollywood Walk of Fame was celebrated on Sunday July 25th with a festival that included tours of Hollywood Studios and Theaters, a special exhibit at The Hollywood Museum and Live Musical Performances. The first Sunday Walk of Fame Ceremony in the history of the Walk of Fame was to honor New Orleans, Louisiana native, Louis Prima, who lived in Las Vegas for a big part of his life. Louis Prima would have been 100 years old this year and was long overdue for his Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame.
he unveiling of his Star began with a ceremony at 11:30 AM on Vine St. between Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard right in front of The Ricardo Montalban Theater. The media was well represented with their video cameras and flash photography. This was a big event to honor “The Original King of Swing” Jazz Trumpeter and Singer, the incomparable Louis Prima. Louis Prima's children from his marriage to singer Gia Maione, Louis Prima, Jr. and Lena Prima were there as representatives from the family to perform, as well as speak to the sizable crowd.
Steve Tuminello, Louis Prima, Jr. and Lena Prima
I had met Louis, Jr. and had seen Lena's Tribute Show to her Father and Mother that she performed at The Sahara Hotel several years back. I had not met Lena and was looking forward to meeting her and telling her how much I had enjoyed her Tribute Show. I last saw Louis, Jr. at The Palms Hotel where Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns were performing and Kenny Loggins was making a special appearance.
Several speakers got up to say a few words about Louis Prima and how his career spanned eight decades and how his music influenced so many generations. My 19 year old Daughter, Natalie, was with me and she remembered Louis Prima being the voice of “King Louie” in the Disney Classic “Jungle Book” and also used in “The Rescuers” animated film.
Louis, Jr. mentioned various artists covering his Father's Hits most notably David Lee Roth with “Just a Gigolo”
After the placement of the Star was completed Louis, Jr. performed for almost half an hour on Stage in front of the Montalban Theater with his 8 piece band bringing his Sister, Lena up on stage, as well as his young son, Anthony. The drummer was Jimmy Prima, Son of Leon Prima, Louis Prima's Brother. Sarah Spiegel was a featured female vocalist. They performed many of the most famous Louis Prima Hits.
My Father was always a big Louis Prima fan and very proud that a fellow Sicilian from Louisiana, our home State, made it so big. Later that afternoon I ran in to a Music Producer friend in Hollywood and told him about attending the Louis Prima Star Ceremony. He commented “ Well it's about time!”
“Louis Prima was a Giant in the Entertainment Industry” He then told me how when he was only nine years old his Father slipped him in to a club in Chicago to see Louis Prima perform. Obviously, that experience had a big influence on my friend's life and his career choice.
When Louis, Jr. spoke he said “My Father always said I want my music to make the people Happy” and there were certainly a lot of “Happy” Louis Prima Fans at this very special event.