Two new names were added to the Walk of Western Stars in Old Town Newhall on Thursday, which also marked the first time such an event has occurred since before the pandemic.
The two stars were awarded to Cesar Romero and Ricky Schroder in a brief ceremony that featured speeches, a reception following the ceremony at the Reyes Winery, and a western-themed block party on Main Street.
Romero had a career in television and film spanning six decades and included roles in major films such as “The Thin Man,” “The Little Princess,” and “Cisco Kid.” More than 50 of Romero’s roles were in westerns, but he’s often remembered for his role as the joker in the 1960s television show “Batman.” Romero was also the first to portray the role in a movie for the show’s 1966 feature film.
Schroder initially rose to fame as a child for his roles in “The Champ” and “The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark,” eventually breaking into the western genre playing Newt Dobbs in “Lonesome Dove” and appearing in several western television shows thereafter.
Romero, who died in 1994, was represented at the ceremony by Miranda Cunha, a local resident who claims to be the daughter of Romero and dancer/actress Carmen Miranda. Romero was never married and does not have any confirmed children.
Cunha has, however, been lobbying the city for Romero’s star for years and said she’s very happy that it finally materialized.
“I was just thanking everybody for honoring my father, that it means the world to me and that I appreciate it very much,” said Cunha. “I have found my home in Santa Clarita…and I feel like I’ve met so many wonderful people here.”
Neither Schroder, nor any representatives of his, attended the ceremony
“It was really exciting to be able to do it. The last time we had been able to do the event was 2019,” said Phil Lantis, arts and events manager for the city of Santa Clarita. “It’s just so wonderful to be doing events again. And, you know, we can tell, putting on like, this is our second ‘Senses’ [event] and last month, it was huge. I think people are just ready to be out and enjoy life again.”
Lantis said that if Newhall’s Walk of Western stars reminded you of Hollywood’s famous Walk of Fame, you’d be right to see the connection.
“It’s the same folks that do the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” said Phil Lantis. “And they’re experts. They are really good at it.”
The process of how these stars are formed is also not all that different from Hollywood’s. A few days before the ceremony takes place, the company behind the stars’ installation has to first remove the bricks in the sidewalk before businesses open. They then lay down the bronze placard and fill in the rest with liquid terrazzo. Lantis said this process is done quite quickly.
“I came down to check how it was going and I got here and they were like, ‘Yeah, we’re done.’ So pretty quick,” said Lantis. “Then they covered it with a thick layer [protectant] so it wouldn’t get damaged until they came back today and did the last step, which was smoothing it out and then putting this sealant on it.”
After the sealant is put on, the star is preserved where it will lay next to the many other stars on Main Street for decades to come.
For more information on the Walk of Western Stars or on the city’s “Senses” events, visit: https://bit.ly/3xQmmvD.