Thursday night the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium was transformed into a glittering spectacle as actors, musicians, sports heroes, astronauts, authors, and politicians strutted down the red carpet, for the 2011 California Hall of Fame ceremonies. It was a scene right out of Hollywood.
The auditorium was bathed in purple with a dazzling array of lights, complete with television cameras and photographers covering the red carpet arrival of Clint Eastwood, Rob Lowe, Magic Johnson, General Chuck Yeager, Governor Brown, and more. To complete the ambiance of a Hollywood event there were police mounted on horseback and searchlights lighting up the night sky.
The California Hall of Fame was created in 2006 with the help of former first lady Maria Shriver, to help raise money for the California Museum. Now in its fifth year its welcoming inductees from all walks of life, including a man who walked on the moon and a man who’s so tall he can almost touch the moon, or dribble it.
The honorees this year were guitar great Carlos Santana, music legend the Beach Boys, novelists Amy Tan, NBA great Magic Johnson, civil rights leader Ed Roberts, Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn, community activist Father Gregory Boyle, Gap founders Doris and Donald Fisher, Supreme Court Justice Roger Traynor (posthumous award), and Buzz Lightyear.
Ooops! Did I say Buzz Lightyear? I meant to say Buzz Aldrin ““ you know, the other guy who walked on the moon. I think he taught Michael Jackson how to moon walk too, but I digress.
I was lucky enough to be one of the many photographers manning the red carpet. I will say I was extremely upset that Carlos Santana was the only no show on the red carpet. He decided to sneak in the back way and avoid the red carpet altogether ““ wimp, but still a great guitar player.
As Magic Johnson made his way up the carpet you could hear kids screaming “Magic, Magic, Magic,” getting his attention. Thankfully my good friend Charr Crail, taking her cue from the kids, started chanting “Magic, Magic, Magic,” quite loudly I might add, so we finally got our photo-op with the gentle giant. Thanks Charr!
Magic was asked by a local reporter what he thought about California. He basically said it’s a great state because of the great people who live here, the weather, and we have great politicians from the Governor, to Mayor Johnson and to the mayor in Los Angeles. Sounds like Magic may be politicking.
Governor Brown said we have Google, Facebook, Twitter, HP, and Apple. He went on to say that people don’t come to California to do what’s already been done, but to create what hasn’t happened yet, to dream.
General Chuck Yeager was by far the most entertaining, jovial, and just an all-around great guy. With his daughter in toe, he went from one group of journalist to the next. His daughter had a tough time keeping up with him. It was as if he was still flying jets. At one point he came back out of the auditorium, so that he could meet his heroes the Beach Boys.
It was a fun time had by all. Well maybe not Santana, but we’ll never know, since he didn’t share.