Friday, April 14, 2017

Carl and Rob Reiner Hand and Footprint Ceremony #TCMFF


Carl and Rob Reiner

There are few father and son teams who love and adore each other more than Carl and Rob Reiner. I had the privilege of attending the first ever father-son hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre courtyard (formerly known as Grauman's Chinese Theatre). The event was a family affair but also an opportunity to celebrate two entertainment icons.


This is my fifth hand and footprint ceremony and my fourth covering the event for my blog. It's also the very first time I was seated with the guests. For a few moments I felt like I was one with Hollywood royalty.



I got to share this event with other writers and good friends including Karen who was covering for Citizen Screen, Anne Marie of Classic Movie Hub, KC of A Classic Movie Blog, Carrie of ClassicFilmfan.com and others too.

Karen, Raquel and KC

We sat in our designated seats and watched as the guests arrived. It's always a surprise who will be in attendance and that's half the fun of this event.

Norman Lear

Kevin Nealon

Cary Elwes

Cary Elwes giving Norman Lear a hug

The guests of honor Carl and Rob Reiner with Tom Bergeron

Cary Elwes

We didn't have the best view but we made do with what we had. Actor Cary Elwes, best known for The Princess Bride (1987), sat right in front of me and I strategically had to take photos over his shoulder.

TCM host Ben Mankiewicz

The ceremony kicked off with three speeches. First off was TCM host Ben Mankiewicz who opened the event with some jokes and much praise for the two honorees. He said, "few fathers and sons are as accomplished as Carl and Rob Reiner and none are as funny." As we all know Carl Reiner has had a long and impressive career. He's not only a comedian but he's also an actor, writer, director, producer and even a political activist on Twitter. Mankiewicz noted that Carl Reiner has been in the business for 70 years and "his version of slowing down is writing one book a year." He's currently working on another memoir and a children's book.

Then there is Rob Reiner who forged his own impressive career. Mankiewicz sang Rob Reiner's praises noting his work on All in the Family, This is Spinal Tap, When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride and more as well as his production company Castle Rock. Rob Reiner has two political films coming out soon: LBJ and Shock and Awe.

Mankiewicz joked that the combined age of the Reiners is 165 and brought up this tweet by Carl Reiner.


Tom Bergeron

Up next was TV personality and host Tom Bergeron. He joked that to prepare for his speech he Googled "top things to say about a dear friend soon to be immersed in cement." You can imagine what the search results would have been. Bergeron went on to say, "turns out you don't need Google to find the perfect thing to say about Carl. You go to the source." Carl Reiner once said: "The absolute truth is the thing that makes people laugh." Bergeron points out that this "speaks to the rich source of Carl Reiner's genius. He went on to say "this gave us his alter ego Rob Petrie and The Dick Van Dyke Show. Absolute truth turned into comedic beauty. And fifty years later we're still laughing."

Billy Crystal

To pay tribute to Rob Reiner was actor and comedian Billy Crystal. But before he got to Rob he started with a hilarious joke about Carl Reiner: "I realized that Carl was also a prophet. In 1966 on film he screamed “The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!” And he also made The Jerk."

Crystal believed it was fate that brought him and Rob Reiner together. He remembered performing at the Comedy Store in 1975 and having a chance meeting with Norman Lear and Carl Reiner. Carl introduced himself saying "Hi I'm Carl Reiner" and Crystal jokingly replied "and what do you do?" Norman Lear called Crystal up with an offer to play Rob Reiner's best friend on All in the Family. Crystal was impressed with how Rob was inclusive and asked him for his opinion and insight. He remembers "the show did very well and we just said, we played best friends why don't we keep that going?" Their working relationship and friendship led to Crystal having the plum roles of Morty the Mime in This is Spinal Tap, Miracle Max in The Princess Bride and what Crystal calls "the part of a lifetime " Harry Burns in When Harry Met Sally. Crystal went on to say, "between them [Carl and Rob] is 120 years of great comedy, entertainment and  amazing drama. They are stretching always looking for something new to do. And that’s because the two of them are geniuses."

Carl Reiner

Carl and Rob Reiner
Carl Reiner warmed up the crowd with praise for his son by saying "Ive known this guy for almost all of his life" and went on to compliment him on his photographic memory and his terrific work on The Princess Bride. In fact, Carl Reiner likes to introduce people to three movies in particular: The Count of Monte Cristo, Random Harvest ("if you don't have a tear in your eye or a smile on your face at the end of it you're not human" and The Princess Bride.

This is the first time a father and son had a dual hand and footprint ceremony and Rob Reiner quipped "I think we should not only put our hands and feet in cement, we should put our bald heads. And that's never been done!" I really wish they had done that, it would have been hilarious.

Rob Reiner had much praise for his dad. He said, "my father was my idol. I looked up to him. He stood for everything I wanted to be in life." He remembered when he was 8 years old wanting to change his name. His parents were concerned that he didn't want to live in the shadow of his famous father. His dad asked him what he wanted to change his name to, Rob responded "Carl!" Rob Reiner pointed out Norman Lear who has been like a second father to him.

To his kids he joked, "I wouldn't be here for him having sex with my mother and then you being supportive of me. And you wouldn't be here if I didn't have sex with YOUR mother. TMI. T.M.I."

Then it was time to make their mark in cement. Carl Reiner brought up Mel Brooks, his best friend and fellow genius, who wasn't at the event but there in spirit. Brooks had added a false pinky to one of his hands during his imprint ceremony making him the only one with 11 fingers marked in cement.

Flip through my Instagram post to find a brief video.

Carl and Rob Reiner writing their names in cement

Carl and Rob Reiner just after putting their hands in cement

Carl and Rob Reiner making their footprints in cement

I wish I could have gotten a photo of all the guests with the Reiners and the freshly imprinted cement. Unfortunately the security at the ceremony mistook some of us low-level media for regular passholders and unceremoniously kicked us out before we could get a word in edgewise. It was a rather negative end to what was a quite fun event. I've tried to get that out of my mind and focus on the positives of my experience but haven't been able to do that so far.

I'm still grateful to TCM for the opportunity to cover another wonderful hand and footprint ceremony. Whenever I'm back in Hollywood and I see the imprints of those ceremonies I've covered in the past, I feel a rush knowing I was there for that historic moment.

I hope you enjoyed this armchair experience!


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