LOS ANGELES, CA (CBS) -- In a city with a long history of self-promotion, Hollywood's Walk of Fame may be its most successful public relations ploy.
Hollywood historian Marc Wanamaker says, "In the 1950s Hollywood needed something, a promotional idea to get Hollywood across to the world for tourism.// they need something more, more glamour."
The 1957 design established the now iconic look; actress Joanne Woodward posed for the walk's first photo op.
Travis Paternostro says, "My grandfather was the one that put in Joanne Woodward's star."
Italian stone craftsman Biaggio Paternostro, his son David and grandson Travis have hand-made all 2,499 stars. Travis is now creating number 2,500 for Jennifer Lopez. Paternostro says, "We actually pour the brass lettering and the emblem first. We put that down and then we pour the material on top of that and we'll grind it all down, expose the stones, expose the letters. It takes about three days for us even in modern technology."
But even modern technology couldn't prevent some missteps on the walk. Julia Louis-Dreyfus was famously misspelled. Paternostro says, "There have been some, what should I say typos over the years. It wasn't my fault I'm gonna say that right now. One of my guys, he will remain nameless, spelled her name the Spanish way, L-U-I-S. It's never happening again!"
The actress kept the original, showing it off in an appearance on "Ellen".
Carol Burnett says her star was sweet revenge telling "CBS Sunday Morning" she was once fired from a movie theater on the walk where she earned 65-cents-an-hour as an usher. She says, "Years later, they said 'Where do you want your star on Hollywood Boulevard?' I said, 'Right in front of that theater where I was fired.' And that's where it is!"
About two dozen stars are chosen each year by a secret committee. And there is no such thing as 'free publicity.' A celebrity must apply for the honor and pay the city $30,000 usually paid by a record label or studio to maintain this prime real estate.
But ultimately landing a permanent place under the feet of 10 million tourists a year is an experience both humbling, with Gwyneth Paltrow saying when she got her star, "I'm completely overwhelmed I'm gonna try not to cry." And humorous with Dame Helen Mirren saying when she got hers, "I'm so proud to henceforth be walked upon, have fries dropped upon, maybe even peed upon by tourists and locals walking their dogs!"