Aug. 28, 1982: Milt Diamond, foreground, unveils the Downtown Newhall Walk of Western
Stars plaque honoring the late Western singer-actor Tex Ritter. Actor John Ritter, son of Tex, is
in the checked shirt in the center-background, behind Western singer-songwriter Cliffie Stone.
The Downtown Newhall Walk of Western Stars began in 1981 as the "Western Walk of Fame" as a means of honoring
Western film, stage, television and radio personalities who performed in the Santa Clarita Valley. The name was changed
to "Walk of Western Stars" after the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce sued over the use of the "Walk
of Fame" name. Stars were immortalized along San Fernando Road and Newhall Avenue, and later Market Street,
with bronze plaques and terrazzo tile set into the sidewalks. The induction on the street was accompanied by a gala dinner
at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia.
The event continued annually through 1993 and was suspended in 1994 because of leadership and copyright issues, and
because of the earthquake on Jan. 17 of that year. Installations resumed in 2000 when the Walk was incorporated
into the city of Santa Clarita's annual Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival, with the blessing of the Santa Clarita Valley
Chamber of Commerce, which claimed ownership of the event (even though a separate nonprofit corporation, the Santa Clarita Valley
Walk of Western Stars Foundation, ran the event prior to 1994).
The gala dinner was moved to the posh new Hyatt Valencia Hotel and Conference Center and, starting in
2002, to the Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio in Placerita Canyon.