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Whoopi to Let Her Hair Down at Mann’s Chinese

Academy Award-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg will join a select group of Hollywood stars when she leaves imprints of her hands and feet in wet cement in the forecourt of Mann’s Chinese Theater.

But there’s a twist to the Feb. 2 noontime ceremony: Goldberg will also leave her trademark “braid prints” in concrete.

The tradition of leaving prints in the Chinese Theater forecourt began by accident in 1927 when actress Norma Talmadge stepped into a freshly laid sidewalk and theater owner Sid Grauman preserved the evidence of her visit to his newly opened establishment.

Today, about 190 prints, including hands, feet, Al Jolsen’s knee, Jimmy Durante’s nose, Betty Grable’s leg--and soon, Goldberg’s braided hair--grace the theater forecourt and are visited by thousands of tourists each year.

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Goldberg’s latest film, “Boys on the Side,” opens next month.

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MOVING TARGET: Reader Susan Greenspan called to comment on our recent item regarding a mobile billboard that travels area streets advertising the Twenty/20 Gentlemen’s Club in Century City, a topless bar. Greenspan said such billboards are against the law and cause unnecessary traffic and air pollution.

It turns out she was wrong about the law. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, such advertisements are legal as long as the trailers meet height, weight and size requirements under the California Vehicle Code.

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But what of Greenspan’s point about gridlock and pollution? In our quest for more information, we called the office of Mayor Richard Riordan, where a press deputy informed us that the city itself has made use of a donated moving billboard with the boosterish motto: “You Can Shake L.A. But You Can’t Break It.”

Greenspan, for one, was not amused.

“I find a contradiction of messages here,” she said of the city’s advertising venture. “They’re telling us not to take unnecessary trips and keep the air clean . . . and then they go and do something like this.”

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RUNNING ON EMPTY: Three robbery suspects last week learned the necessity of a well-prepared getaway car. Theirs ran out of gasoline.

Just before 11 p.m. on Jan. 19, the suspects allegedly tried to rob a clerk at a West Hollywood newsstand in the 8700 block of Santa Monica Boulevard. The clerk fought off his attackers, who then fled to their car, a sheriff’s spokesman said.

Deputies were called to the scene. When they spotted the vehicle, it was technically on the move, though at a velocity that might be described as Flintstonian. Two of the suspects were pushing it into a Mobil station.

The division of labor was also straight out of Bedrock. Two women were doing the pushing, while the lone male among them manned the wheel. Booked for attempted robbery were Louis Davis, 18, Patricia Witherspoon, 34, and Margaret Watts, 21.

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