The crew were taping down the last edge of the red carpet (to ensure there weren't any nasty spills once the night's glam festivities commenced), fans were gathering in a frenzy at the packed curb on the famed strip, and all mayhem broke loose when Mickey Rourke alighted from a limo.
"Mickey! Over here," the ecstatic fans (who were crushing me at every nerve ending from all sides) cried out.
"Sign," they pleaded (as they flapped publicity stills excitedly in his direction).
The Oscar-nominated star of - "The Wrestler" - obliged to their great delight.
He swaggered over in dress slacks, a trendy dinner jacket (with alligator lapels?), a white "t", and ubiquitous shades which lent an air of mystery to the largely misunderstood Hollywood persona.
As the film buffs stuck out photographs, he signed 'em with a distinctive flourish, which caused quite a sensation on the street.
In fact, as he approached me, a crush of enthusiastic fans thrust forward unexpectedly, and I nearly ended up tumbling on top of the studly star!
Boy, wouldn't that be something to write home about!
I managed to utter - "Great to see you, Mickey" - before he was led off down the red carpet to the ravenous paparazzi waiting to devour the star in front of the Chinese Theatre.
Instead of perching in the press corps tonight, I staked out a spot at Orange and Hollywood Blvd.
It turned out to be a primo location to catch the interactions between the stars - and the most important guests of the evening - the fans!
And, the nervy throng, didn't waste the golden opportunity.
When Scarlett Johansson was spied exiting her sleek ride the crowd went wild.
Boy, the actress was quite a knock-out!
The thoughtful beauty strode over to sign autographs and floated by me at one point this-close.
Her gown was a sheer whimsical fantasy sculpted out of fabric and fitted to her sexy svelte frame.
The hair was swept off the face - which was a good look for the pretty actress - with dazzling porcelain skin.
The Diamond studs which sparkled in the light - when she turned this way 'n that - were an understated elegant touch.
I almost missed Sylvester Stallone who breezed out of his luxury vehicle and straight onto the red carpet.
Damn those well-trained handlers!
In contrast, Hollywood's finest - the men in blue - were quite respectful to the lookie-loo's.
Well, to a point.
One anxious out-of-towner asked a tall handsome cop if he could get Robert Downey Jr. to sign his poster.
"No, sorry. That would be unprofessional," he noted politely.
But, it doesn't hurt to try to twist an arm now and then, though.
One Gwyneth Paltrow fan (a pretty blond female from Australia) went gaga when she spied the statuseque beauty stroll down the carpet.
"Gwyneth," she hollered.
Andrian Brody - with slicked back "do" and squeezed into an expensive leather jacket and jeans - smiled in the direction of shouting fans (but kept walking).
"Heh, it's the snoz," one onlooker joked.
For the most part, the stars were chauffeured up in sleek Audi SUV's, which was mighty impressive.
Occasionally, a classy black (or white) Rolls Royce would purr up to the drop-off-point, causing heads to twist-and-turn in anticipation of a star arrival.
Samuel L. Jackson was pretty cool, with signature cap twisted correctly on his skull, underscoring his keen fashion sense.
Hugh Heffner put in an appearance, too, with a bevy of bodacious blond babes in tow.
How does he keep it up - um - keep up?
I understand he'll be celebrating his 80th birthday (just did?).
Gary Shandling looked a bit stuffy, but glad to be invited to the big top.
Was that James Spader I saw kibitzing with fellow actors on the edge of the runway?
At one point, there were so many luminaries in the business zooming up, that it was hard to keep up (or on track)
Occasionally, a stretch limo squealed to a halt, and a pack of thirty-something men would fall into line to run the gaunlet.
"Who are they?" curious onlookers quizzed.
"Oh, probably the studio execs, agents, public relations staff," I joked.
The hanger's on, I was guffawing to myself.
One of the employees for the studio gave out souvenirs for Iron Man II.
My partners in crime on the strip were envious of the green mechanical man I was gifted with.
I'll prop him up in the windshielf of my SUV - a fond memory of a glittery night on the Hollywood Walk of Fame rubbing shoulders with the little people - who oil the dream factory in the final analysis.
They snap up the tickets, after all!