The Hollywood Christmas Parade kicks off the holiday season in tinsel town with a annual star-studded extravaganza. It used to occur on the evening before Thanksgiving and was telecast throughout the season.The very first parade, in 1928, was highlighted by the appearance of only one actress, Jeanette Loff, and Santa Claus. Since the main attraction seemed to be Santa, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce named it The Santa Claus Lane Parade.
The parade was created to attract shoppers and their families to Hollywood Boulevard during the holiday season. Hollywood Boulevard was decorated with live Christmas trees and a live reindeer pulled sleigh carrying Santa Claus and Ms. Loff down the Boulevard. Miss Loff died in 1942 under mysterious circumstances. (The above photo is from the 1950 parade, © Toyo Miyatake.)In later years bigger stars would participate - like the late David Carradine, who died last year, also under mysterious circumstances.In 1946, the parade inspired Gene Autry to write Here Comes Santa Claus, (Right Down Santa Clause Lane). Autry died at the ripe old age of 91. Whew - I was beginning to think this parade was cursed!
The parade was in Los Angeles on KTTV Channel 11, and syndicated to stations across the country - including WNEW, channel 5 in New York. Santa wears glasses? Looks more like the late Steve Allen.
Other LA stations also carried the live broadcast. Interesting how Channel 13's ad highlighted the shows whose stars were appearing in the parade. Hosted by Hobo Kelly? The event was renamed The Hollywood Christmas Parade in 1978 and the coverage switched over to KTLA Channel 5. In 2004, NBC aired an hour-long Blockbuster Hollywood Christmas Spectacular.
In 2010, the 79th annual parade will take place on Sunday, November 28, 2009 at 6 p.m. It will air nationally on local stations and on The Hallmark MOVIE Channel (It's a movie? Who knew?) on Dec. 15. The Grand Marshall for the 2010 parade is Larry King. Here's the official website.