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Hollywood Christmas Lane Parade

Hollywood Christmas Lane Parade Photos

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First Hollywood Christmas Lane Parade

In 1924, the retail merchants Bureau, a division of the chamber of commerce, instituted a campaign for increasing the Christmas business of the merchants on Hollywood Boulevard. Street decorations consisted of imitation fireplace chimneys, were placed on prominent corners. In addition, large papier-mâché Santa Claus heads, about 4 feet in length, and real Christmas trees were mounted on ornamental light standards. This decoration was varied with bunting and overhead Christmas lights hung over the street. For years the property owners, headed by Col. Harry M Baine, and the merchants through the retail merchants Bureau, and later the Hollywood merchants Association, continued and in large this activity. In 1928, Col. Baine, through the use of funds provided by the property owners, initiated a new Christmas activity which was destined to become one of the outstanding features of the succeeding Christmas seasons. The first time a parade float traveled down Hollywood Boulevard, it carried actress Jeanette Loff and Col. Baine.

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Photos of Santa Claus Lane Parade

The photo of this float can be seen on the hollywoodphotographs.com website.   Making arrangements with the Los Angeles County Park Department for their care, he succeeded in acquiring a team of two live reindeer. These animals were stabled on Hollywood Boulevard at La Brea for the constant admiration of the community. For two years, during the month of December, they were driven down the boulevard, pulling a sleigh on wheels and usually carrying, in addition to Santa Claus, a popular entertainment celebrity.

In 1932, the Otto K Olesen illuminating Company designed a new Santa Claus float. The design showed a village of homes surmounted by a cloud bank upon which floated a typical sleigh drawn by four prancing reindeer. The entire equipment was brilliantly lit, decorated in silver, gold and other brilliant colors. It was equipped with Santa riding on his sleigh, and his accompanying guest. They could talk to the crowd through a public address system or provide music for them through phonograph records carried below. The float was designed to be pulled by a truck which also furnished the electric power for lighting and operating the other electrical devices.

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New Parade Float

The spectacular float had its debut when it appeared in the first Santa Claus Lane Parade held on December 10, 1932. Sponsored by the Hollywood merchants Association, and witnessed by thousands of spectators, the parade started at Vine Street and I traveled west on Hollywood Boulevard to La Brea Ave. In addition to the Santa Claus float, the first parade consisted of a color guard, drum and bugle Corps and marchers from American post # 43. Accompanying Santa Claus on his trip down Santa clause Lane were the popular film stars Gloria Stuart and Lawrence Grant.

Because of the overwhelming response to the first pageant, the 1933 Parade was greatly expanded to include bands and motion picture personalities. Each night after the parade, until Christmas, Santa Claus and his float drove down Santa Claus Ln. accompanied by personalities such as Noah Berry, Rita La Roy, and Patricia Ellis, just to name a few.

In the succeeding years, this tradition developed into an enormous spectacle. With the cooperation of the community and the participation of motion picture personalities, the parade has grown to size to include more than 300 separate entries. Marching bands, equestrian groups, entertainment personalities and others come from all over the country to participate in this world renowned parade, which is viewed by thousands.

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New Parade Dates

For years the parade was held about two weeks before Christmas. Beginning in the 1980s, the parade has been held on the Sunday following Thanksgiving day. Some of the celebrities and equestrian entries included Jayne Mansfield, Francis X Bushman, Gene Autry, Johnny Mathis, and the king of the Cowboys, Roy Rogers.

Over the years, the Santa Claus Lane Parade has been viewed by millions of spectators who, not only, attend the parade, but also view it on television throughout the country.

Hollywood Photo Collection.

The largest collection of Hollywood Christmas Lane Parade photos is on the hollywoodphotographs.com website.  All of the photos in the collection are available for purchase.

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