Saturday, December 31, 2011

O.C. in the Rose Parade, 91 years ago

 The City of Orange's float shown above was one of three units from Orange County in the 1921 Tournament of Roses Parade. The float's title was "Heart of Orange County," but the ribbons radiating out to small banners reading "Pasadena," "Los Angeles," "Newport/Balboa," "Riverside," and "Long Beach," hinted that Orange was also the heart of all Southern California. The float was decorated with lilies, ferns, carnations, and what appear to be red poinsettia petals outlining the heart.

The other two parade units from O.C. that year were the 26-piece Anaheim Elks Lodge marching band, and a float from the City of Anaheim. Anaheim's float also had a cardiovascular theme. In their case, the float was surmounted by a giant orange which was decorated with a white heart, indicating that Anaheim was the heart of the "orange district." According to the Los Angeles Times, "Four shepherd girls with crooks were on the float -- Helen and Marcella Webber, Lanette Rile and Helen Jordan."

What could be a better symbol of your citrus industry than a bevy of shepherd girls?
This second image is the cover of the 1921 Tournament of Roses issue of the Pasadena Evening Post. Inside, it describes the scene: "Early in the morning the crowds commenced to arrive and take positions along the line of march. Every road leading to Pasadena was thronged with automobiles and the great three-car trains of the Pacific Electric discharged their passengers every two minutes."

People didn't camp out to watch the parade back then, but even in 1921, an estimated quarter of a million people attended.

Although already famous, the Rose Parade's vetting process for entries still wasn't very refined by 1921. For instance, the Times reported, "One of the most conspicuous entries in the long procession was the three-wheeled cart of a misshapen dwarf attired in a high plug hat. Though helpless since birth, the happy dwarf was drawn through the streets by his faithful spotted pointer."

I don't think we'll be seeing that again Monday morning.

Thanks for another year of reading my blog, and for all your comments, emails, and contributions of photos and information. See you next year!


Anonymous said...

Speaking of a rapid transit system, the PE cars arriving every 2 minutes back then. Can't match that efficiency today!

Happy New Year!

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