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BALIAN ICE CREAM CO. ROSE FLOAT, NEW YEARS DAY, PASADENA, 1948

New Years Day, Pasadena 1948

Last week I was invited to share some of my vintage Rose Parade slides on KTLA’s live Rose Parade pre-show. My segment was scheduled at 6:10am. Frankly, I’m not used to getting up that early and I was worried my 1977 SEARS alarm clock that I got while still in high school, wouldn’t go off. Sure enough it didn’t. Thankfully I managed to wake up just in the nick of time. Nearly in a panic, I raced in the dark to Pasadena and found my way to “the set,” on the front lawn of the Tournament of Roses Mansion, the Former Wrigley Chewing Gum Estate. Before I knew it the segment was over and I was free to go.

The general public came in droves to see the spectacle just as they have for more than a century. There was activity everywhere. An army of dapper middle-aged men and women sporting the official Tournament of Roses white suit and red tie were in command. The time honored tradition is run with military precision.

The sun wasn’t even up yet but the sky was beginning to glow. With coffee in hand, still trying to wake up, I walked over to the Rose Floats lined up on Orange Grove Avenue. Everything on them was more colorful and bigger than life. I was overwhelmed and my spirit soared. I felt like I felt when I was a kid at Disneyland. The first thing I focused on was the China Airlines logo paved with black-eyed peas. Was I dreaming? For a moment I didn’t really know. The Rose Parade is one of Southern Californialand’s ultimate experiences.

Here’s to 2005 – (we’re living in the future now!)