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SCARY NEW YEARS EVE, ST LOUIS, MO, 1962

Woman dancing with skeleton.

In a dank, dark basement a genuine skeleton dances with a very happy woman. As they sway to the rhythm the Skeleton enjoys a cigarette. There’s a cigarette butt in his mouth. And, by the way, the skeleton is not an imposter. A man came up to me after a slide show and said, “I’m a doctor and that skeleton is real!” (thanks for the info doc!). Behind them, on a crepe paper tablecloth with well-preserved fold lines, sit several bottles of boos. At least one of them is half empty. Behind the tabletop bar is a dryer. That’s very progressive. Most people didn’t have dryers in 1962. And most people don’t usually dance with dead people at parties either!

Too bad they are in St. Louis and not Southern California because chances are pretty slim they’re going to wake up the next morning all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and go to the Rose Parade in Pasadena. In no uncertain terms the Rose Parade is the grandest and most detailed parade on the planet. The prized show horses, champion marching bands and rolling flower petal art procession is Southern California’s most colorful tradition. It all began on New Years Day way back in 1890 when members of the Valley Hunt Club decorated their buggies with flowers and paraded down the avenue.

But to REALLY enjoy the Rose Parade you have to see it in person. It’s a million-trillion times more spectacular when you are there. The detail is overwhelming! Your imagination will be inspired and your spirit will soar! But don’t think that you don’t have to get there the night before to get a great spot, oh-no! Here’s the deal. Arrive at the parade about 8:30AM. The trick is to get a spot at the end of the parade route – Colorado and Sierra Madre. And it’s FREE!

DIRECTIONS…From LA take the San Bernardino Fwy (10) exit at Atlantic Blvd. Go north to Huntington Drive, turn right, then left on Sierra Madre Blvd. PARK YOUR CAR just east of Sierra Madre Blvd, on a residential side street, four or five blocks South of Colorado Blvd. Then bask in the rosy glow of all the posy petals and pomp and circumstance somewhere near the corner of Sierra Madre and Colorado Blvd, which is near the end of the parade route.

Afterwards you’ll be starving of course. Please allow me to recommend the hearty-heavy-fatty fare at one of Southern California’s most extreme themed restaurants, the North Woods Inn. It’s located nearby at the corner of Rosemead and Huntington Drive (7247 Rosemead Blvd, San Gabriel, 626-286-8284). Please don’t forget to marvel at the fake snow on the roof.

And.if you’re up early watch for me on the KTLA Pre-Rose Parade Show beginning at 6am.

Wishing you and yours the happiest of Happy New Years!

Cheers to the Scary New Years Eve party, the Rose Parade and YOU!