“Forgotten Hollywood”- Remembering Santa Claus Lane…

Posted on December 11, 2017 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`Before there were malls and Amazon, holiday shoppers flocked to downtown and suburban retail districts, where shops and department stores lined busy streets. To attract the business, retailers in these districts banded together to transform these public spaces into flashy winter wonderlands.

“`Hollywood boasted one of the most elaborate Yuletide displays. Each November, beginning in 1928, extravagant holiday decorations transformed a mile stretch of Hollywood Blvd., between Vine and La Brea, into Santa Claus Lane.

“`The brainchild of businessman Harry Blaine of the Hollywood Boulevard Association, which promoted the area as the world’s largest department store. Santa Claus Lane attracted folks, luring them from downtown’s retail district with daily processions featuring a reindeer-drawn sleigh, and brightly decorated Christmas trees.

“`The first year, a 100 living firs were dug up from the forest near Big Bear, and placed along Hollywood Blvd. in wooden planters.  The trees lit the path for a nightly parade. Joined on his sleigh by a silver screen star, Santa Claus greeted the crowds with a team of six live reindeer pulling him down the boulevard. After New Year’s Day, the trees were planted on the grounds of the Hollywood Bowl.

“`In later years, metallic decorations replaced the living trees. Drawings of film stars smiled at shoppers from the center of tin wreaths hung from lamp posts. Whimsical, shiny toy Christmas trees blinked with colorful lights. Organizers boasted  Hollywood Blvd. was the most brightly lit street in the nation.

“`To complete the wintertime transformation,  Hollywood Blvd. took on a new name. For one month, signs at intersections read Santa Claus Lane, and merchants updated their addresses to reflect the temporary name change.

“`Though the elaborate decorations are no more,  Santa Claus Lane gave birth to a Tinseltown tradition. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce turned the Santa Claus procession into an annual extravaganza; renamed the Hollywood Christmas Parade in 1931. Grand marshal Gene Autry memorably rode on horseback just paces in front of the parade’s main star, singing Here Comes Santa Claus. It became a major hit.

“`Happy Holidays!!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Monday, December 11th, 2017 at 11:46 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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