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The Hollywood Christmas Parade (formerly the Hollywood Santa Parade or Santa Claus Lane Parade) is an annual parade that takes place on the Sunday after Thanksgiving in the Hollywood community in Los Angeles, California, United States. The parade follows a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) route along Hollywood Boulevard, then back along Sunset Boulevard and features various celebrities among its participants.
Per tradition, Santa Claus appears at the conclusion of every parade.
Beginning in 1928, Hollywood merchants transformed a one-mile stretch of Hollywood Boulevard into "Santa Claus Lane" to boost shopping. Part of the promotion was a daily parade featuring Santa Claus and a film star. Originally called the Santa Claus Lane Parade, the inaugural event featured only Santa Claus and the actress Jeanette Loff.
The parade continued to grow in scale with the help of local businesses and the community. In 1931 Santa Claus rode a truck-pulled float instead of the reindeer-pulled carriage of previous years. American Legion Post 43 marched with a color guard, drum line and bugle corps.
The Parade was suspended from 1942 to 1944 due to World War II but reopened in 1945 with record attendance.
In 1946 Gene Autry rode his horse in the parade and was inspired by the children yelling "Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus," to write the song "Here Comes Santa Claus" along with Oakley Haldeman. Autry would become a perennial Grand Marshal of the parade.
The parade continued to grow throughout the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, adding floats, animals, bands and celebrities. By 1978, the parade had been renamed the Hollywood Christmas Parade in order to attract more celebrities, and was broadcast locally on KTLA (which was purchased by Autry's Golden West Broadcasters in 1964) with the help of Autry and Johnny Grant. This change coincided with a shift in the parade's scheduling from Thanksgiving Eve to the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and continued to be a decades-long tradition on Los Angeles's channel 5, even after Autry's sale of KTLA to KKR in 1982, then Tribune Broadcasting in 1985.
In 2002, an attempt to present the parade as a primetime special on NBC sponsored by Blockbuster imperiled the future of the parade, as the presentation was lowly-rated. Renamed the Blockbuster Hollywood Christmas Spectacular and produced by Bob Bain, the parade was nearly completely dispensed with for pre-recorded and rehearsed spotlights in the vein of NBC's popular Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, pre-recorded musical performances from LeAnn Rimes and Destiny's Child to promote their new holiday albums, along with much lower wattage star power as most of the celebrities highlighted were either older or lower-tier actors exclusively starring on NBC series. Inexplicably, the special ended with a completely unrelated stunt involving a 170 feet (52 m) fall by stuntperson Mikal Kartvedt off a twelve-story building to promote the Blockbuster-exclusive home video rental release of the film XXX (the actual parade would air without any of the Bain-produced elements on Christmas morning on KCOP-TV). The following year, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced it would discontinue airing the parade on KTLA and other Tribune Broadcasting stations due to rising production costs.
In March 2007, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce decided to end the parade's run due to lack of celebrities and a loss of $100,000 for the 2006 production, which The Associated Press said cost about $1 million to mount.
However, later in 2007, the City of Los Angeles created a new parade to replace the Hollywood Christmas Parade, entitled the Hollywood Santa Parade and produced on the weekend after Thanksgiving (the original parade had traditionally been held on the Wednesday evening before the holiday). Participation in the new parade became by only, and Bob Barker, fresh from his farewell tapings as host of The Price Is Right, was that year's Parade Grand Marshal. 2007 and 2008, KTLA aired the new parade on a tape-delayed basis.
It was later announced that MyNetworkTV would telecast the 2009 parade (with the Hollywood Christmas Parade name restored) in two consecutive prime-time showings: the first scheduled for December 10, the second for Christmas Eve night. The parade has since been produced annually by Associated Television International, which then coordinated airings on the Hallmark Channel, and in traditional syndication in later years.
Since 2015, the parade has been recorded and edited, then aired as a part of The CW's annual holiday programming, still being produced by ATI (thus airing on KTLA locally as a part of the CW lineup). Lifestyle also carries the parade internationally.
The parade went on hiatus in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic; this was the first cancellation in 76 years. Instead, a TV special titled The Hollywood Christmas Parade Greatest Moments premiered on December 4, 2020 on The CW.
- 1928 - Jeanette Loff
- 1932 - Joe E. Brown
- 1939 - Gene Autry
- 1941 - Irene Rich
- 1948 - Bob Hope
- 1949–1951 Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz
- 1957 - Art Linkletter
- 1958 - Lawrence Welk
- 1959 - Charlton Heston
- 1960, 1981 - Dale Evans & Roy Rogers
- 1961 - Gene Autry
- 1962 - Danny Thomas
- 1963 - Mary Pickford
- 1964 - Dick Van Dyke
- 1965 - Robert Vaughn
- 1966 - Pat Boone
- 1967 - Fred MacMurray
- 1968 - Buddy Ebsen
- 1969 - Walter Matthau
- 1970 - Ernest Borgnine
- 1971 - Johnny Mathis
- 1972 - General Robert E. Cushman, Jr.
- 1973 - Danny Thomas
- 1974 - John Wayne
- 1975 - Lawrence Welk
- 1976 - General Omar Bradley
- 1977 - Jimmy Stewart
- 1978 - Bob Hope
- 1979 - Robert Wagner & Natalie Wood
- 1980 - Gene Autry
- 1982 - Ron Howard
- 1983 - George Peppard
- 1984 - Michael Landon
- 1985 - William Shatner
- 1986 - Mickey & Minnie Mouse
- 1987 - James Stewart
- 1988 - Tony Danza
- 1989 - Sammy Davis Jr.
- 1990 - Arnold Schwarzenegger
- 1991 - Charlton Heston
- 1992 - Tom Arnold & Roseanne Barr
- 1993 - Bob Hope & his wife Dolores Hope
- 1994 - Louis Gossett Jr.
- 1995 - Tony Danza
- 1996 - David Hasselhoff
- 1997 - Tom Arnold
- 1998 - Robert Urich
- 1999 - Beau Bridges
- 2000 - Dennis Hopper & Frankie Muñiz
- 2001 - Peter Fonda
- 2002 - Mickey Rooney
- 2003 - Johnny Grant
- 2004 - Magic Johnson
- 2005 - Antonio Villaraigosa
- 2006 - George López
- 2007 - Bob Barker
- 2008 - Joy & Regis Philbin
- 2009 - Susan Lucci
- 2010 - Larry King
- 2011 - Marie Osmond
- 2012 - Joe Mantegna
- 2013 - Buzz Aldrin
- 2014 - Stevie Wonder
- 2015 - Penn & Teller
- 2016 - Olivia Newton-John
- 2017 - Mehmet C. Oz
- 2018 - Nancy O'Dell
- 2019 - Mario López
- 2021 - Matilda Lawler
- 2022 - Nancy Sinatra
- Masters, Nathan. "When Hollywood Boulevard Became Santa Claus Lane", KCET, Burbank, 21 December 2012.
- Chavez, Stephanie (30 November 2002). "What a parade does to survive". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 December 2019.[dead link]
- "The CW Gets Into the Spirit with Its Schedule of Upcoming Holiday Specials". The Futon Critic. October 19, 2020.
- Citizen News newspaper, Nov. 22, 1939, Page 9, "Coast-to-Coast Hookup To Tell Story of Friday Night's Event"
- The Whittier News newspaper, Nov. 22, 1940, Page 3, "Hollywood Opens Santa Claus Lane Tonight at 7"
- Citizen News newspaper, Hollywood, CA, Nov. 23, 1940, Page 9, "Half Million Pack Lane for Opening"
- Citizen News newspaper, Hollywood, CA, Dec. 24, 1940, Page 9, "Riders Picked for Final Santa Claus Lane Parade"
- Citizen News newspaper, Hollywood, CA, Nov. 22, 1941, Page 9, seen in picture 3
- Valley Times newspaper, San Fernando Valley, CA, Nov. 8, 1948, Page 2, "Plan Tribute To Peace"
- Citizen News newspaper, Hollywood, CA, Nov. 22, 1949, Section 2, Page 3
- The Independent newspaper, Pasadena, CA, Nov. 21, 1950, Section 2, Page 1
- Citizen News newspaper, Hollywood, CA, Nov. 12, 1951, page 4
- Citizen News newspaper, Hollywood, CA, Nov. 26, 1957, page 3
- Pasadena Independent newspaper, Pasadena, CA, Nov. 26, 1958, page 8
- Citizen News newspaper, Hollywood, CA, Nov. 23, 1959, Page 7
- The Citizen News newspaper, Hollywood, CA, Nov. 23, 1960, Front page
- Los Angeles Times newspaper, Nov. 23, 1961, Part 1, page 2
- Citizen News newspaper, Nov. 21, 1962, Front page
- Los Angeles Times newspaper, Nov. 28, 1963, Part 2, page 1
- Citizen News newspaper, Hollywood, CA, Nov. 25, 1964, front page
- Citizen News newspaper, Hollywood, CA, Nov. 24, 1965, page B-16
- Citizen News newspaper, Hollywood, CA, page C-1
- Valley Times newspaper, San Fernando Valley, CA, Nov. 21, 1967, page 4
- Daily News Post newspaper, Monrovia, CA, Nov. 25, 1968, Vol. 60, Num. 65, page 6
- Hollywood Citizen News newspaper, Nov. 25, 1969, page 1
- Independent Pres Telegram newspaper, Long Beach, CA, Nov. 22, 1970, Tele Vues section, page 16
- Long Beach Independent newspaper, Nov. 20, 1973, section C, Page 20
- Los Angeles Times newspaper, Nov. 27, 1974, part 1 page 3
- The Town Talk newspaper, Alexandria, LA, Dec. 1, 1975, section A, page 3
- The Winona Daily News newspaper, Winona, WI, Dec. 3, 1976, page 5a
- St. Joseph News Press newspaper, St. Joseph, MO, Nov. 26, 1977, Spotlight section, page 2