January 2, 2020
By Russ Keller, reprinted by popular demand Image from Russ Keller Collection
NEW YEARS DAY 1955: This week’s image comes from a real photo courtesy of Gary Jacobs. It depicts Santa and his reindeer in the 1955 New Years Day parade in Pasadena. What makes this entry so special is that it was sponsored by and provided by the soon-to-be-opened Santa’s Village in Skyforest. The January 2, 1955 Los Angeles Times carried the following article. The headline read, “Nine Reindeer, Including Rudolph, Thrill Children.” The article went on to read, “Santa’s eight famous reindeer from the poem ‘The Night Before Christmas,’ plus one more, Rudy the Red-Nosed Reindeer, all real live animals, were one of the major pre-parade attractions, especially with the children. The reindeer were pulling the float “Merry Christmas” entered by the Skyforest home of Santa Claus. From the time they lined up in the parade formation area, for more than two hours before the procession got under way, they were surrounded by youngsters of all ages. Rudy, a baby reindeer less than a year old, led the four pair of Alaskan reindeer which were named, as in the poem, Cupid and Vixen, Comet and Dasher, Donner and Prancer, and Blitzen and Dancer. All of them wore harnesses with name plates identifying them, and to each harness were attached sleigh bells which rang merrily when the animals shook their heads. Four herders in Lapland costumes drove the reindeer and a pair of elves in Chipper costumes greeted the throngs.” The body of the float was made of cedar and fir greens mingled with pink, white, yellow and DuBonnet chrysanthemums. Red and white flowers decorated the Christmas tree which served as background for the float. I hope that everyone has a Happy New Year.