I watched a little bit of the Rose Parade this morning, and two small things come to mind.
One is that the City of Burbank had a float that won the Fantasy Award. The celebrity on the float was writer-director Garry Marshall. I mentioned this for a particular reason. The float was very colorful -- lots of red and yellow and blue. But there were two, small splotches of purple. The first was the scarf that Garry Marshall wore, and the other was the megaphone he was holding. I suspect that this was not by accident -- Garry Marshall went to Northwestern University (there always was a Northwestern pennant on the wall of Al's Drive-in on Happy Days, and Marshall periodically goes back to the school to lecture). And Northwestern's school colors are -- purple and white! Northwestern didn't make it into a bowl game this year, but given that the Rose Bowl is played between teams from the Big Ten (NU's conference) and the Pac-12, my guess is that this was Marshall was doing his part to at least get the Wildcats there somehow...
The other moment was when one of the floats had a space alien theme, and it was cleverly designed to allow three "spacecrafts" back out and drive around the Pasadena street before returning to the "docking port" of the float. At one point, when driving around in semi-circles, two of the mini-vehicles came close to one another, and emcee Al Roker began screaming out, "WATCH OUT!! WATCH OUT!!" They didn't hit -- and then later one was headed towards the crowd, when Roker again shouted out his "WATCH OUT!!" warning, before it spun away. Only to later yell, "DON'T HIT THE CAMERAMAN!!" who was standing in the middle of the road. This all may have struck some viewers how thoughtful and protective and diligent Al Rocker was for public safety. But the thing is, this wasn't Al Rocker standing in the street like he does on the Today Show, smack in the center of the action. It wasn't even the Al Roker who stands on the curb for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, with the noisy crowd. Rather, he and his co-host were sitting at a stand far down the road, probably a good half a mile away. It's not that no one on the parade route heard him, but that no one could have even possibly heard him. I suppose for some people it made for good, dramatic TV. For head-shaking others, it helped define the term, "grandstanding for the cameras."
What else I watched was fine. It doesn't have the sizzle of Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, but has far more charm. But TV doesn't do it justice, so I find myself a bit distant from it. On TV, everything looks like a...parade. No matter how often the announcers say that every float has to be covered with flowers, it still just looks like a...parade. For people in the area, though, if you can't make it to the parade that early or don't want to brave the crowds, or make the long trek to Pasadena, the floats are kept on display by the city for a couple days after. I've only done that once, but it was worth it. Up close, you can see the wonderful, seriously impressive detail of all the petalwork on everything. But more than that...it was far and away the best-smelling parade I've ever been around. The floral aroma is just wonderful.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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