Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, junior gorillas! I have some neat old photos of a holiday parade - undated, but certainly from the mid-1950's. This is Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade, but it generally has a Christmas theme. Santa Claus makes an appearance!

The parade moved south along North Broad Street; a jeep pulls a float sporting a fearsome and very toothy dragon, while knights of the crusades march alongside. I love that old signage in the distance.

A group of mummers march toward us, wearing their typical feathered costumes and playing banjos. When I lived in Pennsylvania, there were commercials (a special offer!) for recordings from mummers, and I thought it was the strangest thing. "What's with all the feathers?". Notice the Broadwood Hotel in the distance, and the white tower of the Inquirer Building.

Industrious elves are loading up a big bag of toys for the Salvation Army. Dolls, footballs, chemistry sets, jump ropes... that kind of stuff.

I'm glad that this float is labeled "Cinderella", because I would have been stumped, otherwise. That coach looks nothing like a pumpkin! There are some footmen, presumably former mice. I can't see Cinderella herself from this angle.

"Four and Twenty Blackbirds" - this float was based on the nursery rhyme, "Sing a Song of Sixpence". You all remember! All of those blackbirds were baked into a pie; "Wasn't that a dainty dish, to set before the king". It sure was, Timmy... it sure was.

Most of the floats mention Gimbels Toyland; just imagine what collectible wonders could be found there. If you knew then what you know now....! This float has a children's choir, and an organist in a bowler hat.

Oh boy, there his is... SANTA! I hope he doesn't hit his head on that Mobilgas sign. Saint Nick is accompanied by a bevy of beauties dressed in snowy white.

Better take another picture just in case. Aha, now I see that the beautiful ladies are "Snow Maidens". I feel so foolish.

A large marching band continues along North Broad Street. The flag bearer carries a 48-star American Flag; that flag was in use for 47 years, lasting until July 4th, 1959 when Alaska became the 49th state.

I'm still away from home; whatever your beliefs (or lack thereof!), I hope that all of you have a warm and wonderful day.


Nanook said...


What - no Hula-Hoops-?? (I think these images pre-date that playful 'invention'). I can't help but wonder what that [apparent] giant snow bank is surrounding the horses of Cinderella's carriage. Some carriage, too. It appeared to be thrown-together with left-over theatrical supplies - from some pink "fur", some odd green, shimmering do-dads, some miniature gold lion heads as part of a crown-?? and three gold finials - (I'll bet there were supposed to be four); and one about to fall over. It's all so folksy.

No matter - Merry Christmas to one and all.

K. Martinez said...

Man, do I love the old fashioned parade floats in today's post. These are great! Thanks, Major.

Merry Christmas to all!

TokyoMagic! said...

Hey, all of those reindeer have red noses! What gives?

I wonder which would be worse for Santa....banging his head on that Mobilgas sign, or having his sleigh fall forward, while a giant bag of toys lands on top of his head? Did everyone see the footage of that happening to poor Santa last week at Disneyland? I hope Santa sued Disney!

Merry Christmas to all!

Chuck said...

Oh, boy - a real, old-fashioned Christmas parade!

Note that the three Jeeps pulling floats are all driven by uniformed servicemen. The first photo shows a hatless, pea-coated sailor in a gray-painted Navy Jeep, the four-and-twenty blackbirds float is being driven by a Marine, and the children's choir is being towed by a soldier (perhaps an airman is marshalling a balloon somewhere just out of frame). All three drivers are slouching pretty badly. Not sure if they were told to be inconspicuous, or if it's just a natural reaction to those low-backed seats.

Across the street from our vantage point is 128 N. Broad, which at this point in history was the local home of the Veterans' Administration. Today, the front of that building has been opened up with more windows, brightened up with red paint and is the home of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The building to the north (to the right) is still an indoor parking garage to this day.

Dig those double-breasted police overcoats in the last frame. It's like something out of the 1950's. Er, wait...

Speaking of Christmas parades, don't forget to watch the Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade on ABC (10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EST, 9:00-11:00 a.m. CST/MST/PST; airtimes vary, check local listings) for a special sneak preview of Galaxy's Edge! Or don't, and enjoy the time with family and friends some other way. Above all, have a Merry Christmas, everyone!

Irene said...

What a great post today. It screams Christmas! I am reminded seeing this Santa of the Santa in a "Christmas Story" telling Ralphie, "you'll shoot your eye out kid". I did see video of Disneyland Santa being pitched forward from his perch! I understand he stayed in character as he didn't want the kids to be upset (probably too late for that!). He also walked ahead of the float the rest of the parade route. I am friends with another of the Disneyland Santa's who is not doing that gig this year. He said that Santa called him right after it happened to assure him he was OK. I have taped the Disney Christmas Day Parade. This is so I can skip through most of what to me is just one big commercial for Disney and all the young hip performers that I have no idea who they are. I just want to see the stuff about Galaxy Edge :) Merry Christmas everyone. Have a wonderful day.

Sunday Night said...

Great pics! The choir float is especially interesting with its 3 microphones attached to stands on the sidewalk side. Maybe the speakers and amplifier were hidden under the upper bench. The little cut-out angels are really cute.
I also noticed that a few of the floats did not have tires, rather they had old fashioned spoke type wheels.

The antlers of the reindeer are really far out man!

Merry Christmas all.

Gnometrek said...

Thank you Major from a proud junior gorilla. I grew up in the Philadelphia area during the 60's and 70's. I recall that the parade ended when Santa climbed a ladder on the side of the Gimbels building to enter Toyland.

Melissa said...

Merry Christmas to all my GDB family! You give me so much joy all year long, and I hope you're getting some of that back.

Picture #1: cool dragon! The color guard/drill team ladies look a wee bit tired and out of step, but damn, their white shoes are immaculate!

#2. Beautiful costumes indeed! It looks like each of them has the whole tail of an albino peacock.

#3. Nice float, Sally Ann. While you were at the parade, I was out stealing all your obnoxious fire-alarm-sounding bells.

#4. D'awww, those pageboys are cute as the Dickens. And check the little girl in red in the far left of the crowd - she's really rocking that adorable coordinated winterwear. I can't tell if she's holding a matching purse or muff, but either way she's eye-catching.

#5. Pointy, pointy pies.

#6. The choir float is the best! I wonder if those big pipes behind and around the organist are functional or decorative? They look a bit rickery to be working.

#7. Dig the glam antler coiffures on the reindeer! They could respectably pull the sleigh of any 1980s pop band.

#8. There's no maidens like snow maidens,
Like no maidens I know!
Winter's ice about them is congealing,
A frozen smile beneath each icy nose!
Nowhere could you get that happy feeling
When skin is peeling from frostbit toes!

Nanook said...

@ Melisa-
I'm thrilled to hear we-all bring you joy throughout the year, 'cause you sure bring a great deal of joy to this 'family member'-! The things you see and the things you say are so-often funny and incredibly-original, I find myself laughing out-loud - something I tend to reserve for only truly funny moments. It's hard to simply say 'thank you', as that hardly seems enough for all those times of joy; but hopefully that will send the proper message of thanks. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

JG said...

What Nanook said.

Also, pretty much what everybody said.

GDB and all of you are essential parts of my days.

Thank you, each of you.

Best regards.