Sunday, August 25, 2019

Even More "America On Parade", September 1976

Just when you thought it was safe to look at this blog on a Sunday, you find yourself visually attacked with bad photos from "America On Parade". 

Here's a typical keelboat, much like the kind you might have seen on the Mississippi ("Commerical highway, romantic waterway"). There's dancin', and fishin', and snoozin', and maybe a little boozin'. 

The parade designers got fancy... the ornate thingamabob that these river folk moved represented the fancy gingerbread filigree on a Mississippi riverboat.

"Stagecoaches brought more and more people to the frontier, as pioneers left comfortable homesteads and headed further west". "Simi Valley Route", was that a real thing? 

Steam locomotives opened the west to the average citizen, bringing goods and passengers across the nation. Sadly, Pringles potato chips did not exist back then, so the trains didn't carry those.

"The traditional Sunday picnic brings out Americans' love for the fun food, like ice cream, candy, popcorn and hot dogs. But the all-time favorite and best snack of all is the giant jumbo sandwich!".  

Don't worry folks, there's only one more "America On Parade" post remaining. It will all be over soon.


Anonymous said...

I shouldn't have looked after midnight.
Here comes the return of the AoP nightmare.

K. Martinez said...

That giant stacked sandwich was one of my favorite AoP parade units. That and the giant record player with the Aristocats on it. I LOVE THIS PARADE!

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I seem to remember the "passenger" inside the stagecoach being static with the exception of her arm, waving that handkerchief around. Imagine being cast for that part, where all you do is wave your arm around for the entire length of the parade route!

Ken, I also loved this parade! I think everyone else loved it too, but they are just afraid to admit it! ;-)

Melissa said...

The keelboat float is adorable! If I didn't know better, I would think it was a little toy boat full of Howard Keel and Ruby Keeler dolls. I especially like the one with the fishin' pole.

The Wheeled Ornate Thingamabob (WOT) being pushed around by the overgrown lemon meringue Gaylord Ravenal action figures makes me think of that bit from the opening credits of The Monkees, where Davy is being wheeled down the street in a big wrought-iron bed.

"Sadly, Pringles potato chips did not exist back then, so the trains didn't carry those."
But streetcars still carried Rice-A-Roni, right?

The stagecoach and train are also charming and toy-like, but the artistry on that giant walking nightmare sandwich is incomparable. The onion slice alone is a masterpiece! Somewhere a Brobdingnagian Dagwood is drooling a river.

Nice crop of surreal goodness today!

Andrew said...

I always seem to notice new floats when I see pictures of this parade. All of these ones were new to me... except the big sandwich, that is!

stu29573 said...

I don't think I'll ever eat a sandwich again. The horror....the horror...

Gnometrek said...

At the back of the locomotive it looks like there is a piano player who is playing for some kind of performer up on a stage. Weird juxtaposition even for this bipolar, I mean bicentennial parade.

Melissa said...

Gnometrek, I totally missed the piano player and stage! You're right; that is weird. He must be playing "The Wabash Cannonball" or some other Boxcar Willie hit

Major Pepperidge said...

Anonymous, at least you have learned a valuable lesson.

K. Martinez, I have to admit that a giant sandwich is easy to love - though I’m a little surprised that they didn’t do a float that looked like a hamburger. I feel like burgers are perceived as a very “American” thing to the world.

TokyoMagic!, au contraire! Waving a handkerchief around for a long time is a skill that I am uniquely suited for. In fact I would have demanded extra pay because I would know that I was the real star of the parade. And yes, I guess I am afraid to admit that I loved this parade!

Melissa, if Ruby Keeler and Howard Keel had children, they would have had rich voices and been able to tap dance their way into our hearts. No one would be able to stop them! Yum, Rice-A-Roni, I like that stuff. I sure remember the opening credits of “The Monkees” - heaven knows I saw that sequence enough times. That sandwich is kind of fascinating, with the pimiento loaf, hard boiled eggs, sardine, cucumber, tomato, etc. Definitely makes me think of Dagwood Bumstead.

Penna. Andrew, I guess that’s the hallmark of a good parade - you can watch it over and over and notice something new every time.

stu29573, I’ll probably have a sandwich for lunch today! Spicy tuna salad, is my guess.

Gnometrek, I agree, the piano player stuck onto the back of the train is a bit weird. I guess it represents “The West”. They should have had somebody getting hit with a breakaway chair too.

Melissa, the piano player is performing “Crocodile Rock”, a favorite of the Old West.

Nanook said...

The piano player (along with the dancing girls) does seem like a strange 'appendage' to the train. But if you remember, this was one of two steam locomotives, on the same float - facing one-another - commemorating the Joining of the Rails at Promontory Summit.

The sandwich is definitely a scene-stealer. We need a shot of the giant popcorn box and ice cream cone to complete the meal.

@ Andrew-
It's easy to 'notice new floats', as I believe the parade had 50 floats.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Gnometrek, "Weird juxtaposition even for this bipolar, I mean bicentennial parade."

Ha, ha! That was a good one!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Please tell me once it's passed, so I can open my eyes, again. Thank you!


Nanook said...

@ Lou and Sue-

Remember... there are 50 floats-! Suggest you get comfortable.

Chuck said...

Last week's installment of AoP photos inspired me to listen to the parade's music track, which I hadn't heard since 1976. That took me back. The synthesizer/carousel organ soundtrack was perfect for the time and place.

Speaking of Mississippi steamboats, I was at a waterpark yesterday that overlooks the Mississippi and watched one of American Cruise Lines' sternwheelers churn past en route to points north. My eyes followed it wistfully, yearning in my heart to be aboard, seeking "real adventure 'round every bend." Then the guy behind me gave me a push and I found myself screaming as I descended rapidly from the top of a waterslide. I just wish he'd pushed me down the slide instead of over the safety rail.

Andrew said...

Chuck, with your description of the AoP soundtrack as "synthesizer/carousel organ" style, I had to look it up. I'm listening to it right now, and it's totally cool! I love both the tunes chosen and the sound of band organs, so thanks for tipping me off!

Chuck said...

Andrew, I figured that would be right up your alley. :-)


Both locomotives from the “East Meets West on The Rails” float featured vignettes at each end- the East “Union Pacific” featured the saloon piano player and can -can dancers , the West “ Central Pacific” featured a traveling carpet-bagger salesman that when he opened his coat he revealed his assortment of pocket watches for sale. Featuring these tag-on vignettes was genius from a designers point of view - as it tells the story of the boom towns and “civilization” that followed the transcontinental railroad. The music that played with this large float was “Ive been working on the railroad “ for the first half and “At a Georgia CampTown Meeting” .

Considering how popular America on Parade was nothing of it survives with the exception of a few Colonial Minute-Men Characters and Ben Franklin. Also the costume ( only the costume) to the “Lady in Pink” from the “Good Old Summertime” sequence.

Also on a side note, as the parade performers are designed to look like dolls, the floats are designed to look like toys. Also a last minute change to the parade was switching out Doll like Spirt of ‘76 characters on the lead float with Mickey, Goofy, Donald as the Spirt of ‘76.

More America on Parade please Major!!

Nanook said...

One again - you're our own little "D23" - perhaps even better.

It can't be stated enough: Thanks again.

Melissa said...

Yikes, Chuck, I hope you're OK!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I sort of like the giant TV (next week!) as well, though not as much as the sandwich, admittedly. Wow, were there really 50 floats? That had to have been one of the most expensive parades ever.

K. Martinez, as odd as this parade is, it still has a lot of charm somehow; it’s hard to explain. I feel like there was a genuine attempt to tell the story of America in an entertaining manner. And maybe they succeeded!

Lou and Sue, you are safe… FOR NOW.

Nanook, our photographer must have skipped many of the floats, because there were not 50 pictures in the batch. Perhaps at some point they realized that they were running out of film.

Chuck, oh boy, that synth soundtrack sounds pretty cheesy to me nowadays; maybe it was more impressive in the mid-1970’s. Speaking of synthesizers, we had a guy come into our grade school with what I am guessing was an early Moog, and he let kids take turns pressing keys. It was pretty neat. Ha ha, love your water park story; I guess the top of a waterslide is not the best place to get in touch with your inner dreamer.

Penna. Andrew, I don’t even have to listen to the soundtrack, I can practically hear it, just from memory! Aieeeee!

Chuck, nothing can beat the Baroque Hoedown for me.

Mike Cozart, thanks for the info, as always! It’s a bummer that so little of this parade survives, but that would be an awful lot to store. 10 warehouses for 50 floats! Do they still use the Minute-Men and Ben Franklin characters for other things? Interesting about them switching out the “Spirit of ’76” dolls for Mickey, Goofy, and Donald; I had a shirt with that design at the time and liked it a lot.

Nanook, yes, we get the inside scoop!

Melissa, Chuck just chuckled, dusted himself off, and beat the crap out of the guy who pushed him. GIT ‘IM, CHUCK!

Melissa said...

Speaking of the Monkees, Micky Dolenz bought the second Moog synthesizer on the market. I love when our little chats loop back on themselves.

Chuck said...

Melissa, that last line was a joke. I really just went down the slide, finding real adventure around every bend (and there were a lot of bends - it was a long slide). I really did scream for the fun of it, though. Sorry if I worried you.

JG said...

The best part is the sardine tail hanging out of the sandwich.

Thanks Major and everyone.


Nancy said...

love America On Parade (the big head characters) and that sandwich can feed everyone watching this parade!