Saturday, August 22, 2020

Parade Time

For no good reason, I decided to share a few vintage parade photos. Anyone who doesn't love parades can write a 4 page essay. Single spaced, and you must cite your references.

The first two are from a parade held during a "Calgary Stampede" event held in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada, yo!) each year in July. There's rodeos, and concerts, and food, and chuckwagon races, and hopefully at least one puppet show (hand puppets, not those damn marionettes!).

Why, there's more cowboy hats than you can shake a stick at. I didn't expect horses to be in this parade, but I'll allow it. This time. If I didn't know better, I'd say those horses were square dancing! Do-si-do, promenade.

Just look at the crowds lining the street, the folks in the shady parking garage have the right idea though it would be nice to be on the rooftops too. Notice "The Beachcomber". Need to know more? One website sez: The Beachcomber was a Canadian chain of elaborate Polynesian restaurants in the same vein as other popular chains like Kon-Tiki, Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic's. The Beachcomber reportedly was owned by Zane Feldman, the original owner of the Edmonton Oilers hockey team. The Beachcomber burned down, and there is now an office building in its place. They probably made one a them fancy flaming drinks, amirite?

Sometimes I think those Canadians are plum loco. But not these folks, they've got style that won't quit. If Detroit sold cars like this, we'd put those foreign auto manufacturers out on their ears. I can't help thinking that the bison head is going to sing.

Next is this undated photo, but the photographer helpfully labeled it, Hazel Park, Michigan - it shares its southern border with Detroit! They still do an annual Memorial Day parade, so I'm going to postulate that this photo is from one of those. Walt Disney would approve of the children in costumes of the world. There's even a hula girl (maybe Hawaii had become the 50th State that year?)! A small but feisty herd of Brownies sit in the float with the planet Urf, protecting it as if it was a giant egg. Nearby may or may not be a white dove of peace.

Gimme that station wagon!

Doing a search of Hazel Park via Google Maps, I believe that this intersection at 24101 John R. Road and E. Annabelle Avenue is the location of the parade photo. Interesting that the building on the corner is still an appliance store.

I hope you have enjoyed today's parade photos!


Nanook said...

"If Detroit sold cars like this, we'd put those foreign auto manufacturers out on their ears". But, Major... Detroit did sell a car like this-! Why, it's none other than a 1957(½) International Harvester 'Travelall'-! (I suppose the Detroit models only offered the Bison head as a part of the 'even-toed ungulates Group'.

And as much as the Calgary Stampede has the reputation for greatness, I'm afraid my heart lies with the 'plain folk' of Hazel Park, Michigan, and their wonderful 'hometown' parade. And besides, those young gals are walking behind a 1956 Pontiac 'Chieftan' station wagon - in Bolero Red/white-! [Olé].

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

My favorite pic is of Hazel Park with the Brownies on the float. I remember my sister Julie wearing her brown cap and uniform before heading to her Brownie troop meeting when she was a little girl. I found the brown caps kind of humorous.

Nice station wagon too! Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nice parade pics, aye! I see at least two people with both legs hanging over the rooftop, in that first pic. That's pretty gutsy, aye! What's to keep them from falling?

Those poor little animals! Oh, the indignity of it all, to be killed and then have your carcass sprawled out on somebody's floor or hung on their wall...or car! But it does look like a fur protestor, has already thrown red paint on the lady in the passenger seat.

Why don't Girl Scouts sell brownies?

Andrew said...

Charles Phoenix would like all of these images. It's sad that we will never see people sitting on the edge of fifty foot high rooftops to watch a parade again.

stu29573 said...

Ok, since you asked, my favorite one! Being from Texas I can dig their Crazy Canadian Cowpolk vibe! Plus, any time you can sit on a tall roof with your legs hanging over, well don't turn that down!
I will give honorable mention to whomever build "Urf" in the other picture. Great job, Marge!
I'm also digging the vintage wagons. You know, a few years ago if it wasn't a Chevy Nomad, no self respecting car guy would look twice at a wagon. Now, they're all the rage! I'm more of a 1964 Ranchero guy myself, but I wouldn't turn a nice family wagon down on a bet.
Fun pics today, Major!

Chuck said...

I got to go to the Calgary Stampede as a part of the 1983 World Scout Jamboree. The place was just jammed with Scouts from all over the world.

While I enjoyed the arena events, the unlimited passes we had to the amusement zone stand out stronger in my memory. Lots of classic flat rides, an overhead chair lift ride, and inflatable dome showing a film similar to The Chevy Show, a carnival wax museum, and a classic carney attraction where a woman is turned into a man in a gorilla suit before your very eyes, then attacks the bars to its cage and knocks them loose before the tent curtains are pulled for your "emergency" escape. If I'd only taken pictures...

I also had an interesting conversation with a couple of national staffers from the Boy Scouts of America. A couple of buddies and I waiting in line to get lunch and weren't really paying any attention to the adult leaders behind us, when I heard one of them say "Well, why don't we ask these guys?"

They had our attention.

"What do you guys think about the possibility of women being Scoutmasters?"

I blinked, slightly confused, and said "I thought we already had women Scoutmasters." I hadn't met any (and have since learned that there weren't any official ones at the time) but I'd seen photos in the uniform catalogs of women in Boy Scout leader uniforms and had made some assumptions. My pals both said something like "yeah, me too."

One of the men turned to the other and said "I think we have our answer. If today's boys can accept it, why can't we?"

Five years later, the BSA dropped its gender requirements for the Scoutmaster position. I don't claim credit for that - that was the result of a long series of events that included court cases (which the BSA won) and women who unofficially led Scout troops because no men were available or willing to do so - but I've often wondered if that conversation and others like it with boys like me helped reshape thinking at the national level.

Melissa said...

”I can't help thinking that the bison head is going to sing.”

Welcome to the Country Polar Bear Jamboree, eh? It’s just like the Disney show, but with Gordon Lightfoot songs.

I love the “It is a diminutive planet, all things considered” float, too! That Brownie troop must have stayed up all night making tissue paper flowers to cover the dove.

JC Shannon said...

Who doesn't love a parade? A great Saturday treat. I like the small town versions the best. In Montana, we have parades and rodeos combined. In summer, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting one. At almost all events and parades, Oh Canada is played as well as our anthem, and the Canadian Flag is flown as well. Great pics today, thanks Major.

JG said...

Well, generally I don’t love a parade, but I’ll make an exception for these.

Major, it’s neat that you found street view of that spot with the appliance store that stands the test of time.

I’m especially liking the rig covered with skins and heads, it has that “handy-hands-at-home” feel for decorating with what is available.

Also digging the suspended formwork on the concrete tower in photo 1.

Let’s all meet at the Beachcomber after the parade and have some mai-tais made with Crown Royal.


"Lou and Sue" said...

Great pictures and commentary today!! Major, you found a couple gems!

My palms started to sweat when I saw those couple guys hanging BOTH of their legs over the rooftop.

JG, I generally don't love a parade, either...a parade automatically signals something in my brain to run to POTC or HM, for no lines. (I've found that I do LOVE watching a parade on GDB, with Jr. Gorillas, though!)

Though Mike Cozart's saloon gal picture is still in the running for Picture of the Year, I think the trophy club car is a close 2nd. (I wish we had a picture of what that car was towing!)

Did you notice the nice touch of added greenery to the front of that trophy club car? Tastefully decorated.

Chuck said...

Major, any idea when the Calgary Stampede parade photos were taken? It has to be 1965 or later based on the Canadian flag, but do you have anything indicating a more precise date?

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I meant if they sold cars like that TODAY! 60+ years ago doesn’t do us any good. The Hazel Park parade reminds me of one that I went to in Austin, Minnesota. Kids dressed as M&Ms (in home-made cardboard costumes), the local newscasters were the big celebrities… it was charming.

K. Martinez, gosh, your comment made me remember that my sister was a Brownie too. I’d completely forgotten that! And yes, that station wagon is awesome, the two-tone paint job is very pleasing.

TokyoMagic!, there is nothing cooler than dangling your legs over the edge of a building! I once went to a party that was in a four-story building, and at one point I went up to the roof to see what was going on. I still remember feeling panicky as I watched one girl walking right on the edge of the building without a care in the world. I know folks were on “ecstasy” (not me, I was the designated driver), and wondered if she was on anything. My brain kept imagining her having one tiny misstep. Girl Scouts can’t sell brownies because it just ain’t right.

Andrew, there are still parades that go through towns - like Pasadena’s Rose Parade, and most of the buildings on Colorado Blvd are (or were no taller than two or three stories. I wonder if people sit up top with their legs dangling?

stu29573, I always forget that other countries have their own cowboy history; Australia; Argentina (and other South American countries that got into cattle); and of course Canada. The politest cowboys! I agree, that globe is pretty great, I wonder why Africa is painted pink? I would take that station wagon any day!

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, the Calgary Stampede and the World Scout Jamboree in the same city? There wasn’t a hotel room to be had for miles! “I’m sorry sir, the Bridal Suite is occupied by a dozen Boy Scouts, they’ve set up their tents in it. We have no other rooms”. The amusement zone sounds awesome, and the description of that “woman turns into a gorilla” reminds me of something that was at a carnival when I was a kid. I think it said it was right from some James Bond film, and a woman turned into a gorilla. My mom wouldn’t let me go in to see it, but she let my older brother go. There can’t be a Bond movie where a woman turns into a gorilla, can there?? I like your story about the male leaders asking about women being Scoutmasters. They sound like they were reasonable fellows, which is nice to hear. These days it could have been quite different. You were enlightened and didn’t even know it! I guarantee that there were many people who tore their hair out at the thought of women leading Boy Scouts, so good for you.

Melissa, I like a few Gordon Lightfoot songs, but am a little baffled as to his apparent huge fame. I think that the hula girl’s skirt is made with colored strips of paper (with a real skirt under it for modesty’s sake of course).

Jonathan, one of the things I miss about going to visit my grandparents in Minnesota every summer was the 4th of July parade. Or sometimes we were there for the Spam Jam (the Hormel factory was one of the major employers for the town), you could have your picture taken with a walking can of Spam, taste Spam treats, or watch the Spamettes perform onstage.

JG, I am not crazy about parades at Disneyland because there is usually so much else to do, and they are an obstacle to be avoided, but a parade anywhere else is just fine! The modern street view of Hazel Park, Michigan looks pretty sleepy and deserted, but maybe it was taken early in the morning (those long shadows).

Lou and Sue, I’ve had these scans sitting on my computer for YEARS! See my comment to JG! Don’t you have any parades near you? I guess there’s the big St. Patrick’s Day parade in town. Dye that river green! That one might have more than the recommended daily allowance of drunks, which is not much fun. Whatever the car was towing in photo #1, I’ll bet it involved more dead animals.

Chuck, unfortunately the Calgary Stampede slides did not have a date stamp, so I can only speculate. I would have guessed 1967 or 1968 just based on the general look of things, but it’s just a guess.

Melissa said...

”...World Scout Jamboree. The place was just jammed with Scouts...”

So that’s why they call it a JAM-boree! (Sorry, couldn’t stop myself.)

Being a Bluebird was fun, but I confess to being jealous of Brownies in their cute uniforms!

Nanook said...


That James Bond film would be Diamonds Are Forever, 1971. And the place with the woman/gorilla switcheroo... Circus Circus, Las Vegas.

Melissa said...

I had it mixed up in my head with the time Marlene Dietrich wore a gorilla suit in Blonde Venus.

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-
It's an easy mistake to make.

JG said...

@Sue, yes, the GDB views are fine. I can watch sitting down and take a break when needed.

When I was a kid, we went to the Homecoming parade in the little near my home, there were people on the roofs like this.

@Chuck, our troop had several women ASMs. They went on campouts and outings like the men, several did challenging Grand Canyon hikes also. No big deal anymore, the ladies are welcome members of the troop. Amazingly, normal adults are capable of behaving like normal adults. I believe your comments had influence at some level. We asked the boys every year what they liked and what should be changed, I’m sure other troops did similar. The changes most often requested by our group was for difficult outings, hence our Death Valley, snow camp, Half Dome, Mt. Whitney, and Grand Canyon Trips.

@Nanook Jill St. John!

Major, thanks for this post.


Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, more fruit-spread puns, please!

Nanook, my gosh, I never believed it! I’m sure I’ve seen “Diamonds Are Forever”, but don’t remember a girl to gorilla scene. Weird.

Melissa, um, what?

Nanook, I need a photo of Marlene Dietrich in a gorilla suit (though I don’t believe that’s real either).

JG, the town where I went to high school used to have annual parades that were really cute, but they stopped them, saying that they cost too much and that there wasn’t enough public interest. It seems hard to believe, it always seemed popular. Sad that this little piece of Americana is no more. And I agree, if many people echoed Chuck’s positive attitude toward women as Scout leaders, it had to help tilt the balance. It’s a nice story in these not-nice times.

Chuck said...

The Jamboree was actually in Banff National Park; they just bused us to Calgary for the day.

Major & JG, the funny thing in light of that conversation is that the troop I am currently associated with hasn't had any women assistant scoutmasters (ASMs) in the 7 years we've been associated with the troop. We have and have had many women involved in the troop committee supporting the unit behind the scenes, but none working directly with supervising, training, and camping with the boys. We haven't hung a "no gurls alowed" sign on our clubhouse - it's just that none of the moms involved in the unit have an interest in camping (and we've asked repeatedly).

JG said...

Chuck, at our peak, we had about 50 BSA-trained ASM in uniform, about half were Wood Badge trained, and about a quarter were women.

However, I think only about half of the men ever went down range, and maybe 5-6 of the women. Most of the women did work direct with youth and many taught merit badges, but most were not campers and fewer still were back country hikers. We had some popular “car camp” outings (to sites with flush toilets), that were more widely attended.