vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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Merry Christmas from 'Santa Claus Lane'

I sincerely hope you and yours are having a most joyous Christmas, filled with the true spirit of the season...which isn't defined by what you received under the tree. In honor of Christmas, here are some photos of Hollywood Boulevard as it appeared for the holidays during Carole Lombard's lifetime.

First, from 1929:

A daytime and evening shot from 1930:

Jump ahead to 1934, and note the sign referring to "Santa Claus Lane." That was the nickname given to the Boulevard by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to promote it as a holiday shopping destination. A parade by that name was annually held in late November.

In 1946, Gene Autry took part in the parade -- the first held after several years of wartime restrictions -- and after hearing children yell "Here comes Santa Claus!", he came up with the idea for a song by that name. Autry co-wrote it and it became his second most-famous holiday recording, right after the one about that caribou with the crimson honker.

Speaking of western stars, here's Leo Carrillo with Santa at the 1937 parade:

Carrillo, whose family lineage dated back to the early days of California, was a longtime member of the state Beach and Parks Commission. A beach and park near Malibu is named in his honor.

Also from 1937, a worker installs a decoration:

For the past few days, we've ended each entry with seasonal sounds; today, we'll close the series with two. First, the last record by the man who revolutionized American popular music through both his playing and his singing -- but here, he does neither of those things. It's Louis Armstrong reciting "The Night Before Christmas" in February 1971, five months before his passing. He does it as only Armstrong could, with the warmth and gentle humor you'd expect from the man; one can easily imagine Louis inviting the neighborhood kids to his house in Corona, Queens to hear him tell the tale.

The second piece is in honor of sportscaster George Michael of "Sports Machine" fame, who died early yesterday at age 70 after battling cancer. Before his long tenure as a sportscaster, Michael was an excellent Top 40 announcer, working on WFIL in Philadelphia and the legendary WABC in New York. I'm certain he played the following song many a time during the holiday season -- John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)":

Let's indeed hope 2010 "is a good one, without any fear."

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