After a hiatus in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Hollywood Christmas Parade returned tonight, moving through the streets of Tinseltown with its 89th edition to mark the unofficial start to the holiday season — though one still being celebrated in the shadow of COVID-19.
Sheryl Underwood, a host on the CBS daytime show “The Talk,” was the grand marshal of Sunday’s parade, which began at Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Street. The parade was conducted on a 3.2-mile, U-shaped route, with its estimated 5,000 participants traveling east on Hollywood Boulevard to Vine Street, turning south on Vine Street to Sunset Boulevard and then west along Sunset Boulevard and back to Orange Avenue.
Musicians Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. of The Fifth Dimension were among the 61 celebrities and VIPS scheduled to take part, along with actors Danny Trejo, Tom Arnold and Lou Ferrigno, as well as Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow from the 1957-63 CBS and ABC comedy, “Leave It to Beaver.”
The parade also featured 11 character balloons — each some four stories high — plus equestrian units and marching bands, including the San Diego-based U.S. Marine Corps Band; the Mira Costa High School Marching Band and Color Guard from Manhattan Beach; the PAVA World Traditional Korean Band from Los Angeles; the Los Angeles Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums; and the Los Angeles Catholic Schools Band from Torrance.
There were also 49 movie and television cars, including “Back to the Future” DeLoreans, the “Ghostbusters” Ecto-1,“Smokey and the Bandit” Trans- Am, the “Munsters” coach, the “Rockford Files” Firebird and the “Magnum, P.I.” Ferrari.
The parade concluded with an appearance by Santa Claus along with his reindeer. The parade has been held every year since 1928, except from 1942 to 1944 due to World War II and last year, when it was canceled because of the pandemic.
The Hollywood Christmas Parade was first held in 1928, when it was called the “Santa Claus Lane Parade.” Comedian Joe E. Brown was the first grand marshal in 1932 — a role later filled by such luminaries as Bob Hope, Gene Autry and Jimmy Stewart. The parade will be broadcast as a two-hour special on The CW Dec. 17 at 8 p.m.