Sunday, Monday, Happy Trails

The 123rd Tournament of Roses Parade ended with a dead horse! The finale was a float sponsored by RFD-TV to honor the late Roy Rogers. It had the actual Trigger (and the dead dog Bullet) mounted on it. The taxidermied Trigger and Bullet were purchased by RFD-TV a year and a half ago. The parade rolled through Pasadena today instead of yesterday due to their “never on Sunday” rule.

Living in California made me appreciate the Rose Parade. Living in Knoxville made me appreciate the television coverage of the parade. I had already moved to Los Angeles when my family finally joined me on New Year’s Eve many years ago. The next day we watched KTLA’s all-day repeats of the parade in an apartment with no furniture.

As always, I skipped ABC’s and NBC’s coverage and opted for the commercial-free broadcasts from HGTV and KTLA (via the Hallmark Movie Channel). HGTV’s coverage is far superior but I still watch the KTLA telecast for nostalgic reasons. It was obvious that KTLA gave short-shrift to HGTV’s Dream House float. It got barely any screen time while the too-numerous equestrian entries were each on camera much longer.

Prior to the parade, HGTV aired an excellent hour-long special on the making of their float. As a result, I knew what details were missing from KTLA’s coverage. Over on HGTV, they even showed the far side of their float as it passed by. Back when my family and I volunteered to help decorate Burbank’s floats, we noticed that more attention was paid to the “TV side.” They even had it marked as such during the building and decorating process. Speaking of Burbank, I was a little disappointed that US Bank’s Idea Factory was basically the same idea as the City of Burbank’s Dream Machine. I thought that the parade committee discouraged those similarities.

The “Surf’s Up” float from Natural Balance Pet Foods included a huge wave pool. HGTV got lots of great shots of a bulldog named Tillman and other canines surfing in the pool before the float turned the corner onto Colorado Boulevard. Tillman was supposed to surf again while the float paused in front of KTLA’s cameras. Perhaps the turn or the slight downhill grade caused a problem. Either way, the wave pool didn’t work, which necessitated several minutes of awkward ad-libbing by Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards. Later, Bob had no problem ad-libbing about horses when a delay caused the Roy Rogers Palomino riders to stop.

I was impressed with KTLA’s Micah Ohlman, who graciously played third-banana and seemed unflappable, especially compared to Bob and Stephanie. In the past I couldn’t get over the resemblance between Micah’s voice and that of his uncle, long-time Los Angeles anchorman Paul Moyer.

On HGTV, the Avon Marching Black & Gold played Stevie Wonder’s “SirĀ  Duke.” On KTLA, they turned the corner and played Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You,” although without words it sounded like the original R-rated version of the song. Another great musical performance came from the Crestview High School Big Red Machine, which stopped and turned toward the TV microphones to play the James Bond theme.

Kyoto Tachibana High School Green Band got a huge response from the crowd. On HGTV, they did “Bad Romance” and the “Super Mario Bros. Theme.” On KTLA after the turn, they played “Sing Sing Sing,” which happens to be one of my all-time favorite big-band songs. Unfortunately Hallmark interrupted every marching band with a loud voiceover promoting their upcoming movies. However, if Hallmark hadn’t ruined the musical performances, I wouldn’t have been motivated to search for the band online and I wouldn’t have found a video of them from the 32nd Annual Pasadena Tournament of Roses Bandfest on Saturday. They’re great.

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