The Hollywood Christmas Parade (formerly the Hollywood Santa Parade or Santa Claus Lane Parade) is an annual parade that takes place on the Sunday after Thanksgiving in the Hollywood community in Los Angeles, California, United States. The parade follows a 3.5-mile route along Hollywood Boulevard and features various celebrities among its participants.
Beginning in 1928, Hollywood merchants transformed a one-mile stretch of Hollywood Boulevard into "Santa Claus Lane" to boost shopping. Part of the promotion was a daily parade featuring Santa Claus and a film star. Originally called the Santa Claus Lane Parade, the inaugural event featured only Santa Claus and the actress Jeanette Loff.
The parade continued to grow in scale with the help of local businesses and the community. In 1931 Santa Claus rode a truck-pulled float instead of the reindeer-pulled carriage of previous years. American Legion Post 43 marched with a color guard, drum line and bugle corps.
The Parade was suspended from 1942 to 1944 due to World War II, but reopened in 1945 with record attendance.
In 1946 Gene Autry rode his horse in the parade and was inspired by the children yelling "Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus," to write the song "Here Comes Santa Claus" along with Oakley Haldeman. Autry would become a perennial Grand Marshal of the parade.
The parade continued to grow throughout the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, adding floats, animals, bands and celebrities. By 1978, the parade had been renamed the Hollywood Christmas Parade in order to attract more celebrities, and was broadcast locally on KTLA-TV with the help of Autry and Johnny Grant. This change also coincided with a shift in the parade's scheduling from Thanksgiving Eve to the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
In 2004, an attempt to present the parade as a primetime special on NBC proved disastrous. Executive produced by Bob Bain, the hour-long "Blockbuster Hollywood Christmas Spectacular" aired on December 1 on NBC, but ratings were a flop. The following year, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced it would discontinue airing the parade on KTLA and other Tribune Broadcasting stations due to rising production costs.
In March 2007, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce decided to end the parade's run due to lack of celebrities and a loss of $100,000 for the 2006 production, which The Associated Press said cost about $1 million to mount.
However, later in 2007, the City of Los Angeles created a new parade to replace the Hollywood Christmas Parade, entitled the Hollywood Santa Parade and produced on the weekend after Thanksgiving (the original parade had traditionally been held on the Wednesday evening before the holiday). Participation in the new parade became by invitation only, and Bob Barker, fresh from his farewell tapings as host of The Price is Right, was that year's Parade Grand Marshal. 2007 and 2008, KTLA had aired the new parade on a tape-delayed basis.
It was later announced that MyNetworkTV would telecast the 2009 parade (with the Hollywood Christmas Parade name restored) in two consecutive prime-time showings: the first scheduled for December 10, the second for Christmas Eve night. The parade was then produced by Associated Television International with the 2010 and 2011 parades also being produced by ATI. The parade then aired on The Hallmark Channel, and then later aired in syndication throughout the United States.
- 1932 - Joe E. Brown
- 1972 - General Robert E. Cushman, Jr.
- 1978 - Bob Hope
- 1979 - Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner
- 1980 - Gene Autry
- 1981 - Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
- 1982 - Ron Howard
- 1983 - George Peppard
- 1984 - Michael Landon
- 1985 - William Shatner
- 1986 - Mickey and Minnie Mouse
- 1987 - James Stewart
- 1988 - Tony Danza
- 1989 - Sammy Davis Jr.
- 1990 - Arnold Schwarzenegger
- 1991 - Charlton Heston
- 1992 - Rosanne and Tom Arnold
- 1993 - Bob Hope and his wife Dolores
- 1994 - Louis Gossett Jr.
- 1995 - Tony Danza
- 1996 - David Hasselhoff
- 1997 - Tom Arnold
- 1998 - Robert Urich
- 1999 - Beau Bridges
- 2000 - Frankie Muniz, Dennis Hopper
- 2001 - Peter Fonda
- 2002 - Mickey Rooney
- 2003 - Johnny Grant
- 2004 - Magic Johnson
- 2005 - Antonio Villaraigosa
- 2006 - George Lopez
- 2007 - Bob Barker
- 2008 - Regis and Joy Philbin
- 2009 - Susan Lucci
- 2010 - Larry King
- 2011 - Marie Osmond
- 2012 - Joe Mantegna
- 2013 - Buzz Aldrin
- 2014 - Stevie Wonder