Friday, 21 December 2012


This is the time of year they really put the tinsel in Tinseltown.

There’s been an accusation going around for years that nothing in Hollywood is real. Christmas-time is ample proof, though the reason is more meteorological than cinematographical. Thus the wintery weather in the movie capital is no Miracle on 34th Street. It’s as crafted as any big-budget blockbuster sequel.

United Press columnist Aline Mosby looked how some of the stars of 60 years ago got their neighbourhoods into the Christmas spirit—and appearance. This is from newspapers of December 24, 1952.

Even Hollywood Manages To Look Christmas-like
(United Press Hollywood Correspondent)

HOLLYWOOD (UP)—The orange is on the tree and the blonde in the swimming pool, but this land of cactus and sunshine manages to look like the good old North come Christmas, anyway.
It snows about half an inch every 27 years around here. Yet the movie stars and other citizens load their streets and homes with plastic reindeer and snow just as though everybody knew what it was all about.
Comedian Danny Thomas each year puts up a $1000 nativity scene on his front lawn among the palm trees and rose bushes in Beverly Hills.
Fancy Santa.
The sun also beats down on a mammoth $5000 Santa who’s climbing down comic Bud Abbott's chimney in the San Fernando Valley. This Santa waves his arms and shouts “Merry Christmas” via a phonograph. Abbott’s thrifty neighbor across the street merely puts up a sign on his lawn saying, “See our display,” with an arrow pointing toward the Abbott abode.
Glamour girls like Peggy Lee hang sequin-sprinkled artificial snowballs on their Christmas trees. Other stars, including Ruth Hussey, sprinkle fake snow on the real trees out in front. Esther Williams strung lights on a sycamore tree that forms an arch over her front door. One studio art director deco-rated his Christmas tree with ermine tails.
The Boulevard.
The lamp posts on Hollywood Boulevard sag with three-ton, eight-foot metal Christmas trees. Each is ablaze with 150 colored lights. Overhead dangle 300 aluminum six-foot bells and four-foot stars. The total effect is $125,000 worth of colored spots before your eyes.
Every night Santa Claus, who the rest of the year wears yellow shirts and grows lemons, rides down the boulevard. Bleached snowflakes, known as snow out here, flies from the glittering sleigh.
When Hollywood’s Santa Claus lane parade was launched in 1927 Santa’s sleigh was pulled by a camel to match the climate. The beast got tired and sat down half way down the street.
Neighboring Beverly Hills hung red bells on the lamp posts. A huge Santa, sleigh and six of the world’s largest (this is California) reindeer ride overhead. Wilshire boulevard features metal trees that bleat Christmas carols.
Roy Rogers plays Santa in North Hollywood’s parade. Christmas day, though, many celebrities will head to even warmer Palm Springs, where decorations on the thorny Joshua trees light up the sand.
One nearby town has a huge neon “Merry Christmas” on the hillside.
Not even Hollywood thought of that.

Tomorrow: Christmas cards of the stars.

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