Friday, October 11, 2013

Conjuring an Anaheim Ritual

omething is brewing down in the dungeons of ‘…But It Wasn’t Always That Way’. Rest assured in peace, our recent absence has been a silence of just cause. We’ve been busy, you see – Not lost in a steam-powered time slip to the Primeval World, nor have we lost our heads to the enigmatic Jungle tradesman (not literally, at least). Ginger and I have been getting our hands dark and dirty with the 89th annual Anaheim Halloween Parade! We’ve spent our weekends painting, constructing, laboring, and loving... all in the spirit of our favorite Celtic carousal: Hallowe’en!

The parade itself has an older history than its neighboring attraction, Disneyland, and one that is just as rich in the cultural roots of the city of Anaheim (which, by the way, we learned was named by the Germans for its ‘view’ of the Santa ‘Anas’). Debuting in 1924, the parade was once an honored and thriving tradition of the then-small town of Anaheim, particularly in the 1950’s. Excitement and efforts for the parade have waned since the 1980’s, but this year the design team of Kevin Kidney & Jody Daily have gotten their talented and mischievous little claws on the production, and hope to steer the parade right back to its gory-ous luster!

When the cat and witch together are seen, there's mischeif brewing on Hallowe'en.

You’ve surely seen the illustrious results of Kevin & Jody’s talent if you’ve been to Disneyland lately. Besides supplying hungry vintage Disneyland nerds like us with sweet morsels of retrofitted merchandise and art found in the Disney Gallery, they designed the Soundsational Parade currently running every day in the park. They are also responsible for the drink-supplying tiki paradise, Trader Sam’s, located in the Disneyland Hotel. (Don’t act like you haven’t enjoyed the fruits of that labor.) Most recently, the pair bestowed their talents to Tokyo Disneyland’s 30th Anniversary Parade, ‘Happiness Is Here’.  In short, these gentleman know design, they know parades, and they are a force to be reckoned with this All Hallow’s Eve. For more proof on the matter, just sift through their facebook page for a minute (or a hundred) and see Mr. Kidney’s blog.
You would laugh too if you had seen what the Moon saw on Hallowe'en!
Enjoying the art of these two visionaries is only half as sweet as experiencing it first hand. Not only do Ginger and I get to frolic around in a fountain of Hallowe’en spoils, we’ve been able to do so under such inspiring and esteemed artisans as Kevin & Jody. And if it wasn’t enough that I could howl their praises all night, we’ve also had the fortune of working with a wonderful team of people as well. Builders, craftsmen, artists, and enthusiasts… They’re all just the loveliest townfolk you could ever dream of celebrating your favorite time of year with.

One touch of the wand and elves appear on Hallowe'en, but have no fear... They only come for mischief and fun. This night is their's till the rising sun...
The spotlight tale of this parade is one of hope and rebirth; hope that it will once again flourish and stir the community with a sense of celebration, bringing them together once again as it did half a century ago to regale in one of history’s most colorful, diverse, and spirited holidays. With the event still weeks away, the community really has come together and already shown that the Anaheim Halloween Parade has plenty of (after)life coursing through its veins. Pretty retro, i’n’t it? I can’t say enough times how enriching it is to be a part of it, and the great news is: Anyone can! The parade – preparation and execution – is open to any and all. You’ll never hear the phrase “room for one more” in our spookhouse; there's room for everyone! The more, the scarier!

If you should see a spook or two, you shouldn't let it frighten you...
One final thought: It would be unfair, if not controversial, to compare anyone to Mr. Disney, but I will say that this experience has brought me a stone’s throw closer to knowing the excitement and distinction of manufacturing within that holy grail of rooms, the Imagineering Department. You know, that simplest of office spaces always seen in the old Disneyland specials….
With the likes of Mary Blair, Rolly Crump, Marc Davis and so on just going about their crafty little business. It’s quite an acclimation to make that kind of lofty comparison, but with so many talented and friendly people under the same roof, toiling away with such merriment and cheer as they do, all for the love of Hallowe’en and the encouragement of Kevin & Jody’s artistic prowess, you can’t help but feel the grandeur of it. We truly are making magic. Black, of course.

See you on Saturday, October 26th!


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