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Celebrities Bring Early Christmas Cheer to Hollywood


Larry and Shawn King in Hollywood, 28 Nov 2010

Larry and Shawn King in Hollywood, 28 Nov 2010

The holiday season got an early start in Hollywood with the annual Christmas parade on Sunday. The eight-decade tradition included dozens of celebrities and thousands of their fans.

There were marching bands, holiday floats, equestrian units, and, of course, the star of the parade - Santa Claus. Hollywood stars also took part. Television interviewer Larry King was grand marshal.

More than 50,000 spectators came to see the celebrities, including actress Donna Mills, who perhaps is best known for her role in the television series Knots Landing.

"It's a wonderful way to kick off the Christmas season," said Mills. "It really officially starts now. Now that it's officially starting, it's wonderful! It's a wonderful, happy occasion."

Actor Dick Van Dyke presided over a float based on his 1960s children's film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Other celebrities rode in classic cars.

Actress Kate Linder, star of the daytime television drama The Young and the Restless, said she was thrilled to be involved in a part of Hollywood history.

"I love Hollywood! I was very honored to receive a star on the Walk of Fame," said Linder. "It's right out there, actually. It's right down that street. So Hollywood is a great place! It's a great tradition. I like that fact that we are preserving that."

Actor Louis Gossett, Jr. noted that the parade has been a Hollywood tradition since 1928.

"It's very special, after all these years, still ticking," said Gossett.

One visitor from Philadelphia was happy to see so many familiar faces from TV, including the talent show American Idol and the musical comedy series Glee.

"It's awesome! You definitely don't get any of this down in Philly," said the visitor.

On a more serious note, actor Louis Gossett, Jr. spoke about his feelings as Christmas approaches.

"My thoughts and wishes is that there should be an end to racism; there should be an inclusion of love in the hearts - more of a responsibility of the grown to teach our young people a better way of life, for the young people to open their ears and listen, for the cessation of war, for the cessation of hunger," he said.

Actress Kate Linder said her thoughts this holiday season are with members of the U.S. military who are serving overseas, away from their families.

Performer Duane Laursen of the Western rope-trick group Broken Horn Ropers noted that although Christmas is nearly month away, the holiday spirit has come to Hollywood.

"Merry Christmas, have a great New Year, Happy Holidays," Laursen. "It's going to be a good one."

Los Angeles residents can watch an even bigger parade a month from now. The annual Rose Parade on New Year's Day will feature flower-decked floats in nearby Pasadena. One million people are expected to line the streets, and many millions more will view the parade on television.

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