History Mystery No. 41

May 8, 2016

Mystery History croppedWhere are we? And what’s happened?

In this Jan. 2, 1933, a young man in an east Indian or Middle Eastern costume (it’s hard to tell) covers a seat on a float for the 44th Rose Parade.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find which float it was. The photo description simply states, “Young man in costume constructing a Tournament of Roses Float, Pasadena, 1933.” Of course he wasn’t constructing the float — he was doing some finishing touches.

There are photos of some of the 1933 floats and dignitaries here.

The theme of the parade that year was Fairy Tales in Flowers. Mary Pickford was the grand marshal—the first woman to be selected for this honored role…




.… and Dorothy Edwards (sitting at top) was the Rose Queen.




The parade making its way down Colorado Boulevard:




Fast forward 81 years and the theme of the January 1, 2014, Rose Parade was “Dreams Come True.”

Vin Scully was Grand Marshal (which meant, also, that he tossed the coin at the opening of the Rose Bowl Game)…




… and the Rose Queen was Anna Marie Acosta (center).




Do you know there was one year when the Rose Parade was canceled? On December 14, 1941—one week after the bombing of Pearl Harbor—it was decided that the 1942 Rose Parade would not take place for reasons of national defense and civilian protection. The Rose Bowl Game, between Duke and Oregon State, was played on the opposite side of the country in Durham, N.C. The streets of Pasadena must have been eerily quiet that day.

On January 1, 2012, it was the thrill of a lifetime when I rode on the Kiwanis International float in the Rose Parade thanks to my wonderful friends.


Parade Isabel Chavez


I love a parade!




Ann Erdman is happily retired after decades of loyal service to the City of Pasadena as Public Information Officer. Her blog may be found at







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