A glitzed-up ride down Hollywood Blvd.
By Valerie Kuklenski
Remember the Hollywood Christmas Parade, that quaint annual exhibition of stars perched atop convertible trunks? The creative types behind the Blockbuster Hollywood Christmas Spectacular are betting that, after you see this year's affair, you won't really miss the old version.
With Blockbuster involved and NBC's national exposure, this 71st annual holiday event promises to be at least three parts Hollywood, one part parade. In addition to the stars on convertibles, there will be pyrotechnics, stunts and other studio-conceived showstoppers at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has been working with L.A.-based marketing company Global Icons to get more mileage out of its famous trademarked properties, the Walk of Fame and the Hollywood sign. Jeff Lotman, CEO of Global Icons, suggested jazzing up the chamber's parade with the kind of flash-bang spectacle the public expects from Hollywood. His proposal led to multiyear deals with NBC and Blockbuster on what he says will be Los Angeles' only annual event aimed at drawing tourists from across the country.
The 2 1/2-hour parade will take place Dec. 1 before an estimated 1 million spectators, with an hourlong edited version shown Dec. 8 on NBC. "We're really committed to put as much of it on the street as possible," Lotman said.
"We're not Macy's (Thanksgiving Day Parade), we're not the Tournament of Roses," he said. "We're very focused on leveraging the assets of Hollywood -- music, film, television."
Bleachers will be on Hollywood Boulevard from Orange to Highland, and folding chairs or blankets are welcome for the rest of the route down Highland and east on Sunset. Organizers recommend arriving by 4 p.m. Premium seating and skyboxes may be booked through www.hollywoodspectacular.com