As we wrap up the majority of this year's Rose Festival events and the sailors return to sea; today we explore Mother Dear's 1960s Rose Festival antics. She's pictured above as Miss Fleet Week in the mid 1960s with Earl Mossman, the self proclaimed "Mayor of Broadway" and a mystery lady. Comedically crowned Miss Fleet Week in the Merry Khana parade of 1967, she's seen here wearing a pink leotard with black gloves seated on a mink stole because if there's one thing that hasn't changed in Portland, it's the rain and chilly weather that almost always accompany Rose Festival week. Peter Corvallis shot this photo for The Oregonian.
Vaudvillian performer, Earl Mossman continued to entertain until his dying day and was known for bringing talent and entertainment to Portland in the December of his fascinating life. He would come into my grandfather's store and ask if Mother Dear would be available to join his bevy of attractive ladies in any number of parades throughout the years. Photo by Chuck Von Wald, The Oregonian.
Here we see one of Mother Dear's first rides as one of Earl Mossman's "Visiting Councilettes." The newspaper clipping points out that "Mary Lynn is planning a career in television and is one of 25 students attending the exclusive National Academy of Broadcasting in Washington, D.C." They go one to explain that the Academy was run by Alice Keith, "The First Lady of Radio." She was associated with the Victor Company, long before it joined Radio Corporation of America and at one time taught music at Columbia University. I imagine Ms. Keith was very experienced by the time she was running the Academy. They also mention Mother Dear's modeling in her days at St. Mary's Academy and an appearance on Konnie Worth's Telescope Show on KGW-TV.
The whole crew would stop by the Ray Bolger Clothier location on Broadway where this photo was taken.
Earl Mossman knew better than anyone that it is not what you know, but in fact WHO you know. Joe Fisher Ford loaned him what we think is a 1964 Ford Galaxie convertible. What Mother Dear remembers about this photo now is the pink linen suit dress she was wearing. Also that this parade was to hell and gone out in North Portland. I believe it was one of the first few St. John's parades which began in 1962.
This heavily decorated car from Fred Bauer is one of my favorites. The Glass Palace serves as an excellent backdrop for this kitschy covered Chevrolet convertible courtesy of Fred Bauer. This photo is a fine example of the value of a good photographer. Photo Credit: Leonard Bacon, Staff Photographer, The Oregonian.
This is a profile snapshot of the same car/float. Bonus points if you can spot Mother Dear in this photos. It took me awhile. Hint: You can't see her face.
I've been watching my dear friend's seven year old son while working on this blog post. He's become quite an expert at spotting Mother Dear in vintage photographs. First he said it was because she was always in white. After pointing out she's wearing black in this photo from 1965 we determined the best way to spot her was to look for the person dressed a little differently than everyone else.
This amusing clipping from a St. Patrick's Day parade also served as advertising for the show Mother Dear was doing at the time. I remember her telling me about the Merry Khana parade as a child. It was a lit evening affair that picked up in 1925 where the original idea left off. The first illuminated nighttime parade in Portland was atop our street car system in the year of 1907 when we began celebrating the Rose Festival.
1967 may have been her last parade. Clowns in billowing suits with elastic cuffs and hems were filled to the brim with miniature bottles of alcohol. Firefighters spraying "leggy" and "curvacous" women (and their Ed Hamilton furs) with their hoses. By 1972, the last year of the Merry Khana, retaliating parade goers were dousing the crowd with water balloons, ice balls and gutter water. In this newspaper clipping, you'll notice the firetruck and fighters who may have started it all when they kept spraying the convertible of councilettes in front of them. I trust they were all fully "gassed." After doing some googling I found a much better copy of the above clipping here along with a slide show of many 1960s Rose Festival photographs from the Oregonian.
These adorable snapshots look to have been taken on the first floor of the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum. I have my own closely held memories of The Glass Palace and am always excited to see it in person or on film. Click any of the pictures above to view them as a larger slide show.
I have my own various Rose Festival memories. Back in the late 2000s, I received a call from Bill of The Beaterville Cafe. Initially he wanted to know if I would be a Beaterville Babe, but thought I was more of a Beater Queen type. I had many a tiara but thought that the role of Queen would require something more dramatic. Despite poor quality photos, I bid on a rhinestone crown I found on eBay. It originally belonged to a woman in Pennsylvania who won a beauty pageant in the 1960s. It now resides in my Vintage Emporium on display up high for all to see. Turned out it was much larger than it's measurements implied.
I rode with the Beaterville band in many a parade from Good In The Hood to the St. John's parade. On one occasion a team of my lady friends joined me as we rode in the Starlight Parade along with The Rebuilding Center.
These wonderful memories were captured by Christopher C. Allen Photography.