Posted: Friday, December 15, 2017 – 2:26 PM
A holiday ritual for my family back in the 1960s for the Holiday Season was a trip to see the lights at Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills, right off the 101 freeway. Four streets all decked out for Christmas and there were even some blue and white lights for Chanukah. The holidays were one joyous and far more innocent time of celebration. Store windows had painted on images of Santa, Frosty and Rudolph. Season’s Greetings was the banner and candy canes were passed out by many local businesses and at school that final week before vacation.
Today, over 50 years later, Candy Cane Lane exists not only in Woodland Hills but this year Beverly Hills just went off the chart with its own holiday light display. This is Disneyland level, I keep saying to my wife Brigitte and our daughters Sofia and Olympia, now 11 and 9, are still excited to see our first class Santa at The Paley Center and take in some classic TV specials in the theatre. Christmas and Chanukah come together so beautifully in Beverly Hills.
I still marvel at the magical glow at night of the colored bulbs, particularly when I have one of my favorite Christmas CDs on in the car, which is now courtesy of YouTube streaming, like A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Ventures Christmas album, Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift For You, Herb Alpert and Tijuana Brass, and of course Sinatra’s A Jolly Christmas. I even enjoy Chanukah Carols, a Jewish comedy album from the early ’60s with actor Stanley Adams (Breakfast At Tiffany’s) doing Yiddush versions of Christmas classics.
Beverly Hills is the most spectacular holiday city I have ever seen and that includes Disneyland, because here in Beverly Hills I can see the display without driving 50 miles to Anaheim and fighting huge crowds for a chance to see my favorite attractions, The Enchanted Tiki Room (still the best most private bathroom in the park), Alice In Wonderland and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, with its day glo colors and whimsy.
We are all so lucky to have Beverly Hills looking a lot like a life-size version of one of my favorite Christmas toys, the Lite Brite (which Disneyland used to great effect on the Main Street Electrical Parade.)
Happy Holidays to all my neighbors and catch you at Santa’s chair this weekend at the Paley. Still putting finishing touches on my list for this year.