Thursday, January 1, 2009

King Kong, Godzilla And The Creature From The Black Lagoon At The Rose Parade

Written By: Ken Hulsey
Source: The Whittier Daily News (My Hometown Newspaper...FYI)

Happy New Year Monster Maniacs!

The residents of Pasadena will need to be on alert today, when King Kong, Godzilla and The Creature from the Black Lagoon invade their city. Well.....maybe invade gives the wrong impression. How about, roll down their street.

The Trader Joe's company has a float in today's Rose Parade that is sure to bring joy to monster movie fans. The float entitled, "Saturday Matinee", will feature larger than life likenesses of King Kong, Godzilla, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The lone Ranger and characters from the Wizard of Oz.

The is also a very touching story that involves the float as well.

The float will also feature some very special riders. Jack and Jessica Laidlaw from Sylmar, who were chosen by Trader Joe's to ride on their float. You see, they both lost their home in the November wildfires that raged through Southern California.

The honor is especially touching to Jack Laidlaw, a film and art teacher at Arcadia High School, who lost his lifelong collection of movie memorabilia in the fire. "It's just a real honor," he said. "I tell everybody, `How many people do you know that have ridden on a Rose Parade float?' I was just dumbfounded."

Trader Joe's vice-president of marketing, Jon Basalone, even went as far as to consult Laidlaw on what items should be included on the float. Under his suggestion, movie posters for "Giant" and the original "The Day the Earth Stood Still" were added to the float.

"That was nice that they would ask me what I wanted for the movie posters," Laidlaw said. "I was trying to keep it to 50s stuff."

Something amazing happened to the family on Christmas Eve. Four fire engines arrived at the home where Jack and Jessica have been staying since the fire. About a dozen Arcadia firefighters presented them with $1,000 and a $250 gift card.

The firefighter had reportedly learned of the Laidlaw's plight from a feature article in the Pasadena Star-News. Since that article ran, the family has been blessed with other random acts of kindness and generosity.

Twenty-one year old Jessica is excited for her father today, yet she can't forget the tragedy that has touched their lives, "It's hard. At some point I'll start to think about things I lost and I can't replace," she said. "My dad and I, we've always been really close, and this has just brought us closer."

It is touching to learn of such a tragic story. Yet the Laidlaw family remains close and hopeful for the future.

I will contact the author of the Whittier Daily News article to see how anyone can help the Laidlaw family if they wish........

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