Bishop’s main parade responsibility was getting the float to the staging area. On New Year’s Eve, he and his team would leave Glendale about 11 p.m., pick up the float and head toward Orange Grove.
Bishop and two others walked alongside the float.
“Don Bourrette was driving it,” he said. “We were only going two or three miles per hour so people could walk right along.”
They were escorted by a police car, driven by George Keasey.
“We had an official police escort for one big reason,” he said. “There were lots of people, some wanted to get flowers off the float. So we had two men, Jimmy Smith and Bob McKay, on either side of the float. They did a good job of keeping people away.”
The entourage arrived at the staging area about 2 a.m., positioned the float in its assigned spot and then waited for the judges’ arrival about 7 a.m.
“I’d introduce myself to the judges, then get in the car and head for home to watch the parade on television with my wife, Betty,” he said. “It had been a long, cold night.”
Bishop assembled his team for a group photo with the 1966 float, “Peacock Throne.” Sam Coleman’s design, honoring Persia’s history, featured giant peacocks with great curling tails made of tens of thousands of vanda orchids, according to the Nov. 22, 1965 Glendale News-Press. It won the Queen’s Trophy.
When Bishop became director of parks and recreation, he headed all float activity. He vividly recalls 1972’s “Winter Wonderland,” also by Coleman, depicting a horse-drawn sleigh traveling over a bridge. Miss Glendale, Sheila Mellinger and Dodger pitcher Don Sutton, who lived in Glendale at the time, rode in the sleigh.
“That was a beautiful float,” he said.