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On Vin Scully’s 86th Birthday, A Chance To Reflect On Dreams Come True

The one and only time floated down Colorado Boulevard was six years ago, atop a Dodgers-themed work of art that marked the 50th anniversary of the team arriving in Southern California. All the rich blue colors came from ribbon irises and scissored statice, accented with white mums, red carnations and 1,500 bird of paradise stems to boot.

“Really, it felt as if I was a little kid back in New York, and my father had the 20 cents on a Sunday to take the Fifth Avenue ride on the bus — the one that had no top,” said Scully, who was joined on the float by players, former manager Tommy Lasorda, and even Dodger Stadium organist Nancy Bee Hefley.

“We made that turn onto Colorado, and to me it was like going down the middle of the Grand Canyon with all the people in the bleachers on either side. The impact was overwhelming. It took my breath away.”

When the Dodgers’ Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster is escorted back down the main route of the 125th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, it’ll be of much grander proportions. Scully, the 2014 parade’s grand marshal, will also be celebrating his 65th season as the voice of the Dodgers, who made it to the National League Championship Series last October.

Scully, who turned 86 on Nov. 29, discussed this latest honor, as well as all that goes into it:

Question: Is it true that part of the requirements for this honor is having to grow all new rose bushes in your garden?

Answer: (Laughing) Absolutely. And my wife Sandi will take care of all that. She’s the chancellor of agriculture. We do have a lot of roses and she loves taking care of them. It’s a very happy scene.

Q: So what are the official duties, other than to be in Pasadena in the middle of the night, find the right car and make sure you have a cup of warm chocolate?

A: Really, the only job qualifications are that you have to be alive and be able to wave. So far, so good.

Oh, it’s not just showing up for the parade, as you may well imagine. There are a lot of appearances, lunches, media groupings. At first, I may have been reluctant to accept all that. I’m not much for being in a parade, and maybe instinctively I shied away from it. But the more I thought about it, it is a rather prestigious moment and, gee, if I turned it down, it would probably hurt a lot of people’s feelings. I didn’t want to do that.

It goes back to the old line about squeezing the juice out of life before life squeezes the juice out of you. This is the perfect moment to meet a lot of nice people, to see what’s going on, see the inner workings. I’m now excited and thrilled to be part of it.

I know one thing that’s important are the numbers attached to this one — 125th parade, the 100th Rose Bowl. That gets you pumped up. The numbers here are just as important as if you’re in baseball and you’re hitting .299 and trying to get to .300.

Q: When you think of the Rose Parade theme — Dreams Come True — what comes to mind from your experiences?

A: My life has been the fulfillment of a dream. I wrote for the nuns an essay when I was 8 years old on what I wanted to be when I grew up. The boys were all about being policemen and firemen and doctors and lawyers, while the girls were about nursing or ballet dancers or becoming mothers. There was no TV and just a few things on the radio, maybe a Saturday afternoon football game between Ohio State and Notre Dame. So when I said I wanted to be a sports announcer, that was way out in left field. So when I eventually got that job with the Dodgers, in December of 1950, when I was 23, it really was the fulfillment of a dream just 15 years later. That’s rather remarkable in itself. I have a great deal to be thankful for.

Q: In 1966, you broadcast the Rose Parade for ABC with Elizabeth Montgomery. You had been doing game shows and other sports for the networks at the time, but that must have felt like a whole new experience for you.

A: What I carry around in my mental book from that is, first, Elizabeth was the queen of television at that time on “Bewitched,” and she was the sweetest person, both feet on the ground, so wonderful.

I remember that morning we had all this ice water on the ground, and I’m sure her feet were freezing, but she never complained. We got to the platform to do the broadcast, and maybe it was eight steps to get up there, and all of the sudden she stopped and froze. I said, “What’s wrong?” She said, “I have a terrible fear of heights.” And this wasn’t very high. I’d done golf tournaments where we’d climb a tower maybe 20 feet high. This might have only been eight feet off the ground.

So I said, “OK, walk behind me, put your face into the small of my back and put your arms around me.” Which wasn’t a bad assignment for me (laughing). She hugged me for dear life as she negotiated the steps with her eyes closed, we got to the table, sat down, turned toward the open space, and we were all OK. That’s the last thing any of us thought would happen just moments before going on the air. But for some reason, she was bewitched by heights.

As for the parade, the fun part was doing the research. They gave us this large binder that had all the floats described in them. But I enjoyed doing more research. There was one float from China with all these dragons on it, and that piqued my curiosity. “Why is it that we always talk about dragons and China?” There was one person at the network so impressed with all that extra research that she asked if she could have my notebook for a future broadcast. I probably should have kept it as a memento, but I just gave it away.

Q: Can you believe how detailed and mechanically advanced these floats have become over the years?

A: Some of the floats that have won all kinds of awards in the past, I’m kind of flabbergasted at what they’re able to do with them.

Q: Part of the job is to also flip the coin before kickoff at the Rose Bowl. Did you ever want to broadcast a Rose Bowl Game?

A: No, not really. I think I’ve only been to one game — when UCLA played Minnesota (in 1962). I was asked to be the toastmaster for the Rose Bowl lunch, and Bruins coach Bill Barnes was there and all his players. I think I went to the game for a little while, but didn’t stay the whole time.

Q: How do you envision the experience of being the grand marshal?

A: I don’t expect to be on camera much, just give one big wave and that’ll do it, right? It’s not as if I’ll be jumping from one float to another like Groucho Marx (laughing).

Q: Just as long as you take the time to stop and smell the roses, right?

A: Every day of my life I do that, for sure. ___

(c)2013 the Daily News (Los Angeles)

Visit the Daily News (Los Angeles) at www.dailynews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Earlier on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow

  • Vanessa Manjarrez, Nicole Nelam, Sonia Shenoi, Madison Teodo, Victoria MacGregor, Tracy Cuesta, Kate Benuska. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

    The 2013 Rose Queen and Court are seen in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Queen Vanessa Manjarrez is at top center, with princesses, clockwise from top right, Nicole Nelam, Sonia Shenoi, Madison Teodo, Victoria MacGregor, Tracy Cuesta and Kate Benuska. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Jane Goodall

    Jane Goodall, of England, famed for her work with chimpanzees in Africa and for her efforts on behalf of endangered species everywhere, is seen in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • A woman smiles from the float “Wonderful Indonesia” from the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economies, Republic of Indonesia_the winner of the President’s trophy for the most innovative use and presentation of flowers_ in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Protesters with the Occupy movement carry signs and characters to protest the foreclosure practices of banks including Wells Fargo after the conclusion of the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The Dole Dreaming of Paradise float is the winner of the Sweepstakes trophy, for the most beautiful entry, in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The “Cycling Through Paradise” float from China Airlines, winner of the International trophy for the most beautiful entry from outside the United States, appears in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The University of Wisconsin Marching Band performs in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • A woman waves from the “Cycling Through Paradise” float by China Airlines, winner of the International trophy for the most beautiful entry from outside the United States, in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Volunteer David Burney from Milwaukee helps put the finishing touches on the RDF TV rose float in Pasadena Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

  • Workers prepare Honda’s “Follow Your Dreams” Rose Parade float, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, in Pasadena, Calif. The Rose Parade is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • The 2013 Rose Queen and Court ride a float in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Queen Vanessa Manjarrez, top center, appears with princesses, clockwise from top right, Nicole Nelam, Sonia Shenoi, Madison Teodo, Victoria MacGregor, Tracy Cuesta and Kate Benuska. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The 2013 Rose Queen Queen Vanessa Manjarrez rides a float in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The Dole float “Dreaming of Paradise,” winner of the top prize_ the Sweepstakes trophy for the most beautiful entry_ makes its way in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • The float “Freedom Is Not Free, ” sponsored by the Korean War Commemoration Committee, appears in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The Kaiser Permanente float “Oh, The Healthy Things You Can Do,” winner of the Theme trophy for the best presentation of the parade theme”Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” makes it way in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • A member of the Stanford University Marching Band wears a Wisconsin Cheese head hat while performing in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The La Canada Flintridge float “Dino-Soar,” winner of the Animation trophy for the best display of animation, makes its way in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • A flying penguin, part of the float “Tuxedo Air,” build by Cal Poly Universities_ winner of the Bob Hope trophy for the most comical and amusing entry_ appears in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The “Follow the Stars… Adopt A Pet!” float built by the Beverly Hills Pet Care Foundation, winner of the Lathrop K. Leishman trophy for the most beautiful entry from a non-commercial sponsor, appears in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • O.T. Triplett, who has worked the Pasadena Tournament of Roses since 1989, smiles while wearing a rose sticker before the start in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Dancers perform on a float featuring Disney’s “Cars Land” in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The float “Wonderful Indonesia,” from the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economies, Republic of Indonesia_ winner of the President’s trophy for the most innovative use and presentation of flowers_ appears in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Special effects explode on a float featuring Disney’s “Cars Land” during the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The Rose Parade float “Freedom Is Not Free” by the Korean War Commemoration Committee is seen in Pasadena during the final judging of floats on Monday, Dec 31, 2012 prior to the kick off of the 124th Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. The Defense Department for the first time will put a float in Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses, one of the most watched parades, to commemorate the veterans from a conflict that still casts a shadow over the world. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

  • Jane Goodall, the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees looks over flowers in Pasadena, Calif., Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. Goodall will be the Grand Marshall of the 2013 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif. New Year’s Day. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

  • The Stanford University band, known for their colorful nonconformity, march in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Stanford will play Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl football game. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Nicole Angelillo, Gerald Sapienza, Sean Valentine

    Newlyweds Nicole Angelillo and Gerald Sapienza, both of Chesapeake, Va., kiss aboard the Farmers Insurance “The Love Float,” in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. The couple, married aboard the float just minutes earlier by nationally syndicated radio personality Sean Valentine, center, are the winners of a national promotion by Farmers. Others are unidentified. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Other Wisconsin band members are reflected in the tuba section as the band marches in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Wisconsin will play Stanford in the Rose Bowl football game. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Performers with the PAVA World Korean Traditional Marching Band march in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Dressed in their signature white suits, tournament members push a utility truck off the parade route in the early morning hours prior to the start of the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The float carrying the spirit squad for Stanford University, which will face Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl football game, is seen in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • A Tournament member rides a scooter down the parade route in the early morning hours prior to the start of the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The California Polytechnic Universities’ float, “Tuxedo Air,” is the winner of the Bob Hope trophy for the most comical and amusing entry, in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Eric Pazz, Eric Pazz Jr., Miriam Pazz

    The Natural Balance Pet Foods float, “Canines With Courage,” is the winner of the Past Presidents’ trophy for the most innovative use and presentation of flowers, in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Seated at the front are Army Sgt. First Class Eric Pazz, waving, and his wife Miriam and 4-year-old son Eric Jr. after their surprise reunion on the parade route. Miriam Pazz had been told she had won a contest to attend the parade and did not know her husband, who was deployed in Afghanistan, would be there. He got off the float in front of their seats, to a standing ovation on their reunion. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • A flame shoots out above a rose volcano on the Dole Dreaming of Paradise float, winner of the Sweepstakes trophy for the most beautiful entry in the 124th Rose Parade, in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The California Polytechnic Universities’ float, “Tuxedo Air,” is the winner of the Bob Hope trophy for the most comical and amusing entry, in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Eric Pazz, Eric Pazz Jr., Miriam Pazz

    The Natural Balance Pet Foods float, “Canines With Courage,” is the winner of the Past Presidents’ trophy for the most innovative use and presentation of flowers, in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Seated at the front are Army Sgt. First Class Eric Pazz, waving, and his wife Miriam and 4-year-old son Eric Jr. after their surprise reunion on the parade route. Miriam Pazz had been told she had won a contest to attend the parade and did not know her husband, who was deployed in Afghanistan, would be there. He got off the float in front of their seats, to a standing ovation on their reunion. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • In this photo provided by Hannah Storm, ESPN anchor Hannah Storm, left, poses for a photo with co-host Josh Elliott, anchor for ABC’s Good Morning America, on the parade grounds of the Rose Parade on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Pasadena, Calif. Storm hosted the Rose Parade telecast Tuesday in her first on-air appearance since sustaining first- and second-degree burns to her face, hands, chest and neck in a propane gas grill accident Dec. 11. (AP Photo/Courtesy Hannah Storm)

  • Olympic gymnasts Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney ride in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Protesters from the Occupy movement and others lead an “unofficial” parade entry after the last unit of the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Korean War veterans and others ride the float “Freedom Is Not Free ” sponsored by the Korean War Commemoration Committee in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. The float depicts the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • The BOSS, Bands of Santiago Sharks, from Santiago High School in Corona, Calif., marches in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • The Donate Life float “Journeys of the Heart” carries people who have received donated organs along ith relatives of donors in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. The relatives of donors each hold a portrait of a donor. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Army Sgt. First Class Eric Pazz kisses his wife Miriam as his son Eric Jr. watches during the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Miriam Pazz had been told she had won a contest to attend the parade and did not know her husband, who is deployed in Afghanistan, would be riding on the Natural Balance Pet Foods float. Pazz is a highly-decorated soldier who has also served in Iraq. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Army Sgt. First Class Eric Pazz rides with his wife Miriam and son Eric Jr., after they were reunited in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Miriam Pazz had been told she had won a contest to attend the parade and did not know her husband, who is deployed in Afghanistan, would be riding on the Natural Balance Pet Foods float. Pazz is a highly-decorated soldier who has also served in Iraq. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The Donate Life float “Journeys of the Heart” carries people who have received donated organs and relatives of donors in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Members of the Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team ride their horses in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The Indonesia Ministry of Tourism float “Wonderful Indonesia,” the winner of the President’s trophy for the most innovative use and presentation of flowers, appears in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • The Pasadena City College Honor Band performs in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Nicole Angelillo, Gerald Sapienza, Sean Valentine

    Newlyweds Nicole Angelillo and Gerald Sapienza, both of Chesapeake, Va., ride the Farmers Insurance “The Love Float,” in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. The couple, married aboard the float just minutes earlier by nationally syndicated radio personality Sean Valentine, center, are the winners of a national promotion by Farmers. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Bundled in blankets, people wait on the street in the early-morning cold before the start of the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/30/vin-scully-birthday_n_4362638.html

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