"Mr. SCV" to lead annual Independence Day parade.
The Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade will have a familiar face riding in the Grand Marshal’s convertible.
Local pundit and award-winning writer John Boston, a local boy made good, is practicing his pageant wave for the Independence Day ride.
When we caught up with Boston on his cell phone, we asked him about the honor.
First he corrected us on the title.
“It’s Grand, pause for effect, Marshal,” he said. After a few repetitions, with the emphasis on the “grand,” he was satisfied.
“I am dumbfounded,” he said, kidding aside. “It is so cool, I mean I can’t get over it. I remember I used to ride in the parade with the equestrian marshals and that was the coolest thing.”
He recalled participating in prior parades, especially when he rode with Cliffie Stone’s sons Jonathan and Curtis Stone as “The Worthless Sons of Wealthy Landowners” and other times when he posed as bogus politicians to poke fun at the annual tradition.
“I think the Grand Marshal pays $5,000, doesn’t it?” he asked, innocently.
Boston also recalled that this would officially be the second time he was invited to be the Grand Marshal, but the first time he’d actually follow through.
“We played an enormous practical joke on the parade committee about 30 years ago,” he said. “Camille Jauregui was one of the most beautiful women on the planet and she and I went and had Hollywood glamour shots done. We used a lot of shadow and I wore a cowboy hat covering my eyes, so you really couldn’t tell who we were.
“We made up a bogus film company using my friend Phil Lanier’s Hollywood phone and address and sent the pictures to the parade committee. We said we were doing a miniseries on our own beloved William S. Hart and could we please ride in the parade?”
The entry was undoubtedly one of the best received that year and according to Boston, “the committee was doing chimpanzee backflips.”
“They called Phil’s number and said they’d be happy to have us ride, then a few days went by and they called back, saying they’d be happy to offer us a convertible. Camille and I thought what the heck, all these people would see it was us in the parade and laugh.”
What they didn’t anticipate was the committee’s next call.
“They called and asked us to be a division marshal,” Boston said. “Then a few days later, they said they wanted us to be Grand Marshal. We realized this had become the practical joke that backfired, so we wrote a letter on the bogus studio stationery telling them the film company had run out of money and the project was cancelled. We were like a couple of kids who got their hands caught in the cookie jar.
“Thirty years later and it comes back to haunt me, I really am the Grand Marshal,” he said, laughing.
Boston, who has written more than 5,000 newspaper columns and entertained an entire generation with his witty repartee, is also the recipient of several notable journalism awards, including the prestigious Will Rogers Humanitarian Achievement Award. He was named Best Humor Columnist in America by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and won both Best Serious Column and Best Humorous Column from the National Newspaper Association in 2006.
He lives in Newhall with his 5-year old daughter Indiana and his 85-year old father, Walt.
Despite the heat, his family might just be riding in the parade too.
“Wear a good cowboy hat and it doesn’t bother you,” he advised.
Parade applications and additional parade information are available from the parade website at www.scvparade.com. Completed applications may be mailed back to the committee or dropped off at The Signal (24000 Creekside Road, Valencia) or KHTS AM1220 offices at 27225 Camp Plenty Road, Suite 8 in Canyon Country. The firm deadline for parade entries is 5 p.m, June 27.