December 29, 1993 |
On a slate gray day as damp and dank as death itself, the memory of the African-American composer who 90 years ago outfitted Mummers with golden slippers was bought back to life at Merion Memorial Park. "It's time we became aware of the guy who gave us our music," said Joe Saggio of the Downtowners Fancy Brigade. A creative genius born in 1845 into a free Negro family in New York state, James A. Bland attended Howard University. He left before graduation to pursue a career in musical theater.
December 28, 1993 |
The prospect of foul weather on New Year's Day is of paramount concern to the Mummers. Low temperatures won't be a problem. It's rain, snow or both - along with high winds - that play havoc with their suits, ruin plumes and put a damper on their ability to make mirth. When Mummers decide early New Year's Day whether to parade - weather permitting - they gather at the managing director's Emergency Operations Center, in the Fire Administration Building basement, 3rd and Spring Garden streets.
December 30, 1993 |
How many Mummers are there? A whole bunch - but not as many as you think. The Mummers themselves, as well as city and tourism officials, have routinely estimated 20,000 or more. But nobody ever counted. Mike Strug, producing Saturday's KYW-TV (Channel 3) telecast for the Lenfest Group, did the next best thing in preparing for the parade. "Every time I heard Mummers mentioned, I heard the figure 20,000 to 25,000," Strug said. "This time, I actually asked people how many were marching.
April 12, 2002 |
Where else can you dress like a woman and not get in trouble?" inquires one burly South Philly fellow in Strut! - Max Raab's affectionate cheesesteak of a movie celebrating the centuries-old tradition of strumming string bands, festooned fancy brigades, and beer-blottoed cross-dressers that is the City of Brotherly Love's New Year's Day pride and joy, the Mummers. A straightforward documentary that takes a look at the past, present and future (see pipsqueaks in plumage!) of Mummery, Strut!
January 18, 1989 |
The Mummers parade was a unique form of New Year celebration in Philadelphia neighborhoods for more than a century before it was officially recognized by the city in 1901. And for generations, the New Year's Day festivities were never postponed. During the first 50 years that the parade was an organized event, it was postponed only nine times; during the next 20 years, nine times and during the last 10 years, six times. The weather in Philadelphia has not changed that much; it is the Mummers' refusal to march at the slightest sign of inclement weather that has changed.
July 18, 2010 |
July 15 looked more like Dec. 31 at the South Philly clubhouse of the South Philly Vikings Fancy Brigade, as the Mummers and friends put finishing touches on 29 uniforms. The Vikings, who won their division Jan. 1, are bound for Hollywood on NBC's America's Got Talent , and their costumes and props headed west Friday. Is America ready for Mummers? Were these Mummers ready for national TV? No. The Vikings' Pete D'Amato says they initially turned down the producers, who had caught a video of their performance and offered an audition.
February 13, 1988 |
Ventnor City String Band is getting most of its prize money back. After finishing in last place, the Mummers' newest string band was disqualified by city officials after the New Year's Day parade because it violated an obscure rule about commercialization. The band had failed to cover up the company logo painted on a truck rented to transport props and costumes. Under parade rules, the cash prize Ventnor would have earned simply for participating - $1,248 - was forfeited and divided among the other 24 string bands that marched.
January 1, 1991 |
After the fog, the rain, the snow, the weird heat and humidity, today's weather should be perfect - and perfectly wintry - for a parade. Mummers can expect sunny skies, with temperatures heading from 20 degrees at sunrise to a high of 38 degrees in the afternoon, accompanied by light winds to ruffle floats and backpieces, and a chill in the air to keep spectators moving. "Gorgeous weather. Almost ideal," meteorologist Bob Stauber of the National Weather Service predicted yesterday.
December 31, 1986 |
The bidding was fierce between three local television stations this past summer for the exclusive broadcast rights to the Mummers parade. Emerging from the scuffle with a smile on its cameras and a contract to air the parade for the next five years was KYW-TV, Channel 3, which outbid channels 57 and 10. And after spending an estimated $600,000 for the rights to telecast the parade, Channel 3 general manager Jim Thompson decided the Mummers parade...
December 8, 1994 |
All right, they'll do it. But just this once. After much grousing, the Mummers have reluctantly agreed to go along with Mayor Rendell's plan for a New Year's Day parade on Market Street instead of on Broad. Rendell promised jugglers, stilt walkers, a South Philly food fest, free shuttle-bus service from South Philadelphia - even toilets - to lure people to Market Street. And he promised they'd be back on Broad in 1996. Construction for the Avenue of the Arts drove the Rendell administration to move the parade.