Sep 7, 2013

Dragoncon 2013 Parade

Here is my coverage of the epic Dragon*Con parade, with video! This is the second Dragon*Con 2013 post; for pictures of all the costumes and activities, click HERE!

This year the Dragon*Con parade staging area was not held in Williams Park because of construction. The staging area spanned several streets in downtown Atlanta that had been blocked off for the parade.

I got there early, and the first vehicle I came across was this very cool replica of the Bluesmobile, the 1975 Dodge Monaco police car used in the cult classic The Blues Brothers.

The car is owned by the bald gentleman in the picture above, who spent a lot of time carefully recreating the battered, weathered exterior, including pounding dents in the front fender (his neighbor thought he was nuts, intentionally damaging the car). A fanatic about authenticity, there is an old police radio in the car, and corn chips and cigarette butts on the dashboard.

Beneath the hood, it's all business, with a huge 440 cubic inch powerplant that looks clean enough to eat off of.

The car is in remarkable shape, and very carefully aged to replicate the look of the battered car used in the film. He even removed the middle D in DODGE from the rear!

Below, just for kicks, is a page from the sales brochure for the Monaco of that same year, 1975. It was a no-frills, bare bones ride with few luxuries.

I love how the brochure proclaims that "This is Monaco. Dodge Monaco" a la "Bond...James Bond." I guess repeating the name like that is supposed to make it sound more impressive. Even the glove-box coin holder is included in this base model! If that isn't luxury I don't know what is!

What a treat!

This, my friends, is a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance, the same year of the ambulance used in the movie Ghostbusters. Cadillac ambulances of this year are extremely rare; Miller-Meteor made less than one thousand of them that year.

I talked to the owner (a Ghostbuster, natch) and he told me he had given up looking for a Miller-Meteor ambulance, until he finally found one. It was in bad shape, and it underwent a complete ground-up restoration that cost somewhere north of six figures.

It was money well spent; this car is absolutely immaculate, and a gorgeous classic has been saved. Ecto-1 has her own Facebook page, The Ect-OHIO, check it out HERE and like the page. There are pictures of events the car appears in to raise money, as well as parades and other activities.

The dashboard has been signed by actors who appeared in the movie, how cool is that??

Below: an ad by Miller-Meteor for their ambulances. Cadillac would send the cars to them, where Miller-Meteor built the custom bodies.

There were a lot of vehicles in this parade, which just seems to get bigger every year. Here are some other vehicles

The Speed Racer was here again this year, always a con favorite, and in immaculate shape

THIS is cool: a replica Cylon raider spaceship from Battlestar Galactica. I wasn't able to talk to the owner, but I can only imagine how much effort and time went into building this creation.

Below: the two-person cockpit; it looks like it has been signed by some celebrities

After the parade, the Cylon spaceship is parked in front of the Hilton in preparation for its journey back home. Too bad it can't really cool would that be?

Below: the wings are raised for transport so that it won't take up three lanes of traffic. I'm amazed at the work and ingenuity that goes into building something like this.

This woman was impressed by the fact that I recognized her costume and car from the cartoon The Adventures of Penelope Pittstop. I remember watching that show on Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid.

Below: For a blast from the past, here is the intro to The Adventures of Penelope Pittstop. The villain is voiced by the late great comedian Paul Lynde. I love the dramatic way Penelope runs. 

Below: another Jurassic Park John Hammond costume. I'm impressed with the baby raptor egg!

A pickup truck filled with ice water for parade participants after the parade is over. It was a hot and humid day; staying hydrated is important

I was totally geeking out; this was one of the coolest things I saw at Dragoncon this year: all of the most recognizable characters from one of my favorite film,The Road Warrior, together in one place, along with the iconic Humungus mobile. About the only thing I can think of that would make this even cooler is to have the Mad Max Interceptor there as well, but that is asking for quite a bit.

 I'm really impressed! Below is a video of them all together:

"Surf's up, Robin!"

"Holy Kahuna, Batman!!"

Here is a video I put together of scenes from the staging area. Enjoy!

After photographing the staging area, I literally ran back to the back of the Hyatt, to get to the Marriott, where the parade would end up, to get footage of the parade. The crowds were intense, as you could see. I had to push through a sea of people just to cross the street, a block up from where I wanted to cross.

Here is Part One of the best of the DragonCon parade. This was one of the best parades yet!

...and here is Part Two of the parade!

As a public service here is the official Dragon*Con broadcast of the parade, which runs about one hour (my parade video will be only about ten minutes, just the highlights). Enjoy!

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