On February 25, 1942, the city of Los Angeles awoke to a startling and terrifying scene: “powerful searchlights from countless stations stabbed the sky with brilliant probing fingers while anti-aircraft batteries dotted the heavens with beautiful, if sinister, orange bursts of shrapnel.” To Angelinos―already on edge from the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor just a few months earlier, and attacks off the coast of Santa Barbara the night before―it seemed as though the nightmare of an attack on the contiguous United States had arrived in their own backyard. Yet when the dust cleared the day after the “Battle of Los Angeles,” it left more questions than answers. Even today, now 77 years later, what really took place during “The Great LA Air Raid” in the early hours of the morning of February 25, 1942 remains a mystery.
Since the early days of LA’s Chinatown, the Golden Dragon Parade has remained the main event of New Year celebrations. One 1927 article recalls:
"The great, green Chinese dragon which has been hibernating somewhere in the mysterious precincts of Chinatown, has awakened from his year of slumber… in preparation for his single public appearance on Saturday at 10:30 a.m., when the [Chinese] new year reaches its climax in a parade through the streets of Chinatown… To any evil spirits that chance to be lurking in the vicinity of Chinatown let it be said that the mystic fire-eating, snorting monster will stalk the streets Saturday morning bent on the destruction of all their number who come within his path.”
Now, more than 90 years later, the sights and sounds of the annual Golden Dragon Parade remain the same--Chinese New Year rituals of community, revelry, good will, and celebration fill the streets of Los Angeles’ Chinatown.
One avid collector of Disneyland memorabilia, Robert Kraft, has amassed an impressive range of artifacts that span the 60+ years since the park first opened its gates in Anaheim, CA. Before all the items hit the auction block, he’s giving them a proper send-off with a pop-up exhibit that is free and open to the public.