A Lighter Take | Debra A. Klein

Seeking inspiration for a presidential parade

24movies - Scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Paramount Pictures)
Paramount Pictures

The president has been hoping to throw himself a parade for some time now, so it’s no surprise that, like a different era’s young bride with a hope chest, he has compiled a scrapbook of ideas, mostly drawn from parades he’s seen in the movies. And while we don’t have the actual list, we’ve heard these films might be some of his sources of inspiration:

“The Music Man” — A slick talking con man blows into town seemingly out of nowhere, stoking unrealistic fantasies that seem to tap into residents’ innermost hopes and dreams. Eventually, he tricks the unaware population into entrusting him with their money, and sings a song, “Seventy-six Trombones” during a parade that turns out to be an elaborate lie. He had no intention of fulfilling his promises.

“The Wizard of Oz” — An isolated loner with unusual hair spends time passively watching events at home through a device, seething and obsessed with revenge on an enemy, a female from the Midwest. She’s surrounded by an almost-always marching obedient phalanx of guards, who, it turns out, were only doing her bidding because they feared retribution, her legendary temper and threats.


“The Pink Panther Strikes Again” — A hapless, blundering, unqualified man who doesn’t even know what he doesn’t know attends a raucous public Oktoberfest parade overseas, fully oblivious to all that is swirling around him.

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“Hello Dolly” — An overbearing, straw-haired meddler manipulates those around her to attend a parade, tells lies, then basks in the glow of adulation from all the tuxedoed waiters at her favorite glitzy dining room.

“Ferris Beuller’s Day Off” — With a straight-laced investigator hot on his trail, no matter what rules he breaks, or how outrageously he acts, and despite his unfiltered stream of candid thoughts that should land him in hot water, everything always breaks Beuller’s way, even when he crashes an “ethnic” themed parade.

“Miracle on 34th Street”— Is the overweight, older man prone to wearing red hats seated on his elaborate throne the real deal, or an imposter?

“Easter Parade” — Lead character, Don, says farewell to his former partner and tries to mold the next woman into some sort of clone of the first. There is constant tension and a storm cloud of suspicion every time the old flame intrudes. He eventually must make a grand gesture at a public Easter parade.


“Glory” — A strong, principled Colonel rides alongside in spiritual solidarity with his all-African American regimen in a parade to inspire them as they leave for the South to fight against oppression and slavery as part of the Union Army. Never mind. Scratch that. Probably not on the list.

Debra A. Klein is a writer in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter @IWishIHadTyped.