“Harvey Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

imagepresented by Staunton State Park

Sponsor: My Mountain Town

Staunton State Park presented its first float, representing Hollywood’s popular movie “Harvey,” produced in 1950 starring Jimmy Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd. The story is about Dowd’s relationship with Harvey, an invisible magic pookah— a 6 foot tall, white rabbit. Josephine Hull received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1951 for her portrayal of Veta Louise Simmons, the neurotic sister of Dowd, who was embarrassed by her brother’s obsession with Harvey.

Mary Coyle Chase, a Denver native, wrote the play Harvey and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1945. Of Irish descent, Chase had been fascinated by stories of Irish pookahs or leprechauns. She wrote this play in an effort to make a very sad woman laugh. Chase became very wealthy as a result of Harvey, and in 1971, she and her husband purchased 80 acres of beautiful land with a small cabin, adjacent to the Staunton Ranch in Pine. This property is now a part of Staunton State Park, Colorado’s newest state park, which opened in 2013. In honor of Harvey, one of the hiking trails is appropriately named “The Pookah Loop.” A geo-cache site entitled “Harvey-seen-at-Chase cabin” has also been developed in the park. Chase was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985, four years after her death.

image-3The setting of this float is in the Dowd’s family home, where Harvey can be seen decorating the family’s Christmas tree. Park volunteers play the roles of Elwood, Veta Louise, Myrtle Mae (Veta’s daughter), and Nurse Kelly, who are enjoying a bit of Christmas “cheer.” Harvey and Staunton State Park want everyone in Conifer to Harvey Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!!

The Staunton State Park float was awarded “Best of Parade 2015” and received a trophy and large ribbon. The float was driven by Mark Fisher, a SSP ranger and a volunteer and owner and restorer of the 1955 Chevy 3600 Task Force Series truck which he rebuilt. …

The park volunteers on the float were Jack Darnell (Morrison), Bonnie Scudder (Pine), Deborah Darnell (Morrison) and Annie Thran (Pine). The float fit the parade theme of “The Magic of Hollywood” in that it was based on a Hollywood movie, “Harvey,” which won an Academy Award in 1951. Bonnie Scudder, author of The Secrets of Elk Creek, pointed out, “We had a lot of fun preparing this float and were quite excited to win the grand prize!!”

 

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