Giant Kit-Kat Klock celebrates 80th anniversary in Tournament of Roses Parade

Kit-Kat Klock kicks off 80th anniversary with a first: a 55-foot high Tournament of Roses Parade dynamic float.

Just Imagine – a well-known icon for cat lovers, the Kit Kat Klock is celebrating it’s 80 anniversary witha first-time ever float  in the New Year’s Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA. The three story high back and white Kit-Kat Klock with it’s contagious smile, rolling eyes and swinging tail will entertain those lining the parade route and the millions watching on television.

The 123rd Tournament of Roses Parade® will take place on Monday, Jan. 2, adhering to the Tournament of Roses’ “Never on a Sunday” tradition. The theme of this year’s parade is “Just Imagine…” and Kit-Cat’s will celebrate its 80th Anniversary on the grand stage on Colorado Boulevard in front of thousands of viewers and millions of others watching on television.

Other images that bring back memories of good times will be a part of the 55-foot long parade entry. The nostalgic look back in history will include a chocolate malt from a 1940’s soda founds and a 1950’s jukebox. According to the Kit-Kat clock website, Kit-Cat’s float is the only commercial float that will be “CA Grown” with 100% of their flowers coming from California to celebrate the last 50 years manufacturing each and every Kit-Cat Klock in their California facility.

A group of skateboarders from Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and Newport Beach riding FIZZ boards, modeled after the classic 1970s banana boards, riding their boards up and down a ramp to “Rock Around the Clock” while young swing dancers perform. Riders will range from eight to 80 years old, representing the children, parents, grandparents and great grandparents who have owned a Kit-Cat Klock since the first Kit-Cat was created in 1932.

Kit Kat Klocks have been smiles to people’s faces for 80 years. And for the past 50, they have been a part of the southern Californian scene, making their home in Orange County.

According to their website, someone has purchased a Kit-Kat Klock every three minutes for the past 70 years.

A simple black and white version of the Kit-Cat was the first introduced in 1932 in Portland, Ore. by the California Clock Co. After World War II, Young said the mission of the Kit-Cat resonated in American pop culture and the clocks became an icon. Hollywood celebrity owners have include Lucille Ball and Whoopi Goldberg and the clock has also been featured in films such as “Back to the Future” and “Honey I Shrunk the Kids”.

According to the Kit-Kat website, the Kit-Cat Klock has provided American factory workers with employment for 50 years. This animated timepiece, with its roots in the Great Depression, this animated clock became a staple in many American kitchens.

In the late 1980′s, the legacy of The Kit-Cat was almost lost. The clock’s manufacturer, The California Clock Company has to made ‘drastic changes to the inner workings of the clock.” The scarcity and rising costs of American-made, electric motors, would have forced production of The Kit-Cat Klock out of the country because there was no battery technology powerful enough to move Kit-Cat’s exclusive “one-second” animation.

The California Clock Company stepped up to the plate, and invented this new technology. After several years of research, and  trial and error, batteries now supply the power for animation and keeping proper time. This is accomplished through precision balancing of all the inner workings of the clock, utilizing gravity to keep the “moving parts” in motion at a controlled speed. For this reason The Kit-Cat Klock runs best when hung in a straight vertical position. If the clock’s motion is disrupted, it will commence again with a simple “push start” of its tail.

Over the years, the Kit-Cat has evolved to include a spectrum of colors and other characters including Kitty-Cat, the female version of the clock that has big eyelashes and a pearl necklace.  Kit-Cat also releases a limited-edition clock every year for those who collect the pieces. For 2012, the limited-edition Kit-Cat will be “Rose Float” and it will be the color of the Rose Parade roses in honor of the company’s parade debut.

Here are some landmark dates that have been celebrated by Kit-Kat Klock.

1932: The first Kit-Cat Klock was created in Portland, Ore. The first clocks had metal hands, no front paws and no bowtie.

1954: The Kit-Cat gets a bowtie.

1960s: Kit-Cat Klock moves to San Juan Capistrano.

1980s: The business moves to Fountain Valley.

1982: The company starts stamping the name “Kit-Cat” on the front of the clock.

1990: The clocks make the move from electric to battery-operated.

In addition to the clock, Kit-Kat has developed into a recognizable character in cartoons, books, on clothing and other exciting products! His popularity as a positive character increases daily through the Kit-Cat® Fan Club, boasts of over 10,000 dues paying members from around the world. Members adopt Kit-Cat’s positive philosophy towards life and live out the Kit-Cat® Creed:

Put a smile on everyone’s face;
Love in everyone’s heart;
Energy in everyone’s body;
and Be a positive force in everyone’s life!

Do you remember your first Kit-Kat Klock? Or do you remember where you saw your first Kit-Kat Klock? Please share those fun memories by sharing them here.

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BJ

BJ Bangs is an established journalist, photographer, and an aspiring author. She loves everything about cats, including writing about them.

2 Responses

  1. bjbangs says:

    Thanks Layla. I’m thinking about getting the commemorative Rose Tournament Kit-Kat to match my old black electric one that’s still kicking around. They really are pretty cool…there’s just something magical about those moving eyes.

  2. B.J. wow, thanks for this! As a child I was mesmerized by my aunt’s Kit-Kat clock and always wanted one but never bought one. I’m sharing on my Cat Wisdom 101 FB page.

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