The Oakland Christmas Pageant (later called the Oakland Children's Holiday Pageant) was an annual show at the Oakland Auditorium from 1919 until 1987, organized by a "one-woman powerhouse," Louise Jorgensen. Upwards of 1,500 children participated each year, and Jorgensen would drive to every elementary and junior high school in Oakland for weekly practices beginning in September.
Countless Oakland schoolchildren were involved, sometimes over multiple generations. One famous 'elf' was Dave McElhatton, KPIX newscaster, who went to Whittier Elementary School. McElhatton later narrated the production as an adult. 1 In 1937, then District Attorney Earl Warren played Kris Kringle. 2
Each year's finale featured Jorgensen as the Spirit of Christmas.
Video of the 1981 pageant, and an interview with Louise Jorgensen:
Links and References
- A Beloved Pageant SFGate.com December 28, 1998
- Civic Leaders Donate Services for Pageant Oakland Tribune November 28, 1937
- The Spirit of Christmas Oakland Magazine December, 2011