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TELEVISION REVIEW

Behind scenes of 2010 Rose Parade

Skateboarding bulldogs make this documentary worth the time.

December 19, 2009|By MARY McNAMARA | Television Critic

Stories about the impossibly gorgeous floats that fill Pasadena on New Year's Day are as ubiquitous this time of year as holiday gift cards. But a half-hour documentary airing at 3 p.m. Sunday on KTLA is hard to resist.

The title says it all: "The Making of the World's Longest Rose Parade Float Featuring Tillman, the World's Fastest Skateboarding Bulldog." If there had been more room on the DVD screener, the producers should have added "Only This Time He Snowboards."

Yes, it's true. If anyone needs a reason to tune in to the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade besides tradition and the fact that it's pretty much a requirement of American citizenship, then you might want to check out the Natural Balance Dog Food float which will feature five, count 'em, five frisky, fabulous bulldogs boarding down a 65-foot slide on a 114-foot float, and then riding up a "dog lift" to do it all over again.

And if that weren't enough, company co-owner and television icon Dick Van Patten will be on the float too.

Those concerned that the dogs are performing under duress should definitely watch Sunday's half-hour doc. Tillman, who has made a name for himself on YouTube with his freewheeling ways, and his gal pal Rose, were part of a skateboarding float last year -- and they cannot seem to keep off the boards. Watching them practice is just as hilarious and compelling as you'd imagine, but they're obviously old pros. A few minutes in, company president Joey Herrick, who also owns Rose, decides that two dogs aren't enough, putting owner and trainer Ron in the position of finding three more bulldogs that can ride.

The open call turns into a miniature reality show, with the winners standing out fairly quickly (they're the dogs who will actually stay on the boards). Oh, there's cool stuff about how to build a really long float and then cover it with flowers -- from the sketches it's hard to imagine it will be anything but breathtaking.

But it's the bulldogs that make this worth watching. If you love bulldogs, and who doesn't, this may become a new holiday classic. Watching, you cannot imagine how this is going to work during the parade, but given the track record of those involved, you have to assume it will. Which will be quite a sight to see.

mary.mcnamara@latimes.com

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