I opened my mail one morning to find a letter addressed to my band director character Harry L. Dinkle. It was an invitation for him to appear at the Tournament of Roses Parade that coming NewYear’s Day. I kept the conceit going by responding for Harry and one thing led to another until it wasn’t long before Cathy and I were making plans to go to Pasadena and attend the parade.
I was on a much shorter deadline leash in those days so there was plenty of time for me to have Harry go there in the strip as well and appear on the Elks float (a gentleman dressed as Harry actually marched with the float in the parade). When it came time for the next Norman Lee collection of Harry and his band’s exploits, the Rose Parade float was a natural choice for the cover. The title was a play on the popular book I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Hannah Green which later became the basis for a movie, a play, and a popular song.