Sisters rock around Kit-Kat Clocks' parade float

When Lauren Anne Clement heard that one ofher local retailers was hosting a talent show, she felt like a longshot.

The Pensacola, Fla., dance instructor hadn’t competed in years, and she had less than a day to throw together a costume, find a partner, pick a song and choreograph a routine.

Racing against deadline, Clement and her sister, Tori Siddall, chose the Bill Haley classic “Rock Around the Clock,” assembled 1950s-style outfits out of dresses and pearls and worked out a swing-dance duet.

And all they got out of it was a part in the Rose Parade.

The sisters won a nationwide competition sponsored by Kit-Cat Clocks, a Fountain Valley-based company that has produced iconic cat-shaped wall clocks since 1932.

The company celebrated its 80th birthday Monday at the parade, and it sought devoted customers to ride on the float — whose theme song just happened to be “Rock Around the Clock” as well.

The song runs slightly over two minutes, but as the Kit-Cat float rolled through Pasadena, the sisters ended up dancing to it for more than five hours straight, according to Siddall.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had so many blisters on the bottom of my feet,” said the 21-year-old event coordinator. “You should have seen me walking through the airport. But it was all worth it.”

In the parade Monday, Clement and Siddall donned their old-style dresses and performed a variation on their competition routine under a massive Kit-Cat Clock replica. The float also featured skateboarders and half a dozen riders of different ages, who represented at least some of the eight decades the company has been in business.

Kit-Cat Clocks, which feature eyes and tails that shift back and forth every second, became a staple of 20th-century American kitchens and have been featured prominently in “Back to the Future” and other films. The company started in Oregon and has operated out of Fountain Valley since 1988.

Chief Executive Woody Young said he expects the clocks to be around indefinitely, modern technology notwithstanding.

“It will never go out of style,” he said. “You can have as many iPads and iPhones as you can bring down the pike. After 80 years, there hasn’t been anything to replace it.”

To emphasize the company’s longevity, Kit-Cat Clocks held competitions at 14 retailers nationwide and invited customers to perform a routine based on one of the last eight decades. The company chose several winners, but Clement and Siddall were the only ones able to attend the Rose Parade.

While the sisters had to buy their own plane tickets, the company did provide them with day-of expenses. The retailer in Pensacola, Gulf Coast Clock Co., also provided free T-shirts and beach towels — plus some free clocks.

“We got a traditional black and white one,” Clement, 27, said. “And one of our other sisters is having a baby boy, so we got him a miniature light blue one with a New Orleans Saints helmet.”

-- Michael Miller, Times Community News

Twitter: @MichaelMillerHB

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