In December 1980, Tom Leyden bought a video camera.
He was one of the first Westporters to tape kids’ sports, school shows and other events.
An early effort — taken from the Assumption Church steps — was the 1981 Memorial Day parade.
Leyden’s son had just won a trivia contest on WMMM’s morning show. The prize: a chance to ride with host John LaBarca, in the back of a groovy convertible.
Leyden captured that moment — and the rest of the parade too.
It’s all here: former Governor John D. Lodge and all the town bigwigs; the Staples High School, and Long Lots, Coleytown and Bedford Junior High bands; WWPT sports broadcasters, Little Leaguers, Scouts, Indian Guides, the Westport Historical Society — even Big Bird.
There are many gems. Right at the beginning, for instance, we see Bill Cribari — the man the Saugatuck River bridge is named after — strutting proudly along.
Westport’s Memorial Day parade is timeless. After 37 years, so much in this video looks familiar.
Except for one thing: Everyone actually watches the parade.
There’s not one cell phone to be seen.