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Ninety Years Of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Ninety Years Of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The First Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The first-ever Macy’s Day Parade actually took place on Christmas of 1924. Macy’s employees dressed as clowns, cowboys, and other fun costumes, and traveled with Central Park zoo animals and creative floats a lengthy six miles from Herald Square to Harlem in Manhattan.

The parade was meant to draw attention to the Macy’s store in NYC, and the gimmick worked – more than 250,000 people attended the inaugural Macy’s Day Parade. It was decided that this NYC parade would become an annual NY event in Manhattan.

In 1927, Felix the Cat became the first giant balloon to ever take part in the Macy’s Day Parade. In 1928, Felix was inflated with helium, and without a plan to deflate this massive balloon, NYC parade organizers simply let Felix fly off into the sky. Unfortunately, he popped soon thereafter.

The Macy’s Day Parade continued to let the balloons fly off in subsequent years, only these balloons would have a return address written on them, and whoever found the balloon could return the balloon for a prize from Macy’s. However, the results of this experiment weren’t exactly successful.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

in 1924

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

In 1927 Marionette maker Tony Frederick Sarg’s large animal-shaped balloons replaced the live animals in the Macy’s parade in NYC. Macy’s first parade balloon, Felix the Cat, was filled with air, but balloons started to be inflated with helium the following year. The original balloons were made of rubber, but today’s balloons are made of polyurethane.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

1931 dragon.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

1933

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

1939

Despite the Great Depression, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade continued to grow through the 1930’s. The first national radio broadcast of the Macy’s Parade Thanksgiving took place in 1932. Two years later, Disney got in on the giant balloon fun, introducing the Mickey Mouse balloon in 1934. By then, more than one million people were attending this popular parade in NYC, and those fortunate enough to own a TV could see the broadcast on NBC starting in 1939.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

In 1940 Eddie Cantor was first person to ever be “ballooned.”

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York was temporarily suspended from 1942- 1944 for World War II. In an effort to help America’s cause, the rubber used to make the Macy’s Day Parade floats were donated to the American military. More than two million people attended the 1945 Macy’s Day Parade, and this popular New York City event has continued to grow ever since.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The 1946 parade. Now a pilgrim is deemed politically incorrect.
Also the parade’s original route was six miles, but was cut down to less than half in 1946.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy’s elf 1947

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

In 1958 A Spaceman balloon, hung from a crane.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Times Square – 1950s

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The 1961 parade.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

A parade float for the City Center Light Opera production of the musical ‘Brigadoon’ joins in the 1961 parade

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Today, more than 8,000 people participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade each year, and it takes another 4,000 dedicated volunteers to put together this NYC Thanksgiving celebration. Both NBC and CBS broadcast the New York City parade nationwide, and this NYC event still attracts high-profile musicians and the most talented Broadway performers.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Since 1968, there have been seven different Snoopy balloons, the most for any one character. Needless to say, Snoopy is the top dog.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1972

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Annie the movie was at the 1981 parade.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

1985 Betty Boop swings on a star

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

In 1988 The Pink Panther

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

2011

Happy Thanksgiving one and all from T2C.

All photo via Macy’s

Events

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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