Macy’s Parade Archive Photos

The NY Daily News has posted a fantastic 46-image, 70+ year photo history of Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade cartoon balloon characters. Check out image #15 – Behind the dachshund balloon, is a wraparound 2 story 3-D neon, Times Square billboard for Kleenex tissues featuring Little Lulu from 1950. Image #18 shows the Popeye balloon in 1957, #21 contains Superman from 1966, and other photos include Linus the Lionhearted, Mickey Mouse, Snoopy, Betty Boop, and Woody Woodpecker.

(Thanks, Brent Alexander)


  • http://fabiandorespais.blogspot.com/ Dores PAis fabian

    Thanks for sharing this amazing stuff ;)

  • Jason

    I’d like to know why has-beens like Kermit the frog are in the parade, while perennials like Mickey aren’t. Doesn’t seem right somehow…

  • top cat james

    The balloon with the huge shnozz in image #3 is hysterical! they need to bring that one back.

  • http://checkeredgeekcartoons.blogspot.com Zach C

    I wish they’d dug up some of these instead of Pikachu and Arrtie the Pirate. I’m glad Snoopy is still a staple though.

    I’m still not sure how I feel about getting Rickroll’d by Foster’s Home.

  • http://www.awprunes.blogspot.com/ Larry Levine

    Great vintage images!!! I was at this year’s parade & posted a few balloon pics on my blog. I arrived a few minutes into the festivities & missed Snoopy :(

  • David Breneman

    At least they’ve stopped calling it the “Macy’s Day Parade.” How arrogant was that? About as arrogant as sticking their means-nothing-to-me brand name on a lot of great regional department stores…

  • Pedro Nakama

    What?! No Underdog!

  • Nic Kramer

    I’d like to know why has-beens like Kermit the frog are in the parade, while perennials like Mickey aren’t. Doesn’t seem right somehow…

    Has-been?! The frog is not! Are you working for Fleet Scribler?
    Sure, Steve is not Jim, but I think he’s doing a good job keeping the frog alive and from what I heard Jim secretly chosed hm to take over the role a year befor his death. Besides, it seems Disney is now taking the straight and narrow path finally after that Oz problem from a few years ago and with no Simpson writer in sight.

  • http://regninnib.googlepages.com/artbinninger%27sbonusfeatures Art Binninger

    In 2001, Life Books published a photo history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade that features a wealth of cartoon-themed floats including Mighty Mouse’s ill-fated trip in 1956. There’s even a well-illustrated segment on the 1947 MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET. For anyone interested, the full title is AMERICA’S PARADE A Celebration of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

  • uncle wayne

    Wow…and thank YOO! As a 55-year old….the toon-balloons are, of course, a very fond memory…(esPESHially Linus the Lion-Hearted…. it seems that i was just THERE —in the mid-60s— reveling him on that Thanksgiving morn!!)

  • Anna

    some are kinda scary, and some are seriously awesome!
    and yaaaay Charlie Brown ^__^

  • uncle wayne

    i even remember when they had an (NBC) special promoting the Underdog balloon!!

  • http://www.cementimental.com Tim Drage

    These are great, some really surreal images.

  • Jason

    **Has-been?! The frog is not!**

    Oh come on. Of course he is. Even little kids don’t care about him. Pikachu made more sense being there than did Kermit.

    **Are you working for Fleet Scribler?**

    Who?

    **Sure, Steve is not Jim**

    I’ll say he isn’t. Even Jim wasn’t Jim near the end.

    Well, I suppose the frog puppet was there because there’s some sort of special coming up, with the rest of his felt friends in it. I thought I heard something about it anyway. So Disney pushed him into the parade. That’s press agentry for you. But really, you’d think Diz would want their mouse in there somewhere. Didn’t he just celebrate his 80th birthday? I know Disney bought the frog (for some unfathomable reason), but Mickey’s the one people *care* about. Like I said before, it doesn’t seem right somehow…

  • Nic Kramer

    Sheesh, Jason! While I’ll admit that Mickey should have a balloon for this year, the frog deseves to be in the parade after a couple of years of called-off propose projects and getting stuck for about a year with that Baby Einstien person who didn’t seem to care about the Muppets. And lots of people care of the Muppets. Us Muppets fans should be treated with respect. We have a tough union.

    So why don’t just stop picking on him, please?

  • David Gerstein

    Jason, I’m a Mickey-rooter first—ask almost anyone here.

    But Kermit is only (relatively) less well-known among American kids today for the same—political—reasons that the Looney Tunes characters are less well-known. They fell into the hands of broadcasters who perceived their popularity as, essentially, a threat to that of their own self-created/owned properties. So the broadcasters ended up using its rights not to actually broadcast Looney Tunes/the Muppets, but to keep them OFF the air.
    This has/had nothing to do with quality or durability. Ask kids in Canada, for whom Looney Tunes have stayed on the air and the characters’ popularity has continued unabated.

  • Jason

    **Jason, I’m a Mickey-rooter first—ask almost anyone here.
    But Kermit is only (relatively) less well-known among American kids today for the same—political—reasons that the Looney Tunes characters are less well-known. They fell into the hands of broadcasters who perceived their popularity as, essentially, a threat to that of their own self-created/owned properties. So the broadcasters ended up using its rights not to actually broadcast Looney Tunes/the Muppets, but to keep them OFF the air.
    This has/had nothing to do with quality or durability. Ask kids in Canada, for whom Looney Tunes have stayed on the air and the characters’ popularity has continued unabated.**

    Oh, so it’s a…conspiracy? (searches for his tin-foil hat)

  • Alfons Moline

    As a non-American to whom Thanksgiving is a foreign tradition (in fact, I did learn about Thanksgiving thanks to cartoons like HOLIDAY FROM DRUMSTICKS -now who says that animation is not educational?), I have an anecdote: in my native Spain, in the early 80´s I was watching with my family a documentary about Thanksgiving and how Americans celebrate it. They showed clips from Macy´s balloon parade and we colud recognize most of the balloon characters: Mickey Mouse, Snoopy, Kermit the frog… and when they show the Underdog balloon (at the time, Underdog was still unknown in our country), my kid brother exclaims:
    ‘Oh, look- it´s HONG KONG PHOOEY!’

  • Galen Fott

    Jason said: “Even Jim wasn’t Jim near the end.”

    I’d be very interested to hear you back this up with some specifics about what you perceive as a decline in Jim Henson’s performing talents.

  • Oliver

    I think we can safely say there’s never going to be a balloon of Jason in the parade — unless of course he can inflate himself using sheer self-righteousness.

  • Jason

    **Galen Fott says:

    I’d be very interested to hear you back this up with some specifics about what you perceive as a decline in Jim Henson’s performing talents.**

    Okay, I had to scrape around in the ol’ memory, but I do recall an interview Jim did (with Kermit) with Good Morning America’s Joan Lunden in which he had Kermit say that Miss Piggy wasn’t in some Muppet special or other because “she thought we were making a porno”. Joan Lunden said sweetly “You’re not supposed to talk like that, Jim,” and moved on quickly to the next topic.

    I remember my mom and I looking at each other. Yeah, ol’ Jim was kinda losing it in the end…

  • Steve Gattuso

    Yes, but do any of them have Rick Astley? ;3

  • Galen Fott

    Jason says: “Okay, I had to scrape around in the ol’ memory…”

    So when you wrote the first comment, you had nothing in mind to back it up?

    Your memory of this interview is obviously at least 18 years old, quite possibly much older. I doubt it transpired exactly as you recall, but don’t really find it shocking anyway. Regardless, we’ll all take the expert diagnosis of you and your mom that Jim was “kinda losing it in the end” with the full weight that it deserves.

  • Nic Kramer

    Okay, I had to scrape around in the ol’ memory, but I do recall an interview Jim did (with Kermit) with Good Morning America’s Joan Lunden in which he had Kermit say that Miss Piggy wasn’t in some Muppet special or other because “she thought we were making a porno”. Joan Lunden said sweetly “You’re not supposed to talk like that, Jim,” and moved on quickly to the next topic.
    I remember my mom and I looking at each other. Yeah, ol’ Jim was kinda losing it in the end…

    You obviously haven’t seen “Time Piece” or Jim’s other ’60s experimental work.

  • http://dailygrail.com/blog/8389 red pill junkie

    The understandable and charming ‘off-modelness’ of these balloons —during the early years of this tradition, at least—are surely much appreciated by Mr. John K :)

  • Jason

    **So when you wrote the first comment, you had nothing in mind to back it up?**

    No, I had that memory – which was vague at the time, then became clearer when I took far too much time to post it here for your benefit. If you doubt that interview happened as I remember it, look it up on Youtube or wherever and try to honestly dispute it, or what the heck, I don’t care, you can just settle for being snide.

    Oh, and I saw “Labryinth” during its first run at the theater, which also helped convinced me that Henson’s best days were behind him. It was a rather large bomb at the box office too, as I recall.

    Gee, now that I’ve got the memory perking, wasn’t Dark Crystal a box office failure too? Jim created both those turkeys in his latter, post-muppet-show days. Guess that’s where I got the impression that he’d lost his touch near the end…because the facts support it.

    Look, if you’re a Henson worshipper, forgive me for not being a joiner. And I think my mom’s diagnosis is more impartial than yours would be, since she wasn’t a joiner either. You know, I just don’t get why some people here get so foamy over a bunch of old puppets, especially when so many of their original performers are either retired or dead. I liked them too – when I watched the Muppet Show – when I was SEVEN – but I’ve since moved on to a better grade of cinematic real estate. As has most of the viewing public, I might add.

  • RobEB

    LOVE the Popeye balloon. I’m glad they used the older uniform design instead of the all-white one. I wonder when that balloon was made?

  • SR Das

    BTW: “Fleet Scribbler” was a tabloid reporter in the George Burns episode of The Muppet Show, and he tried to get as much backstage gossip as he could, until Burns blows cigar smoke into his face and distracts him. Just thought you’d like to know.

  • Nic Kramer

    Oh, and I saw “Labryinth” during its first run at the theater, which also helped convinced me that Henson’s best days were behind him. It was a rather large bomb at the box office too, as I recall.
    Gee, now that I’ve got the memory perking, wasn’t Dark Crystal a box office failure too? Jim created both those turkeys in his latter, post-muppet-show days. Guess that’s where I got the impression that he’d lost his touch near the end…because the facts support it.

    Boy that’s cold.

    Have you heard of the word experiment?

  • Galen Fott

    Jason –

    You complain that the Thanksgiving parade should have had a Mickey Mouse balloon instead of a Kermit the Frog balloon, and then you try to play the “maturity” card? That’s hilarious.

    So first “Henson wasn’t Henson” when he was playing Kermit. Then he was “kinda losing it”. And now he’d “lost his touch”. So which is he, an inconsistent performer, crazy, or unsuccessful? Your charge against him changes with each post. Hmm…perhaps you’re just trying to get a reaction? In that, at least, you’ve been successful.

    As I’m sure you actually know, it is possible to be a fan of something without being a “worshipper”. For the record, I don’t like “Dark Crystal” (released in 1982, the year after the Muppet Show; Henson died in 1990) or “Labyrinth” very much either, as films. On the other hand, MuppetVision 3D is one of the best things Henson ever did, and it was made at the very end of his life.

    If you don’t see and appreciate what made Henson different from so many others, that’s your loss, or just your taste. Fine. But you can’t argue that something wasn’t good because it didn’t make money. It’s all a matter of taste, so why get your jollies trying to provoke fans of Henson? You’ve gotten your last reaction out of me.