“The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade dates as far back as the 1920’s, when Macy’s employees, many of whom were immigrants, began this tradition in an attempt to connect with American culture by celebrating Thanksgiving.”
Balloon years, when given, come from various sources, including Wikipedia and Macy’s website itself. Some have no name or date and a guess was made as to what year they may have appeared.
This is by no means comprehensive as there are most likely many balloons, especially early on that are not included.
1927 Felix the Cat
Macy’s used to release the balloons after the parade was over. Tickets were attached with a reward of $100 for the return of the balloons. That was a fairly nice reward. As an example, a cost around that time period, for a new stove could range from $30 to $60. A nice radio could cost $15 or a new ice box about $30.
Unknown Father Knickerbocker
Father Knickerbocker is a pen named used by Washington Irving, who wrote the first history of New York and was Manhattan’s first best seller. The then 26-year-old, used the name Diedrich Knickerbocker, “Diedrich” meaning “father” in Dutch, and a note by Irving in the book, indicating Knickerbocker meant to nod or doze over books.
Facts and tidbits used are also from various sources, a special thanks to David Tarkington and his blog which has some nice bits of trivia.
Boardwalk Empire fans know Eddie Cantor as a character on the show. But in case you didn’t know, he was based on a real person.
No parade was held during the years 1942-1944 because of war efforts and a shortage of rubber and helium.
1945 Harold the Clown
Unknown Clown II
Numerous stories report that during a rain storm, Popeye’s hat filled with water. It eventually tipped over onto parade watchers. Merry Christmas!
Also a Happy Dragon, but no date given. Obviously much older based on the cars.
1961 Bullwinkle J. Moose
Apparently the oldest balloon still in use.
1962 Donald Duck
“Heavy rain filled the brim of Donald Duck’s hat in 1962, causing the character to tip over and dump 50 gallons of water on unamused onlookers.”
I’m thinking other onlookers were highly amused.
1964 Linus the Lionhearted
Part 2, tomorrow. But no promises.