November 2013 •
GOOD TIMES –
The parade still marches on...
Turkey, stufng, football and the Macy’s Day parade. That is what makes a perfect Thanksgiving Day. As the lead banner proclaims, the event is presented as a “Holiday Treat for Chil-dren Everywhere.” Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was originally operated by Ma-cy’s employees, many of whom emigrated to America from Europe and longed to stage a celebration similar to the ones in their countries.The rst parade was held in 1924, en-tertaining an estimated audience of over 10,000. That year it was called the Macy’s Christmas Parade, and it followed a route from 145th Street and Convent Avenue to the Macy’s store at 34th Street and Broad-way. Three oats (pulled by horses), four bands and zoo animals from the Central Park Zoo -- camels, donkeys, elephants and goats -- starred in the parade. Santa Claus was last in the lineup, a tradition that con-tinues to this day.In 1927, the gigantic balloons that are now the signature element of the parade made their rst appearance with the help of helium. (Macy’s is the world’s second larg-est consumer of helium. The United States government if the rst.) The balloons, produced by the Good Year Tire and Rub-ber company, replace the zoo animals that were frightening to some children and the rst balloon included cartoon characters like Felix the Cat.
At the conclusion of the parade, the giant balloons were released into the air.In 1929, Macy’s began offering a $50 reward for any returned balloons, which were afxed with return address labels.
In 1931, pilot Col Clarence E. Chamberlain snagged a balloon with his airplane’s wing, leading to a ban on retrieval by airplanes the following year. But after the 1932 parade, another pilot attempted to capture a balloon and nearly crashed, leading Macy’s to dis-continue releasing the balloons at parade’s end.In 1934, celebrities became an important element of the parade, with singer-actor Ed-die Cantor joining in the event that year. The Mickey Mouse helium balloon was also in-troduced to parade-goers.From 1942 to 1944, the parade was can-celed because of the shortage of helium and rubber during World War II. Those three years are the only time the celebration had been called off.The parade became a permanent part of American culture after being prominently featured in the 1947 lm, Miracle on 34th Street, which shows actual footage of the 1946 festivities. The event was rst telecast nationally in 1952. On the NBC telecast from in front of the agship Macy’s store on Broadway and 34th Street the marching bands perform live music but most of the other live acts such as songs from Broadway musical use pre-recorded music with the performers lip-syncing their singing.The Parade has always been known for its policy of going on rain or shine and the valiant efforts of the balloon wranglers should always be recognized. But, new safety measures were incorporated in 2006 to prevent accidents and balloon related injuries. One measure taken was installa-tion of wind measurement devices to alert parade organizers to any unsafe conditions that could cause the balloons to behave er-ratically. Also parade ofcials implemented a measure to keep the balloons closers to the ground during windy condition.Every year, the Macy’s team behind the parade works to outdo the previous year’s event. This evolution has meant bigger bal-loons, more oats, better materials and new technologies, all resulting in the ashy spec-tacle that rolls through the streets of New York today.Today, the Parade delights two million spectators along the line of march, and mil-lions more watching live on TV.
*Interesting side note on Macy’s Store logo. Did you know that the “Red Star”, Macy’s insignia comes from a tattoo found-er R.H. Macy acquired during his teenagedays as a Nantucket whaler?
Macy’s huge balloons, the unique trade-mark of Macy’s Thanksving Day Parade, made their rst appearance in 1927. Bullwinkle the Moose ies high on the left. The image at the right is a vintage 1940 Eddie Cantor Balloon.
Deluxe Apartment Living
145 W. Fourth St., Fort Jennings, OH 419-233-3430
From antique to modern upscale apartments for all ages.
•Spacious Aparmens • Quie Secure Seting Raes sar a $675 a monh. Appliances & uiliies included!
CALL TODAY TO SCHEDULE A TOUR! 419-233-3430
Popeye oating down New York City streets in 1958.