Puneet Varma (Editor)

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Covid-19
Country of origin  United States
Original language(s)  English
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade cdnhercampuscoms3fspublic20141108134034262jpg
Presented by  Present: Matt Lauer (1998–present) Savannah Guthrie (2012–present) Al Roker (1995–present) Previous: Dave Garroway (1952–1961) Betty White (1962–1972) Lorne Greene (1962–1972) Ed McMahon (1971–1982) Bryant Gumbel (1982–1984) Pat Sajak (1983–1986) Willard Scott (1987–1997) Deborah Norville (1989–1990) Katie Couric (1991–2005) Meredith Vieira (2006–2010) Ann Curry (2011)
Starring  Parade Executive Producer: Jean McFaddin (1977–2000) Robin Hall (2001–2010) Amy Kule (2010–present)
Composer(s)  Macy's NBC Brad Lachman Productions
No. of episodes  90 (as of November 24, 2016)
Instances  2020 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Entire 2015 macy s thanksgiving day parade


The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual parade presented by the U.S.-based department store chain Macy's. The tradition started in 1924, tying it for the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States with America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit (with both parades being four years younger than the 6abc Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia). The three-hour Macy's event is held in New York City starting at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Thanksgiving Day, and has been televised nationally on NBC since 1952.

Contents

Cats macy s thanksgiving day parade 2016


History

In 1924, the annual Thanksgiving parade started by Louis Bamberger in Newark, New Jersey at the Bamberger's store was transferred to New York City by Macy's. In New York, the employees marched to Macy's flagship store on 34th Street dressed in vibrant costumes. There were floats, professional bands and live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. At the end of that first parade, as has been the case with every parade since, Santa Claus was welcomed into Herald Square. At this first parade, however, the Jolly Old Elf was enthroned on the Macy's balcony at the 34th Street store entrance, where he was then "crowned" "King of the Kiddies." With an audience of over 250,000 people, the parade was such a success that Macy's declared it would become an annual event.

Anthony "Tony" Frederick Sarg loved to work with marionettes from an early age. After moving to London to start his own marionette business, Sarg moved to New York City to perform with his puppets on the street. Macy's heard about Sarg's talents and asked him to design a window display of a parade for the store. Sarg's large animal-shaped balloons, produced by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio, replaced the live animals in 1927. A popular belief was that a balloon version Felix the Cat balloon was the first ever character balloon in the parade back in 1937, with Macy's also claiming that too, but Felix actually made his first appearance in 1931.

At the finale of the 1928 parade, the balloons were released into the sky, where they unexpectedly burst. The following year, they were redesigned with safety valves to allow them to float for a few days. Address labels were sewn into them, so that whoever found and mailed back the discarded balloon received a gift from Macy's.

Through the 1930s, the Parade continued to grow, with crowds of over one million people lining the parade route in 1933. The first Mickey Mouse balloon entered the parade in 1934. The annual festivities were broadcast on local radio stations in New York City from 1932 to 1941, and resumed in 1945, running through 1951.

The parade was suspended from 1942 to 1944 as a result of World War II, owing to the need for rubber and helium in the war effort. The parade resumed in 1945 using the route that it followed until 2008. The parade became known nationwide after being prominently featured in the 1947 film, Miracle on 34th Street, which included footage of the 1946 festivities. The event was first broadcast on network television in 1948 (see below). By this point the event, and Macy's sponsorship of it, were sufficiently well-known to give rise to the colloquialism "Macy's Day Parade". Since 1984, the balloons have been made by Raven Aerostar (a division of Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Raven Industries).

Macy's also sponsored the smaller Celebrate the Season Parade in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which is held two days after the main event, from 2006 to 2013. Other American cities also have parades held on Thanksgiving, none of which are run by Macy's. The nation's oldest Thanksgiving parade (the Gimbels parade, which has had many sponsors over the years, and is now known as the 6abc Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade) was first held in Philadelphia in 1920. Other cities with parades on the holiday include the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago, Illinois and parades in Plymouth, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; Houston, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; and Fountain Hills, Arizona. A parade is also held at the two Disney theme parks, Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. There is also a second Thanksgiving balloon parade within the New York metropolitan area, the UBS balloon parade in Stamford, Connecticut, located 30 miles (48 km) away; that parade is held the Sunday before Thanksgiving, so as to not compete with the parade in New York City and usually does not duplicate any balloon characters.

The classic "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" logo (seen below) was, with one exception, last used in 2005. For 2006, a special variant of the logo was used. Every year since then, a new logo has been used for each parade. The logos however are seen rarely, if at all, on television as NBC has used its own logo with the word "Macy's" in a script typeface and "Thanksgiving Day Parade" in a bold font. The logos are assumed to be for use by Macy's only, such as on the Grandstand tickets and the ID badges worn by parade staff. The Jackets worn by parade staff still bear the original classic parade logo, this being the only place where that logo can be found.

New safety measures were incorporated in 2006 to prevent accidents and balloon-related injuries. One measure taken was the installation of wind measurement devices to alert parade organizers to any unsafe conditions that could cause the balloons to behave erratically. In addition, parade officials implemented a measure to keep the balloons closer to the ground during windy conditions. If wind speeds are forecast to be higher than 34 miles per hour (55 km/h), all balloons are removed from the parade.

Balloon introductions

Since 2013, the balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade have come in two varieties. The first (and older of the two) is the novelty balloon class, consisting of smaller balloons; the novelty balloons range widely in size and are handled by between one and thirty people (the smallest novelty balloons are shaped like human heads and fit on the actual heads of the handlers). The second and more widely known is the full-size balloon class, primarily consisting of licensed pop-culture characters; each of these is handled by exactly 90 people. From 2005 to 2012, a third balloon class, the "Blue Sky Gallery," transformed the works of contemporary artists into full-size balloons.

The following is a list of balloons that have, over the years, been featured in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, sorted by their first year in the lineup. Underlined items indicate entries in the Blue Sky Gallery.

Falloon

A falloon, a portmanteau of "float" and "balloon", is a float-based balloon. They were introduced in 1990.

Balloonicle

A balloonicle, a portmanteau of "balloon" and "vehicle", is a self-powered balloon vehicle. They were introduced in 2004.

Performers and acts

In addition to the well-known balloons and floats, the Parade also features live music and other performances. College and high school marching bands from across the country participate in the parade, and the television broadcasts feature performances by established and up-and-coming singers and bands. The Rockettes of Radio City Music Hall are a classic performance as well (having performed annually since 1957 as the last of the pre-parade acts to perform), as are cheerleaders and dancers chosen by the National Cheerleaders Association from various high schools across the country. The parade concludes with the arrival of Santa Claus to ring in the Christmas and holiday season.

On the NBC telecast from in front of the flagship Macy's store on Broadway and 34th Street, the marching bands perform live music. Most "live" performances by musicals and individual artists lip sync to the studio, soundtrack or cast recordings of their songs, due to the technical difficulties of attempting to sing into a wireless microphone while in a moving vehicle (performers typically perform on the floats themselves); the NBC-flagged microphones used by performers on floats are almost always non-functioning props. Live performances with no use of recorded vocals, are very rare in the parade.

Broadway shows

Every year, cast members from a number of Broadway shows (usually shows that debuted that year) perform either in the parade, or immediately preceding the parade in front of Macy's (since NBC broadcasts the parade's start, the performances are shown during the wait for the parade itself). The 2007 parade was notable as it took place during a strike by the I.A.T.S.E. (a stagehands' union), and as such, Legally Blonde, the one performing musical affected by the strike, performed in show logo shirts, with makeshift props and no sets. The other three shows that year performed in theaters that were not affected by the strike.

Special guests

For the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks in 2011, the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade invited family members from Tuesday's Children, a family service organization that has made a long-term commitment to those directly impacted by the attacks and terrorism around the world, to cut the ribbon at the start of the parade with NBC's Al Roker and led the parade with Amy Kule, the Parade's executive producer.

Television coverage

More than 44 million people watch the parade on television on an annual basis. It was first televised locally in New York City in 1939 as an experimental broadcast. No television stations broadcast the parade in 1940 or 1941, but when the parade returned in 1945 after the wartime suspension, local broadcasts also resumed. The parade began its network television appearances on CBS in 1948, the year that regular television network programming began. NBC has been the official broadcaster of the event since 1952, though CBS (which has a studio in Times Square) also carries unauthorized coverage under the title The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS. Since the parade takes place in public, the parade committee can endorse an official broadcaster, but they cannot award exclusive rights as other events (such as sporting events, which take place inside restricted-access stadiums) have the authority to do. The rerouting of the parade that was implemented for the 2012 event (see below) moved the parade out of the view of CBS's cameras and thus made it significantly more difficult for the network to cover the parade; CBS nevertheless continues to cover the parade to the same extent as in previous years.

Since 2003, the parade has been broadcast simultaneously in Spanish on the sister network of NBCUniversal (Telemundo) host by María Celeste Arrarás from 2003-2006. The parade won nine Emmy Awards for outstanding achievements in special event coverage since 1979.

At first, the telecasts were only an hour long. In 1961, the telecast expanded to two hours, and was then reduced to 90 minutes in 1962, before reverting to a two-hour telecast in 1965; all three hours of the parade were televised by 1969. The event began to be broadcast in color in 1960. NBC airs the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade live in the Eastern Time Zone, but tape delays the telecast elsewhere in the continental U.S. and territories from the Central Time Zone westward to allow the program to air in the same 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. timeslot across its owned-and-operated and affiliated stations (since the morning program's initial expansion to three hours in 2000, the parade pre-empts the final two hours of Today as a result).> NBC began airing a same-day afternoon rebroadcast of the parade in 2009 (replacing the annual broadcast of Miracle on 34th Street, which NBC had lost the broadcast television rights to that year). CBS's unauthorized coverage airs live in most time zones, allowing viewers to see the parade as many as two hours before the official NBC coverage airs in their area; CBS still broadcasts the parade on delay on the West Coast, immediately after the Detroit Lions Thanksgiving game in years when CBS carries it, or at 9 a.m. local time in years they carry the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving game.

From 1962 to 1971, NBC's coverage was hosted by Lorne Greene (who was then appearing on NBC's Bonanza) and Betty White. Ed McMahon co-hosted in 1971, then hosted until 1982. Since 1982, NBC has appointed at least one of the hosts of Today to emcee the television broadcast, starting with Bryant Gumbel, who hosted the parade until 1987. From 1987 to 1997, NBC's coverage was hosted by longtime Today weather anchor Willard Scott. During that period, their co-hosts included Mary Hart, Sandy Duncan, and Today colleagues Deborah Norville and Katie Couric. In recent years, NBC's coverage has been hosted by Today anchors Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira (from 2006 to 2010), Ann Curry (for the 2011 telecast only) and Savannah Guthrie (since 2012) as well as Today weather anchor Al Roker.

From the early 1980s until circa 1994, the television broadcast was produced and directed by Dick Schneider; since circa 1994, it has been executive produced by Brad Lachman (who has otherwise been known for producing reality television series), produced by Bill Bracken and directed by veteran sitcom director Gary Halvorson. Announcements during the telecast were first provided by Don Pardo, followed by Lynda Lopez, the telecast's only female announcer, who served during the decade wherein Willard Scott was the parade's host; from circa 1994 to 2010, announcer duties were helmed by Joel Godard (who also served as the announcer for Late Night with Conan O'Brien for much of that period), and then were assumed by Today announcer Les Marshak with the 2011 telecast. The musical director for the television coverage is veteran composer/arranger Milton DeLugg.

CBS's coverage was originally part of the "All-American Thanksgiving Day Parade," a broadcast that included footage from multiple parades across North America, including parades at Detroit, Philadelphia and Disneyland (the latter was later replaced by Opryland USA in 1997 and after that Miami Beach), and taped footage of the Toronto Santa Claus Parade (taped usually the second or third weekend of November) and the Aloha Floral Parade in Honolulu (which usually took place in September). Beginning in 2004, however, CBS has focused exclusively on the Macy's parade, but avoids using the Macy's name due to the lack of an official license. To compensate for the fact that the Broadway and music performances can only appear on NBC, CBS adds their own pre-recorded performances (also including Broadway shows, although different from the ones that are part of the official parade and recorded off-site) to fill out the special.

For the 1997 parade, MTV guest reporters, Beavis and Butt-head, with host Kurt Loder, provided their usual style of commentary on aspects of the parade, and of their take on Thanksgiving in general. The special, titled Beavis and Butt-head Do Thanksgiving, included a balloon of Beavis and Butt-head spectating from their couch. The balloon was not participating in the parade, but stationed on top of a building alongside the parade route.

Radio coverage is provided by CBS Radio-owned WINS (1010 AM) in New York City. It is one of the few times throughout the year in which that station breaks away from its all-news radio format.

In 2016, Verizon produced a 360-degree virtual reality live telecast of the parade, with minimal commentary, made available through Youtube.

Parade route

The Parade has always taken place in Manhattan. The parade originally started from 145th Street in Harlem and ended at Herald Square, making a 6-mile (9.7 km) route.

In the 1930s, the balloons were inflated in the area of 110th Street and Amsterdam Avenue near St. John the Divine Cathedral. The parade proceeded South on Amsterdam Avenue to 106th Street and turned east. At Columbus Avenue, the balloons had to be lowered to go under the Ninth Avenue El. Past the El tracks, the parade proceeded through 106th Street to Central Park West and turned south to terminate at Macy's Department Store.

A new route was established for the 2009 parade. From 77th Street and Central Park West, the route went south along Central Park to Columbus Circle, then east along Central Park South. The parade would then make a right turn at 7th Avenue and go south to Times Square. At 42nd Street, the parade turned left and went east, then at 6th Avenue turned right again at Bryant Park. Heading south on 6th Avenue, the parade turned right at 34th Street (at Herald Square) and proceeded west to the terminating point at 7th Avenue where the floats are taken down. The 2009 route change eliminated Broadway completely, where the parade has traveled down for decades. The City of New York said that the new route would provide more space for the parade, and more viewing space for spectators. Another reason for implementing the route change is the city's plan to turn Broadway into a pedestrian-only zone at Times Square.

Another new route was introduced with the 2012 parade. This change is similar to the 2009 route, but eliminated Times Square altogether.

It is not advised to view the parade from Columbus Circle, as balloon teams race through it due to higher winds in this flat area. New York City officials preview the parade route and try to eliminate as many potential obstacles as possible, including rotating overhead traffic signals out of the way.

Macy's Holiday Parade

Since 2001, Macy's Studios has partnered with the Universal Orlando Resort (owned by NBC parent NBCUniversal) to bring balloons and floats from New York City to the theme park in Florida every holiday season. The parade is performed daily and includes the iconic Santa Claus float. Performers from the Orlando area are cast as various clowns, and the park used to invite guests to be "balloon handlers" for the parade.

Injuries

  • In 1993, the Sonic the Hedgehog balloon crashed into a lamppost at Columbus Circle and injured a child and an off-duty police officer.
  • In 1997, very high winds pushed the Cat in the Hat balloon into a lamppost. The falling debris struck a parade-goer, fracturing her skull and leaving her in a coma for a month. Three other people were also injured from the lamp post. Size rules were implemented the next year, eliminating larger balloons like the Cat in the Hat.
  • In 2005, the M&M's balloon caught on a streetlight in Times Square and dropped parts of the light onto two sisters were struck by the falling debris, suffering minor injuries. As a result, new safety rules were introduced. The M&M's balloon was retired after 2006.
  • The 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street, begins with the parade, as do most of its remakes. The film centers around the real Santa Claus being hired to work at Macy's after its own Santa impersonator gets drunk during the parade. NBC, in its telecasts of the parade, often showed the original 1947 film on Thanksgiving afternoon, following parade coverage.
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Mom and Pop Store", Elaine wins a spot on the parade route for her boss, Mr. Pitt, to hold the Woody Woodpecker balloon.
  • The first Thanksgiving-themed episode of Friends centered on the accidental release of the (unused at the time) "Underdog" balloon.
  • "Macy's Day Parade" is a song by Green Day.
  • In 2008, a Coca-Cola CGI ad aired in the United States during Super Bowl XLII. The commercial's plot centered around Underdog and fictional Stewie Griffin balloons chasing a Coke bottle-shaped balloon through New York City. The spot ended with a Charlie Brown balloon holding the Coke balloon. The advertisement won a Silver Lion Award at the annual Lions International Advertising Festival in Cannes, France that year, and the clip of the commercial with the Griffin balloon was featured in a Macy's commercial in October 2008 (along with clips from Miracle on 34th Street, I Love Lucy, Seinfeld and other media where the Macy's department store was mentioned). The commercial was also referenced in an episode of Family Guy. Stewie, who is one of the main characters in the show, is seen watching the parade only to see the balloon of himself in the parade.
  • References

    Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Wikipedia


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