10 Retired, Disgraced and Otherwise Lost Macy's Parade Balloons

10 Retired, Disgraced and Otherwise Lost Macy’s Parade Balloons

Nov 24, 2011

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade has been an American tradition since 1924. Not all of their balloons, however, have stood the test of time. In honor of Thanksgiving, here are 10 Macy’s Parade balloons from days gone by…

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1. SPACE MAN: Macy’s embraced the space age by sending an astronaut down the parade route in 1965. With shuttle launches over and NASA’s budget slashed, it’s unlikely the department store will bother including one ever again.

2. NEW YORK POLICE OFFICER: Apparently there was a time when NYPD’s boys and girls in blue were revered and respected by the masses. Now the only cops on the parade route are those looking for trouble.

3. THE CAT IN THE HAT: Beloved by millions the world over, the Cat in the Hat couldn’t hurt a fly. Well, that’s what we thought: you may remember that the Cat’s Macy’s balloon hit a a street lamp in 1997, the wreckage of which left one woman in a coma. It was euthanized the following year.

4. EDDIE CANTOR: Aside from his fictionalized stint on “Boardwalk Empire,” entertainer Eddie Cantor was most famous in the early 20th century for his radio and stage work. Four decades later, after he had gone out of style, Macy’s turned Cantor into a parade attraction. It was a short-lived stint, though, and Cantor remains one of the only real people, other than Santa Claus and Superman, to be turned into a balloon.

5. SINCLAIR OIL DINOSAUR: More proof public sentiment has changed: in the 1960s and early-1970s, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade included Sinclair Oil’s mascot, a Brontosaurus. Then the public wised up to oil companies’ nefarious ways, and the dinosaur went the way of the dodo.

6. JEEVES: Ask.com tried to build up its public recognition by sending its own mascot, stereotypical butler Jeeves, down the parade route in 2000. Then they scrapped the mascot and the balloon, like so many others, became a thing of the past.

7. TIN MAN: MGM hyped 1939′s The Wizard of Oz with a Tin Man Macy’s balloon. Once the movie became a hit, though, the Tin Man was transformed into another forgotten parade character, Laffo the Clown.

8. HOWDY DOODY: More than any other character on this list, wooden cowpoke Howdy Doody makes the most sense as a Macy’s parade balloon. Then his show was canceled and poor Howdy Doody was sent to the landfill, where he remains to this day, a petrified husk of his former self.

9. THE KATZENJAMMERS: There used to be things called newspapers. And in these “newspapers” there were comic strips, including one called the Katzenjammer Kids. Apparently they were very popular, because the family in the late 20s was included in the Macy’s parade.

10. NANTUCKET SEA MONSTER: Before there was the Montauk Monster, there was the Nantucket Sea Monster. Never heard of it? Yeah, me neither, but maybe we’re too young: the creature was famous enough to be included in one of the first parades.

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