If you were at the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924 (then called the “Macy’s Christmas Parade”), you would have witnessed the first iteration of what became a country-wide phenomenon. The parade, with its huge balloons, ended at the Macy’s department store, where Macy’s holiday window displays were revealed to an awed crowd. Since then, the tradition of the parade has evolved and become a staple of commercialism for the city and the country. Here we look back at ten vintage photos of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from its early days in the 1920s to the 1990s:
1. Felix the Cat Balloon, 1927
2. Daschund Released at the end of the 1929 Parade
3. Mickey Mouse Balloon, 1934
4. Uncle Sam, Circa 1940
What’s great about these vintage photos of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is that you can see how the city has evolved alongside the parade. In the photo above, you can see an Uncle Sam balloon floating through Times Square past the Astor Hotel, a precursor to the Waldorf-Astoria.
5. Happy Hippos, 1940s
A lot more cartoon characters have joined the fold these days, including Pikachu, Hello Kitty, and Sponge Bob Square Pants. The 2014 parade will take place on Thursday, November 27th. The parade will begin at 77th Street and Central Park West and proceed south to Macy’s in Herald Square. You can catch a glimpse of the balloon blowing the day before starting at 3pm at 79th Street and Columbus Avenue.
6. Macy’s Elf Balloon, 1947
7. Bullwinkle, 1961
8. First Snoopy Balloon, 1968
Snoopy first appeared in 1968 as the World War I Flying Ace (sans the red dog house). He’s had many iterations since the launch, as an astronaut, and ice skater, with Woodstock in 1988 for the first time, and as a jester. Since 2006, he’s had an updated flying ace outfit.