4. Eddie Cantor was the only full-size novelty balloon to represent a real person

Eddie Cantor balloon
Photograph Courtesy of Macy’s, Inc.

Although virtually unknown to younger generations, Eddie Cantor was a radio star, singer, dancer, comedian, songwriter and screen actor. He’s probably most famous for his rendition of the song “Makin’ Whoopie” and for writing “Merrily We Roll Along,” which was the theme to the Warner Brother’s Merry Melodies cartoons. He was also one of the Feltman waiters down on Coney Island who convinced Nathan Handwerker to start his legendary hot dog stand. So we can thank him for Nathan’s Famous.

Eddie Cantor was also the only full-sized novelty balloon to be made in the likeness of a real person. The Marx Brothers had a novelty balloon float, but it was nowhere near as large as the Eddie Cantor balloon featured in the 1934 parade. As the AV Club puts it, the Cantor balloon had “a banjo-eyed” and “ghoulish visage” which was sure to scare kids, not delight them.