8. Felix the Cat Catches Fire, 1927
The silent-film era cartoon character Felix the Cat met a rambunctious ending at the 1927 parade when he got tangled in telephone wires and caught on fire! Luckily, the flames were quickly extinguished before they could leap to any other nearby structures. The incident happened when the parade was over and the balloon was released into the air.
Letting the balloons float freely once the parade was over was common practice in the early days of the parade. Address labels were sewn into the balloons so people could mail them back to Macy’s for a $100 gift certificate. This practice was finally discontinued in 1932 after other various Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon mishaps occurred. Felix the Cat was actually the first larger-than-life balloon made for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, so it’s not too surprising that things didn’t go too swimmingly at first.