1998 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (found NBC broadcast of parade; 1998)

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Official poster.

Status: Found

Date found: 08 Sept 2018

Found by: Major League Pong Gods

The 1998 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was the 72nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and was held on November 26th, 1998, in New York City and shown to viewers live on NBC that same day at 9:00 a.m. It was hosted by Katie Couric, Al Roker, and the new co-host Matt Lauer who replaced then-co-host Willard Scott after the 1997 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Participating celebrities in the parade included the likes of The Pointer Sisters, NSYNC, 98 Degrees, Kenny Rogers, Martina McBride, and Chicago. [1]


The year marked the introduction of Matt Lauer as the new co-host of the 72nd Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade who replaced Willard Scott who hosted every Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade since 1987. Matt would host the parade for nearly 20 years until he was fired by NBC on November 29th, 2017. [2]

This year's parade is especially notable for some big rule changes after the "Great Balloon Massacre of '97", specifically the Cat in the Hat incident that left a woman comatose for a month. First off, the volunteers were now subjected to an intensive training session. This is in response to the two-day workshop they held in years past, which after the 1997 incident, obviously was not enough. Secondly, Macy’s struck up a deal with the city of New York. The balloons now would have height restrictions. No balloon could be over 70 feet high, 78 feet long, and 40 feet wide. This meant that balloons like Woody Woodpecker, The Pink Panther, Bugs Bunny, and Bart Simpson would never fly in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade again; the Cat in the Hat did not violate any of the new rules, but nobody wanted to see the balloon ever again after the incident. Also, no large balloons would be operated in sustained winds exceeding 23 miles per hour or during wind gusts exceeding 34 miles per hour. Finally, every giant balloon would not only be carried by the usual balloon handlers but each with two John Deere utility vehicles. [3]

Despite all the preparations for the event, it ended up not only being windy again, though not as windy as it was one year prior but heavy rain was added to the mix as well. Because of this, some of the balloons including parade staples like Garfield the Cat, Spider-Man and The Nestlé Quik Bunny were severely damaged by the weather and had to be pulled from the parade before it even began. The weather also caused damage to the new Wild Thing balloon as a cross-wind pushed it against a lamppost on 77th Street and suffered a 10-foot gash in its left side. Because of this, it too was removed from the parade. When it came to the live NBC broadcast, stock footage from the 1996, 1993 and 1987 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade were used for the three former balloons that were too damaged to fly with the Wild Thing balloon being completely omitted from the broadcast aside from the introduction of it being on the parade. Despite all this, nobody was injured or hurt and everything else went through without a hitch. [4]

This year marked the final appearances of the original 1987 Spider-Man balloon, the Peter Rabbit balloon, the Eben Bear balloon and even the new Babe the Pig balloon which was there to promote the Babe movie sequel Babe: Pig in the City. The year also marked the debut of the Dexter balloon which was based on the character from the 1996 Cartoon Network show Dexter's Laboratory.

For floats, several falloons (combinations of a float and a balloon) were introduced including one based on the Yellow and Red M&M characters, Heimlich the Caterpillar from the Pixar film A Bug's Life and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer from the Goodtimes film Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie whom the latter was the holiday ambassador of the 1998 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Along with new regular floats based on Sesame Street and Barney & Friends, there was even a new float based on the then-upcoming animated feature The King and I by former Disney director Richard Rich.


While almost all of NBC's parades since 1980 have been widely bootlegged, the 1998 parade was one of the few broadcasts since 1980 that had not resurfaced in full on the internet. Several clips had made their way to YouTube including a couple of marching band performances, Chicago, The Pointer Sisters, Barney & Friends, America Sings! and Broadway shows like The Scarlet Pimpernel, Annie Gets Your Gun and Footloose. Some other clips were also shown in the Thanksgiving Day Parade's 90th-anniversary special, which aired on November 24th, 2016 and can be found in its entirety on YouTube. [5]

One of the 1998 clips that could be found online was of the Universal Cheer & Dance Association performance, which was uploaded by Brenda Carling under the YouTube channel Chech's Home Videos. [6] She claimed to have the entire 1998 parade on VHS, however, she had failed to upload it online or contact anyone else about doing so.

The closest thing there was to watch the 1998 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in its entirety was the 43-minute long documentary "Inside The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" from 1999, which mainly went inside the parade studio and discussed balloon safety following an incident at the 1997 parade in which The Cat in the Hat balloon hit a lamppost and sent a woman named Kathleen Caronna into a month-long coma along with a fractured skull from the lamppost debris.

On July 10th, 2018, YouTuber "FragglevisionReturns" under her Major League Pong Gods channel confirmed that she had the full NBC broadcast of the 1998 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and planned to upload it to YouTube almost immediately. Unfortunately, due to technical issues with her VHS rip software, she couldn't upload it but promised if everything turned out fine with it, she would upload it to YouTube sometime in 2018. She later made good on this promise, uploading a WDSU 6 broadcast of the parade in its entirety to YouTube on September 8th 2018.


The entire parade.

America Sings! performance.

Fayetteville H.S. Marching Band performance.

Barney & Friends performance with the Barney balloon.

Chicago performance.

Universal Cheer & Dance Association performance.

NSYNC and 98 Degrees performances.

The Pointer Sisters performance.

Arapahoe H.S. Marching Band performance.

Footloose Broadway show performance.

Illinois State University Marching Band performance.

West High School Marching Band performance.

Inside The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade documentary which covered the 1998 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

See Also