Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (partially found NBC broadcasts from parade; 1952-1979)

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The iconic Happy Dragon balloon in the 1972 parade telecast.

Status: Partially Found

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the more well-known parades in the USA. Originally created as a Christmas pageant in 1924, it evolved into an annual tradition comparable to the Super Bowl. Over 170 giant balloons have been created for the parade since the fifth parade in 1928, most based off of media icons.

Since 1953, NBC has held the telecast rights to the parade. Hosts of the telecast have included such personalities as Bob Hope (1960), Lorne Greene, Betty White (from 1963 to 1972), Ed McMahon (from 1974 to 1981), Helen Reddy (1975), Bryant Gumbel (from 1977 to 1980 and 1982 to 1984), Willard Scott (from 1987 to 1997), Katie Couric (from 1991 to 2005), and Al Roker. Prior to obtaining the rights, CBS broadcasted the parade.


It should come as no surprise that many of the telecasts from the 1950s are lost, but only one pre-1980 parade exists in full. Due to the fact that the parades are only broadcasted once (with an encore since 2012), it is not likely that all of the telecasts will be uploaded. Video recording software was first released in 1971, making the 1971-1979 parades more likely to be found than the 1952-1970 parades. Certain footage from old telecasts has been shown in anniversary specials, showing that some still exist.

During the first television years, the parade went through changes. Many of the parade's most iconic balloons were introduced in this period, such as Popeye, Bullwinkle, the Happy Dragon, Underdog, Smokey Bear, Linus the Lionhearted, Sinclair's Dino, and the first two Snoopy balloons. The toy float concept was introduced in the 1960s, with a turkey-shaped one, introduced in 1973, eventually becoming parade mascot Tom Turkey.

A few notable lost parades include the 1956 parade (when Mighty Mouse crashed at Herald Square), 1965 (the debut of Underdog), and 1971 (when all the balloons had to be removed due to bad weather).

Of note, one other parade, the 1982 parade, is also lost and has a separate article, due to its high demand. At least one copy is believed to exist.

Below, you can find the 1959 parade and surviving parts of various parades from the 1960s and 1970s.


The 1959 parade, the oldest surviving parade in full.
Parts of the 1972 parade.
Kathy Coleman's 1974 Performace on the New Wizard of Oz float.
Wrangler Belles performance from the 1971 parade.
Wrangler Belles performance from the 1973 parade.
Wrangler Belles performance from the 1977 parade and longer introduction to the 1977 parade.
Diana Ross's famous appearance in 1979.
Sinclair's Dino in the 1965 parade.
The introduction to the 1977 parade.
Tom Turkey, known in 1974 as the Toy Turkey, makes his second appearance.

See Also