Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Disasters

What’s the one thing we feel compelled to do before we get to eat, watch football and fall into an insulin-induced coma on Thanksgiving Day? Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

An 88 year-old tradition, Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade has had its share of mishaps, bad floats, careening balloons and more than a few faux pas. Format has assembled a list of the worst of the worst.

Sonic the Hedgehog is Ripped to Shreds

There is nothing like seeing a four story tall corporate logo being inadvertently torn to shreds. 1993’s Sonic the Hedgehog entry did just that, knocking over a telephone pole and injuring a policeman in the process. Sonic would return with an updated look in 2011, but the real question we all want to know is, Would this happen to Mario?

All of the 1980s Marvel Comics Floats

Floats were simply bait that kept kids watching. Did they work? Hell yes. Were they fulfilling? Absolutely not.

Any mention Willard Scott made the upcoming Marvel Comics floats kept me sitting in front of the television, watching boring turkey-shaped float after turkey-shaped float and marching band pass instead of sleeping in or playing video games on Thanksgiving morning.

Marvel Comics made some pretty over the top floats, but they haven’t stood the test of time. The floats didn’t necessarily have a theme; they just tried to cram as much of the Marvel Universe into a truck-driven float as they could. The best part of this video might be Captain America gently lowering Magneto onto the ground after beating him up.

The He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Float

On par with the excitement surrounding Marvel Comics’ offerings is the mid-1980s He-Man & the Masters of the Universe floats. He-Man fighting Skeletor, Orko the magician, and, in this clip, a not very PG-friendly scantily clad She-Ra. Dolph Lundgren made an appearance to coincide with the float one year, providing for some face time prior to the release of the live-action He-Man and the Masters of the Universe movie.

Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark Song and Dance

The closest a lot of us got to ever seeing the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, this isn’t necessarily a Thanksgiving accident, but a memory a lot of us would like to erase.

RickRolling people on a Float

In 2008, Cartoon Network’s Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends series had a special guest on their float – Rick Astley. At the height of the internet “RickRoll”-ing phenomena, the series pulled one over on parade goers at each stop. The stunt failed to attain the needed attention, as Fosters went off the air in 2009. The fun begins at 0:48.

Parade balloons are attracted to light poles

Light poles appear to have an almost magnetic attraction to Macy’s Parade balloons, especially those with literary origins. Watch Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat ram into (and knock over) poles in this clip.

Alf threatens to kill Garfield

In this wonderful Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade moment,  stuffed NBC sitcom star Alf muses over killing Garfield and feeding the cat to his entire planet. These are the images that need to fill the minds of little ones during the holidays.  Not cool Alf, not cool.

The 1928 Macy’s Day Parade makes children cry

In the 1928 Macy’s Day Parade, decide it would be ok just to let the balloons drift off at the end, ascending into the ether. It wasn’t. Upon reaching colder temperatures and decreased pressure in the upper atmosphere, the balloons popped, leading to a bevy of crying and confused children watching the shreds of balloon crash to the ground.  No, Pikachu wasn’t there; we just don’t have video of the 1928 parade.


Top image from DrivingtheNortheast. Additional image also from DrivingtheNortheast.


Keith Veronese has a Ph.D. in chemistry and regularly writes for Gawker Media's science site, io9. His worked has appeared on the Gawker Media sites Lifehacker, Deadspin, Kotaku, and Jezebel in addition to Paste Magazine, AMOG, So Jones, Hip Hop Press, and FormatMag. Keith also has a non-fiction book in the works, Plugged In: Comic Book Professionals Working in the Video Game Industry, which will be released by TwoMorrows Publishing later this year.

Latest posts by Keith (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>