Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

Have a Look at Some of the Oldest Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Photographs

November 26, 2015
Bob Lansroth loves to explore the boundless diversity of artists and the various ways in which they strive to escape the quotidian life. It is through the creative force within us that we must attempt to connect with one another and share our ideas with the world. Writing for Widewalls, Bob Lansroth makes an effort to bring the world of art to as many people as possible. “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

For more than nine decades now, the citizens of New York City cannot imagine Thanksgiving without the traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting or the New Year’s Eve Ball on Times Square, it gives people an entertaining reason to come down to the streets and celebrate the holiday with one of the country’s most popular department stores. The first ever Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade kicked off back in 1924, and with time it became more and more popular, expanding the presentation of its iteration as time went by. Always paying respect to famous figures from popular culture, the parade’s giant balloons became iconic, bigger and more spectacular every year, floating over their many amazed spectators.

The Parade Became an Integral Part of the Holiday

Today, we’re able to see for ourselves the way Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade evolved through time, thanks to the historic photographs preserved by Macy’s. With a sense of nostalgia, these images take us back through time and allow us to witness the lives and important events of almost a century ago. Thus, they hold an immense significance, both as the preservers of memories and as physical documentation items created in a period when there was no mass production of images. In terms of art collecting, buying historic photographs is always a good choice because they are a rare find, almost always coming in very limited editions, or even as a single print – which increases their value, if you’re buying as an investment. When it comes to an event with a tradition as long as Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, photographs from its very beginning are to treasure.

While you scroll through the Oldest Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Photographs, you can take a look at the photographs on sale on our very own Marketplace!

The First Ever Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, 1924

macy's thanksgiving day photographs entertainment photos privacy sports politics policy floats
The first Parade included live animals like camels, donkeys, goats and elephants, all as part of the event for the inaugural year. The originally named “Macy’s Christmas Day Parade” was held in 1924, even though it took place on Thanksgiving Day. Later on, lions, bears and tigers were discontinued from use in the live parade, because they would scare the children. It was not until 1927 that the live animals in the Parade were replaced with the now signature giant helium balloons.

Christmas Parade, 1924

macy's thanksgiving day photographs entertainment photos privacy sports politics policy floats
Still when it was known as the “Christmas Parade” – this was the very first Santa Claus float, back in 1924

The Balloonatics Float, 1926

macy's thanksgiving day photographs entertainment photos privacy sports politics policy floats
This 1926 Balloonatics float inspired the giant balloon characters that have become the signature part of the event.

Felix the Cat, 1927

macy's thanksgiving day photographs entertainment photos privacy sports politics policy floats
In 1927, the first giant helium balloons were introduced as the main characters of the event. Among them was the very first of the popular iconic characters to be used – Felix the Cat. Actually, this first balloon of the beloved cat was filled with air, but by the next year, helium was used to fill the expanding cast of the balloons.

The Happy Dragon, 1927

macy's thanksgiving day photographs new 2015 york email sign
Making his debut at the second Parade, The Happy Dragon has appeared numerous times since 1927. The figure is a novelty balloon from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Floating baloons, 1929

new 2015 york email sign
In 1929, a dachshund balloon was released into the air after the parade. Because in the early years the organizers had no plans for deflating the balloons, they’d simply allow them to float away. It was quickly realized that this presented a safety hazard, so soon after, the floating objects were equipped with safety valves to let the helium seep out slowly.

Mickey Mouse, 1934

1934 comes around, and Mickey Mouse is introduced to the party! The first enormous balloon version of the popular mouse was designed with the help of Walt Disney.
1934 comes around, and Mickey Mouse is introduced to the party! The first enormous balloon version of the popular mouse was designed with the help of Walt Disney.

Eddie Cantor, 1934

Still in the same year, the first-ever balloon made in the likeness of a real person was featured in the Parade, the famous figure was Eddie Cantor. Known for his song Makin’ Woopee, Eddie Cantor was not a big hit with the children in the parade, but he remains as one of the only balloons based on real people.
Still in the same year, the first-ever balloon made in the likeness of a real person was featured in the Parade, the famous figure was Eddie Cantor. Known for his song Makin’ Woopee, Eddie Cantor was not a big hit with the children in the parade, but he remains as one of the only additions based on real people.

The Hippo, 1940

Unlike some of the featured characters and figures from the early years, that may seem a bit unsettling today, there’s nothing even remotely creepy about this giant inflated hippo from the 1940 Parade 2015 day
Unlike some of the featured characters and balloons from the early years, that may seem a bit unsettling today, there’s nothing even remotely creepy about this giant inflated hippo from the 1940 Parade.

(Collapsing) Santa Clause, 1941

A character that is timeless and never loses on his popularity with the kids, Santa Clause was featured as a giant balloon in 1941, but it was collapsed during the Parade.
A character that is timeless and never loses on his popularity with the kids, Santa Clause was featured as a giant balloon in 1941, but it had collapsed during the Parade.

Share your opinion with us on our facebook page – and have a very Happy Thanksgiving from the Widewalls team!

Take a look into history through art with a free sign up for My Widewalls!

All images courtesy of Macy’s.