The One Where The Katzenjammer Kids Gets Away

We’re just one day away from the fattest day for Americans (I guess maybe besides super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day if you’re single) and that means it’s almost time for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For 88 years, this parade in the heart of New York City has been a Thanksgiving morning staple for families all across America. Thousands line up the streets of Manhattan as well as in front of their TVs to watch celebrities waving from floats, singers lip syncing, high school marching bands impressing their parents with their walking skills (and are a reminder that they are probably considered the ‘popular kids’ where they’re from), and Broadway musical stars perform much needed interludes. And then there are the balloons. There are a variety of different balloons featured in the parade, but you probably associate the Macy’s parade with those huge ass ballons of rando pop culture characters like Hello Kitty or Spongebob or Underdog.

But in the 88 years of this beloved tradition, there have been a number of odd, bizarre and straight up frightening balloons that have floated down the streets of New York. Here are just a few of the weirdest ones from the past eight decades – and you can be THANKFUL that some of these aren’t featured in Thursday’s parade.

Turkey {1932}

Naturally, some sort of turkey has to make an appearance at the parade. But this one barely looks like Thanksgiving’s main dish. Fun fact: for the first six years of the parade, all the balloons were released into the air at the end of the route because organizers didn’t know what to do with the balloons filled with helium. If someone caught one and returned it (to Macy’s?) they would win money. This practice proved to be dangerous, so they stopped in 1933.

Dragon/Nantucket Sea Monster {1937}

This guy was one of the first balloons ever at the Macy’s parade and often used as a guerrilla marketing stunt to raise awareness about the parade. If their goal was to frighten little kids (and adults) so much that they lose their appetites, it worked.

Pinocchio {1937}

I mean, really. REALLY?  I don’t remember Pinocchio’s growing that… way.

The Katzenjammer Kids {1920s}

These frightening folks were based on the widely popular comic strip in the 1920s. The mom is in the front, followed by just the head of the dad and the kids following behind. WHY DOESN’T THE DAD HAVE A BODY THO.

Mighty Mouse {1954}

Now I’ve never actually watched an episode of this superhero mouse, but I feel like his body isn’t proportionate. Are his legs usually like 10 times smaller than his torso, or…?

Father Knickerbocker {1936}

Father Knickerbocker was a mascot for the Big Apple in the late 1800s and early 1900s – hence the name for the city’s basketball team, the New York Knicks. However, this particular balloon was questionable since Mr. Knickerbocker was usually depicted with an over-sized judge’s wig. This balloon is not. Also, one time this dude’s nose got caught in an outdoor train and people were scrambled to do a nose job on him before he made his appearance in the parade.

Eddie Cantor {1940s}

This balloon is based on actor/singer/dancer/beloved New Yorker Eddie Cantor, who looked like this IRL.  He was only one of the few real life people to have a Macy’s balloon in their likeness, and I think it’s pretty clear why. Balloon bro’s high on helium and has no idea what he’s doing or where he’s going. Also, hammer pants.

Pumpkin {1945}


Acrobats {1938}

Sure, your eyes go directly to the mustachioed acrobat with weird fingers and thigh bands, but please note the smaller acrobat holding on for dear life at his feet. Again, the proportions are not accurate.

Space Man {1952}

Neil Armstrong wouldn’t land on the moon until 17 years later, and actually NASA wasn’t even founded until 1958, which might explain why this space man looks like a cross between an exterminator and a lego industrial worker.

The Thief of Bagdad {1940}

This is technically a float but, um… it’s weird, right? The Thief of Bagdad was a 1924 (and later 1940) film about a king who is tricked and cast out of Bagdad by the evil Jaffar (yeah, Aladdin and this share the same roots). He joins forces with a thief named Abu in order to reclaim his throne, the city, and the princess he loves (whose name isn’t Jasmine) Naturally, it needed a float in the Macy’s Day Parade, because what kids wouldn’t love seeing this frightening depiction of Jaffar coming towards them?

Linus the Lion {1973}

This was from a parade in the 70s, so it’s fair to assume Linus the Lion was chasing the dragon, right? Drugs. I mean drugs.

Ask Jeeves {2001}

If you don’t remember who Ask Jeeves is, just look him up on Lycos. While you’re at it, feel free to visit my Geocities site and sign my guestbook. *~sMaRtER ChiLD*~

Elf on a Shelf {2012}

Maybe look for the Elf on a Shelf in the bathroom this year?

B. Boy {2010}

This balloon was designed by Tim Burton. I think that explains it.

Rabbit {2007}

Artist Jeff Koons’ silver rabbit is not surprising if you know his aesthetics, but still, he’s definitely no main stream enough to have this balloon make sense during the Macy’s parade.