Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Gift Giving: What People Really Want


  We've probably all either read the Charles Dickens story or saw one adaptation / version of "A Christmas Carol".
    It has been done dozens upon dozens of times in some form with titles ranging from "A Christmas Carol", "Scrooge", and "Ebenezer" to more unique names such as "Scrooged" or "Mr. Scrooge". There are also versions with drastically different stories and titles like "Ms. Scrooge" or "An American Christmas Carol". I do enjoy most versions but since this is a top 10 I need to narrow it down to ten. Most of you have probably seen one of my top 10 because a few have played every year for decades.
   There have been female versions such as Ms. Scrooge (1997) (TV) with Cicely Tyson as Ms. Ebenita Scrooge and I believe there are a few others with titles I don't remember. Not to sound sexist but I don't care for these females versions at all. I'm not sure if any woman can fit the role of Ebenezer. Possibly with a newly written part just for women.
   Other female versions include Ebbie (1995) (TV) with Susan Lucci playing Elizabeth 'Ebbie' Scrooge. Lucci as Scrooge? I just didn't buy it. Then there's A Carol Christmas (2003) (TV), a Hallmark original movie with a very mismatched cast of Tori Spelling as Carol and get this, Coleman and Shatner play two of the Ghosts!
   On with the list! I'll just sort by year of release. I'll also list the cast for Ebenezer, Bob Cratchit &  his wife, Tiny Tim, Fred (Ebenezer's nephew), Fezziwig (Ebenezer's boss and "teacher" of sorts) and Jacob Marley's and the three ghosts.

1. Scrooge (1935)


   An old black & white version which I don't see too often but do occasionally catch it. This British production version stars Seymour Hicks as Ebenezer Scrooge, a reprisal of his 1913 silent role. He does an okay job but not my favorite black & white version. Straightforward adaptation of Dickens' classic.

Trivia  Tidbit
    The voice of the Ghost of Christmas Past is not that of Marie Ney, whose physical outline can be seen onscreen as the Ghost. Ney was a woman, and the voice of the Ghost of Christmas Past is that of an uncredited male actor.


 Seymour Hicks .... Ebenezer Scrooge
Donald Calthrop .... Bob Cratchit
Barbara Everest .... Mrs. Cratchit
Robert Cochran .... Fred
Philip Frost .... Tiny Tim
Oscar Asche .... Spirit of Christmas Present
Marie Ney .... Spirit of Christmas Past
C.V. France .... Spirit of Christmas Future

Directed by
Henry Edwards

Writing credits (in alphabetical order)
Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol
H. Fowler Mear

2. A Christmas Carol (1938)

A Christmas Carol

   This is a version that I've seen played every year since I can remember. It's your standard adaptation. The sets look cheap but what can you expect for 1938. Reginald Owen does a great job as Ebenezer Scrooge but he kind of reminds me of a Lollipop Kid munchkin in Wizard of Oz with an almost bald head and a little wispy hair. Not really special about it but still is one of the better black & white versions. This production also exists in a colorized version but I don't remember seeing that one.

Trivia Tidbit
    A very young June Lockhart plays a small role as one of the Cratchit daughters and both of her parents played the Cratchit parents which is kind of cool.
MGM released a record-breaking 375 prints of the film so that as many people as possible could see it during the Christmas season.
    This was the only film in which Gene Lockhart appeared with his wife Kathleen Lockhart and their daughter June Lockhart, Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge McDuck was probably based physically on this version of Ebenezer Scrooge, with the fringe of hair and the small tuft of hair on the top of his head.


Reginald Owen .... Ebenezer Scrooge
Gene Lockhart .... Bob Cratchit
Kathleen Lockhart .... Mrs. Cratchit
Terry Kilburn .... Tiny Tim Cratchit
Barry MacKay .... Fred
Forrester Harvey .... Fezziwig
Leo G. Carroll .... Jacob Marley's ghost
Lionel Braham .... Spirit of Christmas Present
Ann Rutherford .... Spirit of Christmas Past
D'Arcy Corrigan .... Spirit of Christmas Future
June Lockhart .... Belinda Cratchit

Directed by
Edwin L. Marin

Writing credits
Charles Dickens (short story)
Hugo Butler (screenplay)

3. Scrooge (1951)

A Christmas Carol (Ultimate Collector's Edition)(B/W & Color)

    This is another black & white adaptation which is played yearly and is probably the most popular black & white version. This one has been colorized so that's the version we usually see. Usually the colorized version is played as an homage with Patrick MacNeeacting as host to add facts about it between breaks. Patrick MacNee, of Avengers fame, has a small role in the film as a young Jacob Marley. He probably hosts because he's the biggest star in his career; either that or he was the only cast member still alive. It's your standard adaptation.
Alastair Sim is one of the best Ebenezer Scrooges. He's very mean to start with and he's great to watch after the ghosts leave. He jumps around hysterically like an insane man and a rather unique scene where the maid screams and runs away from him, thinking he went mad. He's probably my second favorite Scrooge.

 Alastair Sim .... Ebenezer Scrooge
Mervyn Johns .... Bob Cratchit
Hermione Baddeley .... Mrs. Cratchit
Brian Worth .... Fred
Glyn Dearman .... Tiny Tim
Roddy Hughes .... Mr. S. Fezziwig
Michael Hordern .... Jacob Marley/Marley's Ghost
Francis De Wolff .... Spirit of Christmas Present
Michael Dolan .... Spirit of Christmas Past
C. Konarski .... Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come
Patrick Macnee .... Young Jacob Marley

Directed by
Brian Desmond Hurst

Writing credits
Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol
Noel Langley adaptation and screenplay

4. A Christmas Carol (1954) from the show "Shower of Stars"

    This version is only a 60 minute episode of "Shower of Stars" but worth a view. This was originally broadcast in color. This is important because RCA introduced the first color television, the CT-100 that year. It was filmed in color but only black & White prints exist today. Note Basil Rathbone as Marley's ghost.


 William Lundigan .... Host
Mary Costa .... Co-host (spoken credit)
Fredric March .... Ebenezer Scrooge
Bob Sweeney .... Bob Cratchit
Queenie Leonard .... Mrs. Cratchit
Christopher Cook .... Tiny Tim
Basil Rathbone .... Marley's ghost
Sally Fraser .... Ghost of Christmas Past/Belle
Ray Middleton .... Fred/Ghost of Christmas Present

Directed by
Ralph Levy

Writing credits
Maxwell Anderson adaptation
Maxwell Anderson teleplay A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol

5. Scrooge (1970)

    It's one of the very few musical adaptations of Charles Dickens' novel A Christmas Carol and the best one at that (forget Kelsey Grammar's recent version!). This version is basically the same as Dickens but with a few added scenes and, of course, the singing. This aspect drives some away from it but there is plenty of great non-musical scenes and the atmosphere is fantastic. The colors are greyer than most so it seems more real and darker for Scrooge's personality. This version is a lot darker, bordering on horror.
    Alec Guinness has to be the best and scariest Jacob Marley's Ghost ever. His ghost still creeps me out, especially his face on Scrooge's door knocker. Two other creepy scenes are one where we see thousands of ghosts flying outside Scrooge's window; supposed to be trapped in limbo. And we see Scrooge go to Hell, if you see it uncut - it's often cut on TV. The other scene is Scrooge in Hell.
    Albert Finney is THE best Ebenezer Scrooge I've ever seen. At only 34 at the time of production, the make-up artist did a phenomenal job on making Finney look like an old man but Finney's different mannerisms, movements and voice tones are great as well.    He also plays a younger Scrooge just as well.
    Richard Beaumont is one of the best Tiny Tim's as well. His songs are so sad.
Kenneth More is one of the MOST cheerful, boisterous and colorful Ghosts of Christmas Present. Just great!
    One character who's not part of any other Christmas Carol I've ever seen but I feel deserves mentioning is Anton Rodgers as Tom Jenkins, a broth maker and one of Scrooge's clients. He sings before Scrooge dies but after he dies he has his best song which he starts solo and slowly builds up until it's a huge musical number. The song is "Thank you very much" and Scrooge thinks it positive but really everyone's happy he's dead because their loans are no longer owed to him.
    If you haven't seen this version, see it now! The lavish sets alone will make you love it! The end sows tons of old toys like a huge three-foot wide toy carousel.

Trivia Tidbit
    Scrooge (played by then 34-year old Albert Finney) is actually younger than his nephew Fred (played by then 46-year old Michael Medwin).


Albert Finney .... Ebenezer Scrooge
David Collings .... Bob Cratchit
Frances Cuka .... Mrs. Cratchit
Richard Beaumont .... Tiny Tim
Michael Medwin .... Nephew Fred
Laurence Naismith .... Mr. Fezziwig
Alec Guinness .... Jacob Marley's Ghost
Edith Evans .... Ghost of Christmas Past
Kenneth More .... Ghost of Christmas Present
Paddy Stone .... Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Directed by
Ronald Neame

Writing credits
Leslie Bricusse
Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol

6. An American Christmas Carol (1979)

    A very non-traditional Christmas Carol in that it's set in America during the Depression with all different character names. Not sure why the names needed to be changed because they're basically the same characters but it doesn't detract from the story. It different enough to feel refreshing yet similar enough that it feels like an old friend.
Henry Winkler plays Benedict Slade, their version of Scrooge. His portrayal both looks and sounds unique for the role. Not that it's bad, just different. Here he's not a banker but a wood furniture business owner. Chris Wiggins (of Friday the 13th The Series fame) plays Mr. Brewster, the Fezziwig character but also pulls double duty as Slade's foster dad, as Slade was in a foster home as a child.
The ghosts are also unique. One an old man and one is a 1970s black man which is rare to see.
    Ending s also unique in tat the "Tin Tim" character is sent for surgery and another trouble-making boy at a foster home is helped by Slade because he reminds him of himself as a kid.
    The colors are very white so it has more of a bleak, lonely feel to it. Winkler isn't as cheerful as in other adaptations, after the ghosts leave. He went for the subtle approach.
Definitely worth a view!

Henry Winkler .... Benedict Slade
Dorian Harewood .... Matt Reeves
Susan Hogan .... Helen Brewster
R.H. Thomson .... Thatcher
David Wayne .... Merrivale
Chris Cragg .... Jonathan Thatcher
James B. Douglas .... Sam Perkins
Arlene Duncan .... Jennie Reeves
Linda Goranson .... Mrs. Doris Thatcher
Gerard Parkes .... Jessup
Mary Pirie .... Mrs. Brewster
Ken Pogue .... Jack Latham
Chris Wiggins .... Mr. Brewster

Directed by
Eric Till

Writing credits
Charles Dickens (story "A Christmas Carol")
Jerome Coopersmith (screenplay)

7. A Christmas Carol (1984)

    George C. Scott plays Ebenezer Scrooge in the traditional rendition of A Christmas Carol. George C. Scott is great as always. This adaptation is not seen enough on TV. If you come across it on TV, don't pass up on the chance to see this treat.

Trivia Tidbit
    Director Clive Donner was the film editor on Scrooge (1951).


 George C. Scott .... Ebenezer Scrooge
David Warner .... Bob Cratchit
Susannah York .... Mrs. Cratchit
Anthony Walters .... Tiny Tim
Roger Rees .... Fred Holywell/Narrator
Timothy Bateson .... Mr. Fezziwig
Frank Finlay .... Marley's Ghost
Angela Pleasence .... Ghost of Christmas Past
Edward Woodward .... Ghost of Christmas Present
Michael Carter .... Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Directed by
Clive Donner

Writing credits
Roger O. Hirson (screenplay)
Charles Dickens short story

8. Scrooged (1988)

    This is one of my favorite adaptations, partly because I'm a HUGE Bill Murray fan and because it's a comedy version which is rare.
   The story is very unique. It's a story within a story. Frank Cross runs a TV cable network and he planned a live adaptation of A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve. Frank's childhood wasn't a pleasant and he lost his girlfriend, Claire, so he doesn't appreciate the Christmas spirit. Suddenly Frank finds Claire again and old feelings are awakened. But Frank wants both her and his career at the same time. With the help of the three ghosts of Christmas and Claire's love, Frank realizes he must change.
    Bill Murray is great as Frank Cross, the Scrooge character. Bill plays it sarcastically mean so it's both rude yet funny at the same time. There's an all-star cast of guest stars from Robert Mitchum as Scrooge's boss, Preston Rhinelander, Robert Goulet as himself (Christmas on the Bayou), Mary Lou Retton as herself, Lee Majors as himself (helping Santa fight a war), Buddy Hackett as Scrooge for the TV special, John Houseman as himself (narrator of the TV special), Bob Goldthwait as Eliot Loudermilk, a worker laid off by Frank, John Glover as Brice Cummings (Frank's new VP), Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present and tons more!
    The ghosts are unique. David Johansen is the Ghost of Christmas Past, a loud-mouthed, cigar puffing taxi driver. He is unforgettable. David Johansen is a former member of the 70s rock group; The New York Dolls and singing under the name Buster Poindexter, he had a big hit with the song "Hot, Hot, Hot." Carol Kane plays the Ghost of Christmas Present. Her unique voice adds to the humor as she kicks Murray in the gonads; she's hilarious! The Ghost of Christmas Future is a tall skeleton with a TV for a face which I also take as sort of a statement on society as well as Frank's network career.
Very good adaptation and deserves a view. The ending is so cheerful in a modern sense and Bill reaches out across being behind a came b interacting with those who were in the theater back in 1988. It ends with the Annie Lennox song "Put A Little Love in Your Heart" which always gets my eyes wet.

Trivia Tidbit
   At the end of the movie, when everybody is singing "Put a little love in your heart", Frank (Bill Murray) says (among many other things): "Feed me, Seymour!" This is a reference to Little Shop of Horrors (1986), in which Murray has a small part.
When The Ghost of Christmas Present first appears in the movie, she says to Frank Cross, "I'm a little muddled." This is a direct quote from Glenda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz (1939) when she first meets Dorothy in Munchkinland.
    All of Bill Murray's brothers - John Murray, Joel Murray and Brian Doyle-Murray - make appearances in this film.

 Bill Murray .... Frank Cross
Karen Allen .... Claire Phillips
John Forsythe .... Lew Hayward
John Glover .... Brice Cummings
David Johansen .... Ghost of Christmas Past
Carol Kane .... Ghost of Christmas Present
Robert Mitchum .... Preston Rhinelander
John Murray .... James Cross
Pat McCormick .... Ghost of Christmas Present (TV)
Brian Doyle-Murray .... Earl Cross rray)
Chaz Conner .... Ghost of Christmas Future (TV)

Directed by
Richard Donner

Writing credits
Mitch Glazer (written by) &
Michael O'Donoghue (written by)
Charles Dickens (novel A Christmas Carol) (suggestion)

9. A Christmas Carol (1999)

    This was a TNT/Hallmark TV movie. It seems that many do not like Patrick Stewart as Ebenezer Scrooge but I liked him. Most say he seemed too mean-tempered but I felt the opposite. I thought his meanness just didn't seem believable at times. But I still thought he did fine. I also feel that this movie stayed truer to the novel than most of movies.
Worth a view!

Trivia Tidbit
    Is the first Christmas Carol to incorporate computer-generated graphics. These are used most effectively in the scene where the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge on a whirlwind visit to a lighthouse, a ship at sea, and a group of miners.

Patrick Stewart .... Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge
Richard E. Grant .... Bob Cratchit
Saskia Reeves .... Mrs. Cratchit
Ben Tibber .... Tiny Tim
Dominic West .... Fred (Scrooge's nephew)
Michael Green .... Eli Fezziwig
Bernard Lloyd .... Marley's Ghost
Desmond Barrit .... The Ghost of Christmas Present
Joel Grey .... The Ghost of Christmas Past
Tim Potter .... The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Directed by
David Hugh Jones (as David Jones)

Writing credits
Charles Dickens (short story)
Peter Barnes (teleplay)

10. Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009)

   A Christmas Carol is a 2009 film written and directed by Robert Zemeckis. It is an adaptation of the Charles Dickens story of the same name and stars Jim Carrey in a multitude of roles, including Ebenezer Scrooge and the three ghosts who haunt Scrooge.
   The 3-D film was produced through the process of performance capture, a technique Zemeckis previously used in his films The Polar Express (2004) and Beowulf (2007).
A Christmas Carol began filming in February 2008, and was released on November 3, 2009 by Walt Disney Pictures.  It received its world premiere in London, coinciding with the switching on of the annual Oxford Street and Regent Street Christmas lights, which in 2009 had a Dickens theme.
   This is one of my favorite renditions and it's keeping true to the original version of the book by Charles Dickens. I really like the performance capture technique.

Trivia Tidbits
   The film was released in Disney Digital 3-D and was the first Disney movie in IMAX 3-D. It is also Disney's third film retelling of A Christmas Carol following 1983's Mickey's Christmas Carol and 1992's The Muppet Christmas Carol.


Jim Carrey as:
  • Ebenezer Scrooge, a cold-hearted, tight fisted, greedy man, who despises Christmas and all things which engender happiness.
  • Ghost of Christmas Past, the first of the three spirits that haunt Scrooge in order to prompt him to repent. He is depicted as a young, androgynous human with a waxy, candle-like body and a flickering flame for a head, who speaks in a dreamy, slow voice with an Irish accent, and sways about.
  • Ghost of Christmas Present, the second of the three spirits. He is depicted as a large, jolly man with red hair, a full beard, and a green ermine robe who ages rapidly while he is with Scrooge. He has a tendency to laugh heartily, even as he dies, and carries the sins of Ignorance and Want upon his person, in the forms of horrifying, savage children.
  • Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, the third of the three spirits. It is depicted as a large shadow in the shape of the Grim Reaper cast across the ground or a wall, and occasionally emerges into three dimensions to point at something or to chase Scrooge in a large, shadow-like horse carriage.
Robin Wright Penn as:
  • Belle, Scrooge's neglected fiancée.
  • Fan Scrooge, Scrooge's late sister, who died prematurely after giving birth to Scrooge's nephew, Fred.
Gary Oldman as:
  • Bob Cratchit, Scrooge's abused, underpaid clerk.
  • Jacob Marley, Scrooge's former business partner.
  • Tiny Tim, Cratchit's youngest son. His voice is provided by Ryan Ochoa.
Colin Firth as Fred, Scrooge's optimistic nephew and only living relative.
Cary Elwes as:
  • Dick Wilkins, Scrooge's old roommate.
  • Mad Fiddler
  • Businessman #1
  • Portly Gentleman #1, a man who requests from Scrooge a donation to those less fortunate.
  • Destitute Man #2
Bob Hoskins as:
  • Mr. Fezziwig, the proprietor of a warehouse business for whom Scrooge worked as an apprentice.
  • Old Joe, a fence who buys the belongings of the deceased Scrooge from Scrooge's old maid.
Fionnula Flanagan as Mrs. Dilber.
Molly C. Quinn as Belinda Cratchit, Bob Cratchit's wife.
Ron Bottitta as:
  • Tattered Caroler
  • Well-Dressed Caroler
Directed by
Robert Zemeckis

Written by
Robert Zemeckis
A Christmas Carol written by Charles Dickens


    The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the largest celebration of its kind. Over 3.5 million people watch the parade along the parade route in Manhattan and another 50 million watch at home on television. For many there is no substitute for seeing the floats, enormous balloons and marching bands in person. If you’re planning to view the parade in person from the streets of New York City, this is your insider guide for making the most of it. This year, Hello Kitty and Papa Smurf will be among those making an appearance in Midtown.
   The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, often shortened to Macy's Day Parade, is an annual parade presented by the U.S. chain store business Macy's. The tradition started in 1924, tying it for the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States along with America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit, with both parades four years younger than the 6abc Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia. The three-hour event is held in New York City starting at 9:00 a.m. EST on Thanksgiving Day.

Elf on a Shelf, Another new Balloon for 2012


    In the 1920s, many of Macy's department store employees were first-generation immigrants. Proud of their new American heritage, they wanted to celebrate the United States parade of Thanksgiving with the type of festival their parents had loved in Europe.   In 1924, the parade (originally known as the Macy's Christmas Parade and later the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Christmas Parade  was staged by the store. Employees and professional entertainers marched from 145th Street in Harlem to Macy's flagship store on 34th Street dressed in vibrant costumes.  There were floats, professional bands and live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo.  At the end of that first parade, as has been the case with every parade sinceSanta Claus was welcomed into Herald Square. At this first parade, however, the Jolly Old Elf was enthroned on the Macy's balcony at the 34th Street store entrance, where he was then "crowned" "King of the Kiddies."  With an audience of over a quarter of a million people, the parade was such a success that Macy's declared it would become an annual event.  Anthony "Tony" Frederick Sarg loved to work with marionettes from an early age. After moving to London to start his own marionette business, Sarg moved to New York City to perform with his puppets on the street. Macy's heard about Sarg's talents and asked him to design a window display of a parade for the store.   Sarg's large animal-shaped balloons, produced by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio, replaced the live animals in 1927 when the Felix the Cat balloon made its debut. Felix was filled with air, but by the next year, helium was used to fill the expanding cast of balloons.In the 1920s, many of Macy's department store employees were first-generation immigrants. Proud of their new American heritage, they wanted to celebrate the United States parade of Thanksgiving with the type of festival their parents had loved in Europe.

   In 1924, the parade (originally known as the Macy's Christmas Parade and later the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Christmas Parade  was staged by the store. Employees and professional entertainers marched from 145th Street in Harlem to Macy's flagship store on 34th Street dressed in vibrant costumes.  There were floats, professional bands and live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. At the end of that first parade, as has been the case with every parade since,Santa Claus was welcomed into Herald Square. At this first parade, however, the Jolly Old Elf was enthroned on the Macy's balcony at the 34th Street store entrance, where he was then "crowned" "King of the Kiddies."With an audience of over a quarter of a million people, the parade was such a success that Macy's declared it would become an annual event.
   At the finale of the 1928 parade, the balloons were released into the sky where they unexpectedly burst. The following year they were redesigned with safety valves to allow them to float for a few days.  Address labels were sewn into them, so that whoever found and mailed back the discarded balloon received a gift from Macy's.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012
Balloon  handlers limbering up for their task at hand

   Through the 1930s, the Parade continued to grow, with crowds of over 1 million lining the parade route in 1933. The first Mickey Mouse balloon entered the parade in 1934. The annual festivities were broadcast on local New York radio from 1932 through 1941, and resumed in 1945 through 1951.
   The parade was suspended 1942–1944 during World War II, owing to the need for rubber and helium in the war effort.  The parade resumed in 1945 using the route that it followed until 2008. The parade became a permanent part of American culture after being prominently featured in the 1947 film, Miracle on 34th Street, which shows actual footage of the 1946 festivities. The event was first broadcast on network television in 1948.  By this point the event, and Macy's sponsorship of it, were sufficiently well-known to give rise to the colloquialism "Macy's Day Parade".

Hello Kitty Aviator balloon to join 40 others balloons in 86th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  >
Hello Kitty Balloon new for 2012

   Since 1984, the balloons have been made by Raven Industries of Sioux Falls, SD. 
   Macy's also sponsors the smaller Celebrate the Season Parade in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, held two days after the main event. Other cities in the US also have parades on Thanksgiving, but they are not run by Macy's. The nation's oldest Thanksgiving parade (the Gimbels parade, now known as 6abc-IKEA) was first held in Philadelphia in 1920. Other cities include the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade of Chicago, Illinois and parades in Plymouth, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington;Houston, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; and Fountain Hills, Arizona. A parade is also held at the two U.S. Disney theme parks. There is even a 2nd Thanksgiving balloon parade within the New York metropolitan area, the UBS balloon parade in Stamford, CT, 30 miles away. This parade is held the Sunday before Thanksgiving to not compete with the New York parade and usually does not duplicate any balloon characters.
   The classic "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" logo (seen on right) was, with one exception, last used in 2005. For 2006 a special variant of the logo was used. Every year since a new logo has been used for each parade. The logos however are seen rarely, if at all, on television as NBC has used its own logo with the word "Macy's" in script and "Thanksgiving Day Parade" in a bold font. The logos are assumed to be for Macy's use only, such as on the Grandstand tickets and the ID badges worn by parade staff. The Jackets worn by parade staff still bear the original classic parade logo, this being the only place where that logo can be found.

Balloon tidbits before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tune-in

   New safety measures were incorporated in 2006 to prevent accidents and balloon related injuries. One measure taken was installation of wind measurement devices to alert parade organizers to any unsafe conditions that could cause the balloons to behave erratically. Also, parade officials implemented a measure to keep the balloons closer to the ground during windy conditions. If wind speeds are forecast to be higher than 34 miles per hour, all balloons are removed from the parade.[11]
In 2007, the journal Puppetry International published a first person account of being a balloon handler.

Balloon Introductions

   The balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade come in three varieties. The first and oldest is the novelty balloon class, consisting of smaller balloons, some of which fit on the heads of the performers. The second, and most famous, is the full-size balloon class, primarily consisting of licensed pop-culture characters. The third and most recent is the "Blue Sky Gallery," in which the works of contemporary artists are transformed into full-size balloons.
   The following is a list of balloons that have, over the years, been featured in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, sorted by their first year in the lineup.

KAWS Companion balloon new for 2012

Macy's Parade 1931

Macy's Balloon 1952, the "Space Man"

Getting There

   Parking in Manhattan is always tight, but Thanksgiving Day it’s nearly impossible. From Westchester & Connecticut, your best bet is taking a Metro-North train to Grand Central Station. It’s an easy walk west from Grand Central to the parade route on 6th Avenue and 42nd Street. From Long Island take the LIRR to Penn Station. From there you can head due east to the parade route one block to Macy’s – or head north first to get to a better viewing spot on 7th Ave in the 40s.If you must drive, consider coming in to the city around 6:00am in order to get a spot in nearby lots on the Upper West Side or near Lincoln Center where garages abound.

Popeye in 1968

   Your best bet within the city is to stick to the subway. You can download the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade app by clicking here. The iPhone or Android app will allow spectators to interact with the parade in real time. Plus, it has a real-time Santa Tracker, so you’ll be sure to stake out a good spot for the main attraction.

The Night Before

Balloon Inflation 3 p.m. -10 p.m.

Wednesday, November 21st
   What started out as an event that only locals knew about, the pre-Thanksgiving balloon inflationhas turned into its own must-see Thanksgiving event. See Abby Cadabby, Snoopy and all the gigantic Macy’s parade balloons come to life as they inflate on the streets near the American Museum of Natural History on 77th and 81st Streets between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West.

Route Changes For 2012

   Widening pedestrian plazas and other factors have made it necessary for Macy’s to slightly alter the Thanksgiving day parade route this year. The parade will kick off early Thursday at 77th and Central Park West as usual. It will head down along CPW to Columbus Circle, before making a left and heading along Central Park South to 6th Avenue. Once at 6th Avenue, the parade will continue south until 34th Street, where it will make a right and head to Macy’s at Herald Square.

Parade 1973, Linus the Lion

Where to Watch

   Plan to arrive at 6 a.m. to get a prime viewing spot. While many choose to watch from Central Park West, that tends to be the windiest and shadiest part of the route. Instead head to 42nd Street around 6th Avenue and the path along 6th Avenue to 34th Street. The sidewalks are wider and less-crowded there. You’re also more likely to find food in delis and nearby coffee shops in this area


Tips, Tricks And Things To Remember

   Bathrooms are scarce. Hotels around the route are your best bet as well as at The Time Warner Center.Coming with little kids? Here are some other things to keep in mind:
   Leave the stroller at home, or plan on bringing one that folds easily and can be carried. Trying to get through the crowds with a stroller can be impossible – not to mention scary for your kid. Instead think light and easy to carry for your child and the stroller.
   Pack snacks! While delis and Duane Reade stores are usually open along the route waiting around for hours is a long time, especially for little ones. Avoid meltdowns by supplying your own treats.
Dress warm and in layers. Even if it’s milder than usual on Turkey Day standing outside for 6 hours can get pretty cold. Hats and gloves will keep you and your parade watching family happy and warm.

Betty Boop, 1995

Six Best Places To Watch The Parade
   If you’re hoping to see Santa Claus’ red and white suit in the flesh or want to swoon at your favorite performers, then check out our top spots for viewing the 86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Don’t forget your layers! Stay with 1010 WINS, the official radio station of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, for all the latest coverage. Keep in mind that the parade will take a slightly different route this year.
 The 6 Best Spots to Watch The 2012 Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade

Central Park West

West side of street from 70th to Columbus Circle
East side of street from 70th to 65th
   The parade begins at 9 a.m. on Thursday, November 22, but you should head to whichever spot you pick at 6:30 a.m. If you choose the beginning of the route, head there early so you can see the floats, balloons and performance groups enter as soon as the show starts.

 The 6 Best Spots to Watch The 2012 Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade

Columbus Circle

West side of the street
The parade then heads to Columbus Circle before turning onto Central Park South. This part of the route offers a wide view of the street since it’s an open circle, making it easy to spot famous faces on top of floats. If you get tired, cold, or hungry, just pop into the Columbus Shops – how convenient!

 The 6 Best Spots to Watch The 2012 Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade

42nd Street

From Seventh to Sixth Avenues
   At this point, you’ll see the parade route turn from Seventh Avenue onto 42nd Street. Watch as the Thanksgiving Day entertainers take a break from walking down New York City avenues and march down world-famous 42nd Street. Wave to Kermit the Frog or Spongebob Squarepants, who will both be balloons in this year’s parade.

West 34th Street - New York, NY - Mar 3, 2011 - Photo: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880

34th Street

South side of street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue
   After traveling through Times Square, the parade turns east onto Sixth Avenue and heads down to Macy’s at 34th Street and Herald Square. While there’s no public viewing in front of the iconic department giant on Broadway from 34th to 38th Street, head to the south side of the street for prime viewing. You might even be able to get a glimpse of the acts before they head onto the main performance stage!

 The 6 Best Spots to Watch The 2012 Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade

Trump International Hotel & Tower

   Though hotel rooms (especially the ones with optimal view of the parade route) are booked way in advance, it doesn’t hurt to ask around and see if friends or family have planned ahead and secured a room in a key spot. Trump International gives you a front row seat at the beginning of the parade. You’ll probably see fellow parade-viewers mingling in the lobby as well.
One Central Park West

 The 6 Best Spots to Watch The 2012 Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade

Crowne Plaza Manhattan

   The Crown Plaza in Times Square is another best bet for great parade route views. You get to see the procession come down the legendary Seventh Avenue before turning onto 42nd Street, all from the comfort of your hotel room. The best part is that you’re already in the heart of Manhattan and can just take the elevator downstairs to join in the festivities outside.

Fun Facts About Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
  • The first parade in 1924 was called the "Macy's Christmas Day Parade" although it took place on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Live animals including camels, goats, elephants, and donkeys, were a part of the parade that inaugural year.
  • The original parade route was from 145th Street and Convent Avenue to 34th Street and Herald Square.
  • The floats were pulled by horses. In the first parade a white steed that was to aid in the Ben-Hur float disappeared at the last minute before the start of the parade.
  •  In 1925 and 1926, bears, lions, and tigers were added to the live animals used, but the use of these animals had to be discontinued because they scared children.
  •  In 1927, Macy's introduces the world famous giant helium balloons. The first balloons included Felix the Cat and Toy Soldier
  • 1928 saw the first release of the giant balloons into the air at the end of the line of march. The balloons promptly exploded after reaching a certain altitude.
  • The balloons were redesigned and again released. Equipped with a return address label, Macy's offered a prize for their return.

  • In 1932, Clarence Chamberlain, an aviator flying above New York City, catches the Pig Balloon in mid air in order to claim the prize money.
  • Santa Claus has ended the parade every year except 1933, the only year in which he led the parade.
  • The parade was cancelled in 1942, 1943, and 1944 due to World War II.
  • In 1955, the parade telecast returns to NBC after a two year tun on CBS.
  • Due to a helium shortage in 1958, the balloons are brought down Broadway on cranes.
  • In 1969 the Macy's Parade Studio moves to its current home in Hoboken, New Jersey in a former Tootsie Roll factory.
  • The Dino the Dinosaur balloon was inducted into the American Museum of Natural History in 1975 as an honorary member.
  • In 1977, the "Parade Lady" Jean McFaddin takes the helm of the parade, which she leads for the next 24 years.
  • In the 1980s, the smaller "novelty" balloons were introduced, including the Macy's stars and the 30 foot triple-scoop ice cream cone. "Falloons" were also introduced at this time. A combination of float and cold air balloon, this is a highlight of the creativity of the Macy's Parade Studio.
  • In 1989, the parade marches on through its very first snowstorm.
  • The 1990s saw the parade balloons adding new characters from the internet, video games, and contemporary cartoons. Sonic the Hedgehog, Ask Jeeves, and the Rugrats were just a few of these balloons.

  • The parade has attracted a sea of celebrities. The years have seen Harpo Marx, Jackie Gleason, Diana Ross, Sammy Davis, Jr., Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, Barry Manilow, NSYNC, Shania Twain, and Christina Aguilera.
  • Macy's is the world's second largest consumer of helium. The United States government is the first.
  • If you laid every parade balloon since 1927 end to end they would stretch from Battery Park City to the Cloisters.
  • More than 50,000 clowns have delighted millions of children along the parade route.