November 12, 2018

20 Fascinating Vintage Photographs From the 1961 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The turkey’s bathing in brine, the relatives are preparing their political arguments and the children are parked in front of the television, watching a larger-than-life Pikachu pursue a too-big-for-his-britches SpongeBob SquarePants.

Since the first balloon debuted at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927, balloon-spotting has been as much a Thanksgiving tradition as donning elastic-waisted pants. But those gargantuan rubber characters—which can require as many as 90 handlers, a number that still hasn’t prevented run-ins with lampposts and the occasional bystander injury—have been the source of nearly as much Thanksgiving drama as have dinner-table debates.

Below are some photographs of the parade in 1961—do kids today even know who Popeye is?

A Thanksgiving parade in New York. Floating above the majorettes is a giant inflatable Popeye, November 1961. (Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

A female marching band parades onward in 1961. A series tableaux behind the band commemorate landmarks in the city's history. (Archive Photos / Getty Images)

Crowds of children gathered in a New York street to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Keystone / Getty Images)

Two little sisters watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York on November 26th, 1961. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)

Children watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade from the sidelines, November 1961. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)

Drum majorettes cause a ruckus in 1961. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)

A parade float for the City Center Light Opera production of the musical 'Brigadoon' joins in the 1961 parade. The sign behind reads 'Macy's Presents a Fantasy of Christmas in New York'. (Archive Photos / Getty Images)

Share Pin An inflated Popeye floats above the parade as it nears Times Square in 1961. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)

In this 1961 photo, a family rides along in the parade with a model of Pinocchio following suit. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)

Children watch the parade as it nears Times Square, November 1961. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)

Costumed participants dressed as pigs and harlequins are followed along by horse drawn carriages in 1961. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)

High-kicking ladies wow the crowds during the 1961 Thanksgiving Day Parade! (Archive Photos / Getty Images)

An ornate float passes under a balloon with a bear as a passenger in 1961. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)

Crowds gather to watch behind a police barrier in 1961. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)

Crowds gathered in a New York street to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)

Alice and the White Rabbit are also included in the 1961 parade. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)

An inflatable Popeye floats overhead at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1961. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)

The “Alfred E. Neuman” from MAD Magazine joins in the festivities, 1961. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)

A balloon shaped like Bullwinkle, of “Rocky and Bullwinkle” fame, floats above girls wearing in soldier costumes and carrying banners at a Thanksgiving Day parade in New York. 26th November 1961. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)

A little boy waves at the passing floats during the 1961 Thanksgiving Day Parade. (William Lovelace / Getty Images)





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