Everyone loves the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's a tradition that brings us all together as Americans, provides something innocuous to talk about while you spend the entire day with your relatives, and keeps rents extremely high for apartments that line the parade route. A good time is had by all!
The whole thing is sort of a logistical nightmare, though, and things don't always go that smoothly. Because Thanksgiving (and in particular, Black Friday) isn't exclusively a time of good will, a few of the odder, more embarrassing things that have happened over the years.
In 1928, four years after the parade's inception, organizers thought it would be fun to release all of the balloons into the sky at the end. Unfortunately, they all popped almost immediately, including Felix. In following years, balloons included safety valves to allow them to float around for a few days afterwards, which is still pretty weird if you think about it.
Hungover Donald Duck
There are a few odd things going on with this 1935 clip, namely the announcer with a now-extinct mid-Atlantic accent accusing the Donald Duck balloon of a hangover, then noting the "very small" loincloth on the questionable-for-other-reasons Native American balloon.
Santa Gets Wasted
Alright, so technically this is "fictional" and "didn't really happen" since it's a scene from Miracle on 34th St., but they did film on-site at the actual parade that year, and really, wouldn't it be bad if the parade Santa showed up blackout drunk and didn't have (spoiler!) the real Santa to step in and save the day? Unthinkable.
Parade Full Of Monsters
This 1965 clip provides further proof that parade floats used to look much, much scarier, plus clowns, plus a largely unexplained Munsters-and-Santa crossover.
Alf Wants To Eat Garfield
Hey, ALF narrating the Garfield balloon's path down the parade route! What a fun, timely idea in 1989! Until the puppet monster decides he wants to eat the balloon cat, calls him "feline mignon," and threatens to sharpen his carving knife during the commercial break. Aaaaah!
The Joker's Song
After the 1989 release of Tim Burton's Batman, starring Jack Nicholson as the Joker, organizers tried to find a way to include a network-friendly version of the character in the parade. The result was this weird song and dance number, which instead of Jack Nicholson features... Fred Travalena?
Large-Scale Rick Rolling
This, inherently, is actually a pretty good parade idea. Call me a square, but I'm not really that sick of the whole Rick Rolling thing. Maybe you're being Rick Rolled right now by this video's inclusion on the list? I don't know, I'm tired. Anyway, what doesn't make a whole lot of sense is bringing Rick out in 2008 in the middle of a float full of kids who we're pretty sure have no idea what the joke is.
Scotty McCreery Misses His Cue
He was in last year's parade, but I don't really know who Scotty McCreery is (I guess he was on American Idol?), and it makes sense to me that the parade would be a logistical nightmare for actual singing into an actual sound system. Lip-synch fuck-ups are always, funny, though. Why not watch it with some YouTube user cackling in the background? A good Thanksgiving tradition if ever there was.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.