Below is the list of infamous balloon mishaps that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has endured over the years.
Here are some memorable failures that happened during the parade.
Saturday, April 3, 2004: Spider-Man and Roy Rogers balloon clashes
Freed Space, the company that produces balloon assemblies for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, announced in July 2004 that it would cancel its re-creation of Superman after disgruntled Spider-Man creator Stan Lee sued the company. After the event, Lee’s lawyers began a campaign to get the Spider-Man balloon removed from the parade. A group of animated re-creations of Spider-Man characters took over the Macy’s parade in its place.
Thursday, Nov. 20, 2003: Freddie the Furry Frenchie basket
CBS aired a segment on “60 Minutes” in 2003 that showed a benign basket attached to the top of a balloon named Freddie the Furry Frenchie being tossed from the path of the parade by a rider. According to CBS’ report, the basket of Freddie the Furry Frenchie was tossed to where it landed on Coney Island. Two weeks later, CBS received a call from a viewer who said he, too, had been involved in the accident. CBS told Megyn Kelly during a “Today” show segment that NBC then attempted to contact the man. The next day, NBC sent its own correspondent to the site and found that the berry basket did, in fact, fly off the balloon’s path, but it landed about 3,000 feet from where it was reported.
Sunday, Nov. 14, 1987: Cowboy rides hero’s coattails
A botched job for a balloon named Argosy Donald J. Trump Jr. cost it its wings. As reported in the Miami Herald, balloons such as Donald Trump Jr. and Santa Claus were riding on each other as they traveled through Manhattan to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Workers were also replacing the air ducts in the balloons, a process that caused some of the balloons to flutter. In the end, the balloon in question just got the bright lights and lots of applause for its spectacular flight.
Tuesday, Nov. 16, 1981: Messy bow tie
A woman was holding a bird when the three parachutes containing the chimney sweep’s costume malfunctioned. The bird crashed to the ground in her grip.
Monday, Nov. 11, 1973: Daffy Duck’s ride ends in a crash
Daffy Duck was scheduled to be a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but the show wasn’t there. In the early-morning hours of Nov. 11, 1971, the Daffy Duck float broke down in front of a home in Morristown, N.J. Police officers took the duck into police custody and attempted to tow it to a police station. The duck became damaged in the process and collided with another vehicle on the street. No one was injured.
Saturday, Dec. 26, 1983: Puff the Magic Dragon fumbles
A coin-operated merry-go-round reportedly malfunctioned on a popular float during the parade, leaving Puff the Magic Dragon without a ride. “I thought it was dead,” a Muhlenberg College student told a Syracuse Times-Standard reporter in 1983. “He looked at it, and there was no movement.” The student later told a Tribune-Review reporter that he had helped the float move out of its designated spot on the parade route.
Wednesday, Nov. 26, 1984: Child’s birthday wishes
As requested by Jim Belushi’s character in the 1986 movie “Dirty Dancing,” Jennifer Grey’s character performed a routine in 1986. A writhing shirtless man named “Sir Richard Branson” pulled the child along on a life-like silver skipping rope. The dancer wore Princess Leia-style buns and gave shout-outs to “Star Wars” villains, Stormtroopers and Yoda. The dancer ended up losing a shoe.
In 1986, “Dirty Dancing” made Arnold Schwarzenegger a film star.