20 Comments

  1. According to one source, they were last in the parade in 2000. Johnson might have stopped watching (or paying enough attention to) the parade and was just going by memory.

    When Arlo was young, he was excited by Santa. Now he gets excited by things that he remembers from his youth.

  2. Rocky and Bullwinkle, under various names, was the best crappily-animated cartoon ever. Worth getting excited about.

  3. Was Rocky ever a balloon? I only remember Bullwinkle in an old-fashioned bathing suit. The suit was probably because Bullwinkle’s shagginess only worked in a 2D drawing; the statue on Sunset Strip (now in storage pending a new location) was likewise costumed.

    Aside from the pre-parade musical numbers I now fast-forward through most of the parade. Time was when there seemed to be a lot more new floats each year, and hype for the Big Holiday Movies (this was the 60s, when everybody was trying to top “Sound of Music”) as well as for new TV specials (Rankin Bass cranked out a Santaload). I’m old enough to remember when NBC had the Macy’s Parade and CBS did a broadcast cutting between Macy’s and parades in two other cities.

    If I watch any of the cartoon specials, it’s on DVD (although I would watch “Rudolf” on TV if they put back the original commercials with the elves shilling for appliances).

  4. Jay Ward paid attention to the script and voice work, coupled with the worst animation he could get away with. His followup, Fractured Flickers, was an attempt to get away with the expense of original art work entirely. Unfortunately, it was too expensive to edit the images to match the script, so he eventually had to water down the script to make it match the pictures. However, the BEST was The Simpsons, which became successful enough to get big-budget animation.

  5. Andrea: I meant a MACY’S balloon. At some point somebody began making balloons for other parades.

  6. 1) Trivia tonight I soloed and I blew a question as to what character had been a balloon the most. My first thought was Snoopy but then I figured it was probably Santa Claus because I had read (although never remember ever seeing any) Santa Claus *always* is the last balloon. …. And the answer was Snoopy. I hate it when I trivia solo and I do things like that.

    2) There was a very strange episode in “Treme” where some characters were getting stoned and watching the Rocky and Bullwinkle balloons (apparently inaccurate if Arthur’s source is to be believed) and one of them asks in apparent seriousness “Is he a pilot? Look at his goggles. Are those supposed to be aviation googles?” and the other stone mimics “Hello, air control. Requesting permission to land. I’m a beaver flying a large moose.”

    So the day we have to give a geezer tag to Rocky and Bullwinkle is the day I’m going to storm the Merriam Webster offices and forcefully remove the word “geezer” from the dictionary.

    3) When I was a child I was a lot more exited about Rocky and Bullwinkle than I would have been about Santa Claus.

    3 1/2) Underdog really did it for me. (And, yes, you can give Underdog a geezer tag. I’ll accept that.)

  7. For Halloween this year, my daughters had a cartoon character themed costume party. I went as Snidely Whiplash. Not one of the young people (20s and 30s) had any idea who he was. 😦

  8. “When Arlo was young, he was excited by Santa. Now he gets excited by things that he remembers from his youth.”

    This is the answer. It has nothing to do with where they are in the parade. I watched part of the parade this morning, and the couple of balloons I saw were from things that became popular after my childhood/nostalgia period. For the record, it was Chase from “Paw Patrol” and the kid from the “Wimpy Kid” series.

    I’m not quite old enough to be nostalgic for Rocky and Bullwinkle. I didn’t get the jokes and references when I saw them first, and by the time I was old enough to get the jokes, they’d faded from popular presence. Original series Scooby-Doo is what I tend to remember, and later series diminished the nostalgia factor considerably.

  9. ” I went as Snidely Whiplash. Not one of the young people (20s and 30s) had any idea who he was. ”

    Did they know you were supposed to be a silent era film villain?

  10. I admit that we no longer wake up early enough on Thanksgiving to even see Santa at the end of the parade. When the families were coming for Thanksgiving dinner, they would go the night before to my sister’s apartment in Manhattan – she lives on one of the streets on which they blow up the balloons. My nephew (other sister’s son) got to touch one of the balloons once – I forget which as I was not there – I was at home cooking. This sister’s husband is in the men’s clothing business and they get tickets to watch the parade from the bleachers. My other sister’s husband (the one with the son) for a while worked for a company that had offices along the route and the company invited the employees from all the local offices to come and watch the parade from their windows (apparently a low enough floor) and put out a brunch type spread for the employees -nice company.

    My parents took us once (possibly twice) to see the parade when we were young. All I could see was people’s backs and the balloons overhead. We were in a parking lot (when they used to have small corner parking lots in midtown Manhattan) and my dad stood us on someone’s car to try to help us see. Wake up early. Look at people’s back. Be in the cold. Ummm, I would rather stay home.

  11. There was a discussion on an other strip about how old Arlo and Janis are. Well, he has to be young enough to have watched the parade on TV as boy.

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