Before the parade passes by

It’s Thanksgiving, of course, and for many people that means the yearly tradition of watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which has been televised on NBC since at least before I was born. This year the parade’s going to seem a little different for the folks in New York City, but it’s probably going to seem very similar to those watching at home.

The parade route has been shortened and there will be no crowds in the stands. Rather than making its way 2.5 miles through the city, the parade will focus only on the grandstand in front of Macy’s on 34th St. I’m not sure but if I had to guess, they’re probably also using a smaller group to guide the floats, because they don’t have to walk as far.

Hopefully, the parade will end up seeming like a small drop of normalcy in what’s been perhaps the most abnormal year in most of our lives. But, even so, it’s going to be just a little different. It might make us pine for the parades of old, just a little bit.

Which is why it’s a good topic for Throwback Thursday

You might have thought by now that I’d forgotten about the topic of this article. I haven’t, I just wanted to give you some context.

You might think of the parade as one of those constants in your life. That’s true, it hasn’t changed a lot in the past decades. Want proof? Here’s a video that somehow survived from the 1981 parade. The quality isn’t very good but it’s good enough. You’ll see that there’s more about the ’81 parade that’s familiar than there is that’s different.

But, as you go further back, there’s a lot more that seems strange. Take a look at this footage from the 1927 parade:

I think we can all agree that this is pure nightmare fuel. I mean, giant papier-mâché pig heads wandering the streets. Even if everything else in this film was normal, folks that’s serious horror-movie stuff right there. And needless to say it doesn’t stop. You have to love the kids wandering the streets of New York without a parent in sight, and whatever the heck this is.

That half-man, half-snake, half-robot float thing also moves and stares at you. This is why your grandparents turned out the way they did.

The world’s always been a scary place…

but the good news is that it’s probably not as scary today as it was in 1927, at least if you look at that footage. It was supposed to be a parade for gosh sakes! It was supposed to make people happy!

You may not be able to argue with your relatives this year in person, but at least be thankful you’re not back in the 1920s when giant pig-heads walked the earth. Gotta take the good stuff when you can, especially this year.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.