I'm only showing you the parade highlights; there was plenty of stuff going on. Tons of bands. Many, many bands. Too many bands. McDonald's bands. I've always felt bad for the endless supply of high school trumpet players marching across the streets for these parades. Their job is far tougher and more intricate than the people lugging the balloons or dreaming about Avner the Eccentric, but nobody ever pays much attention to 'em. They easily had more than a thousand musicians from dozens of bands filling the streets, and yet, you just sit there waiting for them to pass on by so you can see more of the "good stuff." So, let's take a moment to pay tribute to the ten trillion melody makers who helped to make the Macy's Parades feel like more of a spectacle.

Okay we're done.

I said we're done.

I meant it, fool. Go back to Alabamy.

Ah! Look who's arrived to save the day! Sick of the bands? Sick of the tubas? There's only one man who can command the attention of 750,000 onlookers so voraciously, and that man is...Cliff Claven?

Yes, John "Cliff Claven" Ratzenberger. Hooooly shit. This was actually his second appearance during the parade -- his first one provided much more comedy, as you'll see on the next page. For now, Cliff arrives in some kind of plane/car/thing that he looks totally ashamed to be sitting in. His journey is more important than it might seem at first -- see, he's not just driving across the streets for the sake of looking foolish. He's paving the way for a much larger attraction. Wait till you see this...

The float is called "America's Comics Stars," filled to the brim with costumed creatures representing the funny pages' best known luminaries. You had Garfield and Odie, Snake, Marmaduke, the works. Seeing them is cause for celebration, but as just as we're finished identifying the characters, something incredible happens.

Irene Cara pops up, and she's got a look of determination on her face. We don't know what she's got up her fur-laced sleeve, but with the way she's carrying herself, it's obvious that Irene's about to do something very, very important. As the float moves into a closer position, the costumed characters all seem to be prepping themselves for something big. There's a short hush that falls over the crowd, and even the commentators take a quick moment to reflect on whatever's about to happen. When the music finally hits, the payoff doesn't disappoint.

Cara busts into her 1983 hit, "What A Feeling." I'm sure she's lip-synching just like everyone else, but since it's her song, it doesn't feel that way. The crowd slowly realizes that this isn't one of those song numbers that exist solely for the purpose of keeping a float on camera for an extended period of time. This song number was forged not to inspire a city, or even our entire nation. Irene Cara and the "America's Comics Stars" float have come to christen a new golden age for the people of Earth as a whole. "What A Feeling" quickly establishes itself as an anthem to personify all that is good and just in society, and to drive the point home, every character on that damn float is going to dance themselves into a frenzy so incautiously that you'd swear they were trying to prove that people can have heat strokes even at the tail end of November on the chilly east coast. Words cannot express what you'll see in the clip down below. Describable emotions cannot capture the power of Irene Cara and Marmaduke's "What A Feeling" duet.

Snoopy and Woodstock topped the float, long before the Peanuts pup immortalized himself in the Macy's Parade with his very own balloon.

Conventional wisdom suggest that these yellow balls are "Mr. Happy" and his girlfriend, but they look more like Mr. and Ms. Pac-Man to me. Then again, a lot of things look like Pac-Man to me. Ever cut a big slice out of a loaf of gouda? Pac-Man. Everything in the world looks like Pac-Man from the right angle. Even you.

You're Pac-Man.

Lives are forever changed after seeing this clip. Be warned. (5.4 MB)


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