If you don't think anything can top those He-Man floats, get a load of this. This is the big one. The clip that really tells the tale of a Macy's Parade gone wrong. It might just be my favorite moment from any of the parades -- and if not, it's certainly the clip that gets the most laughs. Presenting...Phyllis Diller on crack.
Now, you really have to consider the clip in its entirety to truly appreciate Diller's performance. Think back to her earlier interview with Stepf -- literally hours ago, she was already hammered. And guess what...she hasn't stopped drinking. By the time "Mother Goose" makes her grand appearance, Diller was very lucky to have been scripted entirely in a seated position. In fact, her role might've seemed perfect and dandy to those who weren't watching closely enough. If she's working drunk, she's definitely used to working drunk -- Diller still hits all of her necessary lines, though the tone of her voice, the varied cackles, and the side comments to Pat all combine to make a Macy's Parade moment you'll never forget.
I've included her whole appearance in the clip, because there's no way anyone should go on living without seeing this and without being able to see this whenever they want to. It will instantly cheer you up, no matter what kind of mood you're in. To kick things off, we get a view of one of the parade bands erratically scattering away, in the same way one would escape an oncoming rolling boulder or Godzilla. The band wasn't merely "paving the way" for the next act -- they'd been tipped off. They knew something terrible was about to happen. They knew Phyllis Diller was on crack.
As the band members run for their lives, the drum beats grow progressively louder. America's hearts race in anticipation of what's coming, followed by a barely audible sigh from Pat Sajak. Sort of like a muffled "uh oh." Then, suddenly...there it was. The Goose. And riding on top? Mother Goose. An absolutely shitfaced Mother Goose, most likely fastened to her goose-shaped chariot by glue and floor nails.
Phyllis doesn't disappoint. The whole fiasco lasts over three minutes, with Diller introducing all sorts of celebrity guests dressed as fairy tale characters. Anyone who's seen enough "Hollywood Squares" reruns knows that Diller with a live mic runs the risk of terror and dread. Picture how much riskier it is when she's drunk. Watch in awe as Diller Goose goes absolutely nuts, trailing off into insane fits of laughter and wacky babbling. A quote: "Hickoreeee Dickoreee DahahahahahahahHAHAhahahck." Really. It's in the clip.
It gets worse. At the point which Diller was to, you know, stop talking, she refuses to let go. Sajak is forced to maintain conversation with a drunk Goose with rapidly decreasing sensibilities, eventually cutting her off before something really bad happens. As the chariot leads our queen away, Diller screams incoherently about how she hates playing Mother Goose.
To the best of my knowledge, Phyllis Diller hasn't been mentioned on NBC since.
Mr. and Mrs. Dick Van Patten sung a song about dogs making families complete. Oddly enough, the performance was sponsored by Purina Dog Chow. Cough. I wouldn't have mentioned it, but you've gotta see what the giant doggy float does during the song's last verse. I totally didn't see it coming.
Here's a neat retrospective on the many balloons of Macy's past. They show videos like this every year, but hey, not everyone wants to spend Thanksgiving morning watching subversive commercials for dolls and dog food. If that's you, here's the clip...
Seeing the video linked above will only make you more depressed about what's coming up. 1986 was not a good year for Macy's famous balloons. I'm actually surprised that there haven't been more disasters. You've probably heard about a more recent Macy's Parade balloon mishap that resulted in death for a few spectators, but what I'm going to show you was only unfortunate on an aesthetic level. My apologies to those who wanted to see blood. You won't see blood. You know what else you won't see? Superman's left arm.
Yup, the Man of Steel's mighty balloon lost an arm. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent trying to figure out how this could've happened. Did they bump the balloon into something by mistake? Did a big pigeon prick it? Was it supposed to be some kind of statement about how the holidays are about sharing and giving, and not about having two arms?
Interestingly, when something like this happens, they almost never remove the balloon from the celebration. It has to either completely deflate or outright kill someone to be kept off television. I guess it's admirable -- arm or no arm, a lot of effort went into making that stupid Superman, and a lot of people gave up spending T-G with their families to let him fly. Besides, an amputee Superman balloon is a lot more noteworthy than a normal one.
Also: is it just me, or does Pat seem a little too happy about Superman missing an arm? Judge for yourselves.
In 1985, Kermit didn't fare much better. He wasn't missing any limbs, but somebody gutted the poor thing. With around 20% of his usual helium still intact, Kermit was only a few feet of the ground, literally on top of the guys lugging him down Broadway.
Fortunately, he came back with a vengeance in '86. Here's a clip of the Kermit balloon as it was meant to be seen: filled with helium, and not suffocating the frog-costumed handlers underneath it.
Here's one of my favorites -- the "Baby Shamu" balloon. Bet you forgot about Baby Shamu. For whatever reason, Shamu's kid became a cultural icon after its birth, and though quickly forgotten, Baby Shamu enjoyed several months of magazine cover photos and appearances on news programs. The balloon is actually one of the best looking from any Macy's Parade, and might even have the best elevation. The clip gives us an in-depth look at how Baby Shamu's balloon came to be. The video is narrated by Pat Sajak, so you know it's gotta be good.