Let's go out with a bang. Let's go out with Robert Vaughn. He appeared in the '84 parade, and several people have e-mailed in telling me that he was in the "Superman" movies. I can only surmise that, having not immediately connected the name "Robert Vaughn" to "Superman," I am eternally discredited and forever marked. I'll live, and you'll forgive me for the oversight after I show you what they put the guy through in '86.

Okay, Robert Vaughn. "Distinguished actor" Robert Vaughn. He's at the parade to give a very serious speech about history, and we know it's going to be a serious speech because he looks absolutely constipated and miserable. What's more -- Robert doesn't know the cameras are rolling. Nobody cued him. For a few seconds, he just stands there blankly staring towards Argo City. Wait, did I say a "few" seconds? No. Almost fifteen seconds. When you're on live, national television and you don't know it, fifteen seconds is a lifetime. When you're on live, national television, and you don't know it, and you're dressed as an alien Mountie, it's a fucking eternity. To say that Vaughn's appearance got off on the wrong foot is an understatement, but this was only the beginning.

Narrowly avoiding disaster, Sajak wanders up to Vaughn and restarts the segment. Robert's noticeable irked, but he'll roll with it. He begins his speech, and it's a heavy one. Lots of historical references and historical documents and peace and love and honor and tea parties and all that great shit. Even by his third sentence, Vaughn is establishing the segment as his personal career opus -- this was to be his finest hour, and he was to be the teacher for the great many young persons not knowledgeable of our country's esteemed history. The segment was supposed to be all of this and more, and it very well could've been. There's just one thing throwing it off. One little, eensy weensy thing keeping it from hitting that high emotional level.

Robert Vaughn is surrounded by clowns.

This might be the most hilarious thing ever caught on camera. Vaughn's giving his speech, and suddenly, there's clowns everywhere. At first, we just catch a few glimpses of them in the background. Then they grow closer. Then they start making little hand gestures by Vaughn's ears. Then they triple in numbers. By the end of Vaughn's soliloquy, he's absolutely surrounded by clowns -- to the left, to the right, in the back and the front. The clowns are everywhere, and poor Robert Vaughn has to pretend that he can't see them.

Words, especially my words, can't do this clip justice. As the clowns take over, the producers actually throw Robert's head in a god damned BUBBLE, showing some other parade festivity so the clowns can be cut out of the shot. Unbelievable. This was Mr. Vaughn's last appearance at a Macy's Parade. I hope those clowns are proud of themselves.

Postively the worst day of Robert Vaughn's life. (1986)

Oh, here's the Humpty Dumpty balloon. There's no way to follow up the Vaughn/Clown incident, so why try?

The Humpy Dumpty balloon. (1986)

Raggedy Ann's hair looks like worms. I don't like worms.

Yogi Bear's nose looks like a magic marker tip. I love magic markers!

A 6,000' Yogi Bear strolls down Broadway (1985)

And there's the Rockettes. All of them. Slamming their faces into the camera.

You'll never get a closer look at the Rockettes. (1986)

Santa's arrival was terribly depressing in the '85 parade. Because of the rain, most of the crowd had left. Santa was waving to nobody. It didn't seem like the right note to end this review on, so here's his arrival from '86 instead. For some reason, when Santa appears on the screen, they stick him in some kind of green window box. I kept waiting for some neat trick that incorporated the window box, but nothing came of it. I think they just put it there to hide Santa's Reeboks.

He knows if you've been bad or good... (1986)

You want to know why I hated Bert Convy so much? Watch this clip. Count the number of times you hear the word "baggies." For each of those times, I want you to designate an arrow for Bert's forehead.

Ah, shit. Just did some research -- the guy died in 1991. Now I feel bad. I would erase all the terrible things I said about him over the course of the past six pages, but I dunno...I don't feel that bad.


Well, here's an awkward moment. Pat Sajak and Stepfanie Kramer must come face to face, one last time, to bid farewell to the audience. They both vanished from Thanksgiving specials after 1986, and this might be the reason. Unprofessionalism. They hate each other. Soooo much. Flames...flames...on the side of their face. I swear, they have absolutely no idea how to speak to each other, even for a ten-second "good-bye" speech. Both of them stumble all over their words, and there's all sorts of double meanings in everything they manage to blurt out coherently.

Check out this exchange:

Pat: Maybe next year we'll do it without the singing. Are you available next yea---wellll we'll talk later.

Stepf: Are you availa -- what are you doing -- well that's another thing, oh ha ha ha.

Pat: And you know you have -- uptown is a lot of fun.

That's verbatim, by the way.

Read between the lines -- these two hate each other. (1986)

As sick as it sounds, they both grew on me. Though I've only reviewed '84-'86, I've spent this past month watching virtually every Macy's Parade from the past twenty years. I've seen Willard Scott and Katie Couric take over, and even had to endure a test year for Sandy Duncan. Pat and Stepf had anti-chemistry, but they just...worked. Maybe it's the unintentional comedy, or the ongoing rivalry that tied the entire special together, I don't know. It's kind of sad that neither of 'em will ever come close to a Macy's Parade again. I think it's just about ruined my Thanksgiving.

I hope you've enjoyed this look back at simpler times and silly parades. I wish I could've gotten to a few more parades before the holiday, but these things take forever and a day to put together. Don't worry -- X-E isn't going anywhere, and there's always next year. Have a great holiday; win the wishbone war.

Check out the final two pages for a huge look at the many commercial spots that aired during the '86 and '86 Macy's Parades. You'll see everything from McDonald's "McD.L.T." to She-Ra and beyond.


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