Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, due for its annual bow next week in New York City, has been around for more than 60 years and in that time has accumulated quite a history. Here are some interesting facts and figures:
-The parade was called off for the first time in 19 years in November 1942, due to commodity and personnel shortages during World War II. Helium and rubber, used to make the balloons, were scarce. Rubber that had been used to make the balloons was donated to Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia on the steps of City Hall. The balloons became 650 pounds of scrap rubber for the war effort. No parade took place until 1945.-In 1947, the movie "Miracle on 34th Street" was released, featuring scenes shot in Macy's and scenes of the parade. The stars of the film, Maureen O'Hara and John Payne, joined the 1947 parade festivities.
-The parade in 1963 went on as planned barely a week after President John F. Kennedy's assassination. Flags trailed 7 feet of black bunting.
-No balloons flew overhead in 1971 because of gale force winds. NBC-TV filled in with videotape of balloons from the 1970 parade.
-In 1975 handlers lost control of the Underdog balloon. He crashed into a light pole in Times Square and was out for the rest of the parade. The same thing happened to Snoopy and another balloon.
-In 1979, 1982 and 1983, the parade telecast won Emmy Awards for outstanding achievement in the production of special events and technical direction.
-From 3:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. parade day, bands rehearse their Herald Square performances outside Macy's. At 9 a.m. they're at the starting line to begin marching down the 2.5-mile parade route. They repeat their performances when they reach the end of the route.