OK, so Black Tuesday happened only a month before, and the Great Depression had just started, but does Captain Nemo really have to look THIS glum?
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The parade began in 1924, but the first giant balloon didn't appear until 1927. It was a much cheerier Felix the Cat.
This was the year Mickey fell out of favor in the Disney world. We're not sure if it had anything to do with this enormous float, but we wouldn't be surprised - at this size, he's freaking terrifying.
The giant balloons were originally released into the air at the close of the parade. According to Business Insider the store offered a $50 reward for each returned float. Two years before Mickey made his appearance, however, the tradition was banned when pilots allegedly began attempting to catch the balloons mid-flight. Clearly not a very good idea.
Hey, this 75-foot-tall Uncle Sam is rocking skinny jeans! He was also completely rubberized — this was before Macy's started making the floats with the much lighter polyurethane.
Uncle Sam was rolled out again in 1940. This time with a very robust-looking Superman.
This two-figured balloon was designed by a 12-year-old from Brooklyn, and was the prize-winner that same year.
1940 marked the premiere of the first Superman balloon, which stood over five stories high and was 30 feet wide.
A 5-story tall teddy bear floats through Times Square. Because of the need for helium and rubber for the war effort, the parade was cancelled from 1942–1944. Old balloons were melted down into 650 pounds of rubber as a contribution.
This was the first year the parade started at 77th and Central Park West. The original route began at 145th Street and Covenant Ave. It ended in the same spot though - right in front of Macy's Herald Square store.
A giant Dachshund makes its way down Broadway in 1950. Once WWII ended, the parade came back with a bang, helped in part by the fact that the 1946 parade had just appeared in the hugely popular "Miracle on 34th Street".
As the newly introduced Space Man floats his way down Central Park West, an estimated 2,250,000 people cheered him on in person at the 26th annual parade.
Where’s Rocky? Who cares — Bullwinkle was all anyone wanted, back then. This year the parade's television coverage ran on NBC for 90 minutes and it was the second year the event was broadcast in color.
11 years after debuting at the parade, Popeye made his triumphant return in 1968. The absence of Olive Oil, however, must have raised a few eyebrows.
Smokey towered over the crowd at a staggering 58 feet, still one of the tallest floats of all time.
Although Mickey Mouse had been a parade staple since 1932, Donald Duck made his debut in 1962. Here, Donald sports a limp limb after a run-in with a tree branch.
The real-life Metropolis finally gets to see a fake Superman fly through the city, no doubt in celebration of that year's release of "Superman lll."
While Goofy's 1992 debut came 58 years after his good pal Mickey first floated in the parade, his popularity has dwarfed the cartoon mouse immeasurably.
While Spidey threatened to capture the crowd with his web, a nearby Cat in the Hat balloon was involved in a serious accident. The 6-story balloon knocked over a lamppost, injuring four spectators (one of whom ended up in a month-long coma). Mayor Rudolph Giuliani implemented much stricter safety rules the following years.
Gigantic floats, like this complex Rugrats balloon in '97, require at least 50 people and a police officer to handle each one. Thousands of people volunteer for this job each year.
If you think this balloon looks a little ... outdated, that's because it is. In 2001, to honor the firefighters who lost their lives on September 11, 1948's "Fireman" was revived.
Curious George got the call to lead the parade in 2001. The monkey balloon — like all the other floats — was made by the South Dakota manufacturer Raven Industries, who have been responsible for every float since 1984.
This was the year we saw one of the worst helium shortages since 1958. That didn't stop ol' Snoopy, however, from flying high.
With Shrek's penchant for "passing gas" humor, he was a natural fit in the parade. Not surprisingly, the parade is the second largest consumer of helium in the U.S., right behind the U.S. government.
Beethoven certainly behaved himself in 2008, to the delight of the crowds in person and at home watching on television. Since the first televised parade in 1952, NBC has remained the official TV broadcaster. While CBS broadcasts coverage, it is considered "unofficial" and they cannot televise Broadway or musical acts.
Approximately 3.5 million people were in attendance when Buzz and his balloon buddies flew around in 2011. When the parade first began in 1924, the average audience size was around 250,000.
Mickey's return! While the children in the audience may have been scratching their heads, seasoned followers embraced the mouse's return.
Kermie waves to the crowd in last year's parade, which featured Hurricane Sandy victims marching right in the front row.
Who will be there for this year's parade? You can expect to see the "Despicable Me" characters, a Lindt Chocolate float and a performance by Cirque du Soleil.