The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade kicked off in 1924, but it wasn’t until TVs became popular in the 1950s and 1960s that it became a staple of the holiday across the entire United States.
The history of the televising of the parade actually goes back further than many would think, While this 1937 newsreel shows how many people heard of the parade in the early years, the first televised parade was in 1939 locally in New York as an experiment. In 1948 CBS began televising it nationally, although the number of televisions in homes was definitely miniscule.
Through out the 1950s and 60s, as televisions became more affordable, the popularity of the parade grew and became a staple of the holiday for many people. The event is now viewed by an average of 44 million Americans each year on Thanksgiving before all of us enter into turkey coma from the meal of the day.
It’s just fun to look back at something that has become such a staple of our lives in the United States and wonder how it got there. It’s hard to imagine Thanksgiving without the parade now, but there was indeed a time where there was sure to be people across this country who had never even heard of it.
See, some good does come from television. Kinda. Okay, maybe not. It depends on how you feel about giant balloons.