Where Did My Thanksgiving Parade Go?

screencap of Jack Lord hosting the Aloha Floral Parade in 1979 on CBS
Jack Lord hosting the Aloha Floral Parade in 1979 on CBS

So I got up earlier than usual on Thanksgiving morning specifically to watch the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I turn on the TV to watch but where is the parade? It is suppose to be on two networks and I see bits of the parade in the background but the hosts act like they are somewhere other than a parade. When did the Macy’s parade become just an advertising vehicle for NBC and CBS? Where did my Thanksgiving Parade go?

Watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade was a ritual growing up. It would be on at Grandma’s house as we kids tried to pass the time before we could eat. We would sneak cheese from the cheese plate as we watched the floats and balloons go by. 

Probably back in the 1990s NBC, who has the contract for broadcasting the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade each year, decided to turn it into 3 hours of cross promotion and advertising with short interruptions for a balloon or a marching band.

We were lucky because CBS also broadcast the parade but because they didn’t have a contract with Macy’s they couldn’t call it the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. CBS would also do a straight forward parade show. It would start with the first unit and continue until Santa Claus appeared at the end.

CBS use to also show parades in other cities with the last parade, the Aloha Floral Parade in Honolulu, hosted by actor Jack Lord. As he signed off with an aloha and Happy Thanksgiving you knew it was time for dinner and football.

Now CBS is just as bad as NBC trying to fill up 3 hours with cross promotions and advertising that has nothing to do with the parade. Today they had Taylor Swift performing from the Ed Sullivan Theater for no apparent holiday reason… no wait… she just said “Happy Thanksgiving..” before her second song. Well, I guess that makes it all legal.

Or how about this groaner on NBC:

Al Roker: Look who happened to stop by, Ken Marino from the NBC show “Marry Me…”

Ken Marino: [hugs Al] Happy Thanksgiving….

Happened to stop by? Right…

Or how about when NBC comes back from a commercial and we see actress Alfre Woodard sitting with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie. As they breathlessly tell the audience that Ms. Woodard is in the new NBC show State of Emergency or something like that and she talks about spending Thanksgiving with her family….

And don’t get me started on the lip synching pop singers and tween bands who happen to be on certain floats.

I just want a parade. Nothing more than shots of people marching by and the hosts telling me where they come from or what a float represents.

Or at least leave out the forced fake adverts for your upcoming programs or artists your subsidiaries are promoting.