Arthur is an American-Canadian animated educational television series for children ages 4 to 8, created by Cookie Jar Group (formerly known as Cinar) and WGBH for PBS. The show is set in the fictional American city of Elwood City and revolves around the lives of eight-year-old Arthur Read, an anthropomorphic aardvark, his friends and family, and their daily interactions with each other.
History with the Macy's Parade
The titular character of the Arthur television program, Arthur Read, was introduced to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1997. Dressed in his signature yellow sweater, blue jeans, and 15-foot long read and white sneakers, the Arthur balloon sports a backpack filled with not only his favorite book, but also 2,240 cubic feet of helium. Standing at 68 feet high, 52 feet long, 32 feet wide, and filled with 9,800 cubic feet of helium, the Arthur balloon was as tall as 17 of his third-grade buddies. Making sure he doesn't miss a beat, the Arthur balloon wears 12-foot wide glasses.
Throughout the balloon's run in the Parade, it promoted the hit television series, Arthur, as well as the most recent Arthur books. The balloon would initially make five appearances, and was temporarily retired after the 2001 Parade. The balloon returned in 2003 to promote the spin-off series, Postcards from Buster, which would air in the fall of 2004.
Since this appearance, the Arthur balloon has yet to make another appearance, and the Parade has been without an Arthur balloon. On top of that, he is very unlikely to return due to the franchise's lack of popularity in recent years, and with the animated series ending in early 2022.
As a walk-around character
To celebrate the Parade's 85th anniversary in 2011, a brand-new float entitled Hats Off To Our Heritage was introduced. The float featured many cartoon characters that had been represented in the Parade as a giant balloon. Among the many costumed characters was Arthur, joining other characters such as Barney, Blue, Smokey Bear and Mr. Potato Head. Since this appearance, Arthur has not been represented in the Parade in any way.
Listed below are the music tracks that played during the balloon's appearance on the NBC telecast.
- "Believe In Yourself", composed by Milton DeLugg (1997-2001, 2003)
- During the Parade's step-off in 1997, high winds caused the Arthur balloon to veer towards a tree, puncturing and deflating its left arm. The balloon's ear was later snagged by a traffic light, and was deflated.
- Due to the frigid temperatures of the 2000 Parade, the Arthur balloon's left arm was marginally deflated.