History with the Macy's Parade
In 1947, Macy's introduced the first-ever pirate balloon to the Parade, under the name of simply "The Pirate". The buoyant buccaneer balloon was recycled from the 1946 Pilgrim balloon and featured a pirate donning a brown mustache, red jacket, a blue-and-white striped shirt, blue pants, dashing booties, and a giant golden belt buckle. In order to defend his treasure chest full of helium, The Pirate balloon keeps his trusty pistol and musket by his side as he scurries his way down the Great White Way.
After his initial appearance in the 1947 Parade, the Pirate balloon would travel across the country in January 1948 to appear in that year's edition of the March of Dimes Parade in Los Angeles, California. Five other balloons including the Panda Bear, The Goofy Gnome, The Young Man on the Flying Trapeze, the Jack O'Lantern, and Officer PAL were inflated and floated down Wilshire Boulevard. The balloons were on loan to Warner Brothers for this appearance.
The balloon would make its final appearance in the 1948 Parade, making only two appearances in total. Sometime after its retirement, the balloon was disposed of.
Fifty years after the original balloon was retired, a recreation of the balloon was made for the 2007 Parade as part of the Parade's heritage balloon program, which reinvents historic Macy’s characters for a new audience. The balloon was renamed to "Arrtie the Pirate" named after master balloonatic, Jim Artle. The merry marauder sported a blue vest and headscarf, a red and white-striped shirt, brown pants, and brown pants. Noticeable deviations from the balloon's original design include replacing the musket with a treasure map.
The Arrtle balloon continued to appear in the Parade until 2010, when it was retired. The balloon was shipped down to Universal Orlando Resort one last time. After the Parade's final performance in early 2011, the balloon was permanently retired from both mediums, and was last confirmed to exist in the Macy's Parade Studio as of 2016.
In 2015, due to the wear and tear of the previous balloon, a new version of Arrtle was created, measuring the exact same size and scale as his previous incarnation. This balloon was temporarily retired after its first appearance and was brought back for the 2018 Parade. The balloon was retired once again after the aforementioned appearance.
The Arrtle the Pirate balloon is currently scheduled to appear in the re-imagined 2020 Macy's Parade, marching alongside the Pirate Clowns.