Donald Duck is a fictional cartoon character created by Walt Disney. He is portrayed as an anthropomorphic white Pekin duck who wears a blue sailor suit, speaks with an unintelligible voice, and has an explosive temper. He is one of the most popular Disney characters, along with his friend Mickey Mouse, to whom he often appears as a comic foil. Outside of animation, Donald is primarily known for his appearances in comics, including those by Carl Barks, who greatly expanded the character's universe and gave him additional friends and relatives. Donald has appeared in 197 films from 1934 to the present, more than any other Disney character, and is the most published comic book character in the world outside of the superhero genre.
History with the Macy's Parade
Donald first appeared as a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1935, The balloon was based off a Christmas Ornament and his original appearance in the earliest cartoons starring Donald, he sported his then-signature long neck and bill. This design choice was carried over to the balloon design, making it nearly impossible for the handlers to keep his head upright. This balloon was retired after its only appearance in 1935, alongside all the other Disney balloons.
Modern Donald Duck
A new version debuted in 1962, measuring 60 feet tall. This Donald sported a more modern design, with a shorter neck and bill, and a more friendly appearance. The balloon appeared up until 1972 because of wear and tear, with hosts Lorne Greene and Betty White announcing his retirement.
But you can't keep a good duck down. After Mickey Mouse got retired the previous year because of a major accident with the balloon itself before the parade, Donald made a brief return in 1984 to celebrate his 50th anniversary and led the parade that year. Donald also made appearences in the 1985 and 1986 editions of the Macy's-Egleston Christmas Parade.
Though no subsequent balloon of Donald has been made since then, he did appear at the 2005 parade in walk-around form on the 50th Anniversary of Disney Parks Magic float, along with Mickey, many other Disney characters, and country singer LeAnn Rimes, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Disney parks and resorts.
Also, 1935 and 1972 are the only years in the parade's history where Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse both appeared as balloons in the parade.
- In 1963, one of the Goodyear workers accidentally stepped on the balloon's left foot, causing it to deflate.
- In 1964, he was pushed around by strong winds, because of this his left and right arms were twisted.
- In 1971, Donald, along with every other balloon, could not be inflated due to extreme weather.
- In 1972, he had his right hand deflated by a tree.
- In 1935, the balloon's handlers had problems with keeping the balloon's neck straight so he was looking at the sky for most of his appearance due to the winds.
- The 2nd Donald Duck Balloon's arms were bent in most of his appearances.
- Donald's nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, were planned to debut alongside Donald as smaller novelty balloons, but this idea was scrapped, and Donald debuted alone.
- Originally, the Donald Duck Balloon was supposed to be retired after 1971, but due to the winds grounding the balloon in 1971, he reappeared one last time in 1972.
Below, you will find a list of the music that played during the balloon's appearance on the NBC telecast
- Huckleberry Duck (David Carroll version)