Gorgeous Gobbler is an original Macy's character that appeared in the form of a giant helium balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
History with the Macy's Parade
The original Gorgeous Gobbler balloon made its Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade debut in the 1954 Parade. The balloon was designed by Bill Ludwick and constructed at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company's plant in Akron, Ohio. The design features a larger-than-life gobbler flying down the Parade route, fanning its gorgeous array of tail feathers as it rises to the occasion with the help of 13,500 cubic feet of helium. The balloon measured 50 feet tall, 45 feet long and was the largest turkey of all time weighing in at 305 pounds.
Gale force winds affected much of the 1956 Parade, which caused almost all of the balloons to be sidelined. The Gorgeous Gobbler balloon was blown into a tree, the impact of which deflated the carved carcass as it wilted to the ground below. The balloon was removed from the Parade, and was given extensive repairs to allow it to return to the 1957 Parade.
Following a nationwide helium shortage before the 1958 Parade, the giant balloons in the Macy's Parade were forced to be air-inflated and carried down the streets of New York City on industrial cranes. The Gorgeous Gobbler balloon was unable to be carried by the cranes due to its rotund shape, and as a result was sidelined from the event.
Upon returning to the 1959 Parade, the Gorgeous Gobbler's tailfeathers were shredded by trees along Central Park West; an incident that would be repeated in the 1961 Parade. The 1961 Parade also had the Gorgeous Gobbler's beak speared by an unknown obstacle. The decision was eventually made to deflate the turkey's head altogether, leaving it headless as it travelled down the Parade pipe. The Gorgeous Gobbler balloon was permanently retired from the line of march after the latter appearance.
In 2003, a recreation of the Gorgeous Gobbler balloon debuted as part of the Parade's heritage balloon program, which reinvents historic Macy’s characters for a new audience. The balloon, now classified as a novelty balloon, measured 23.5-feet tall, 16.75-feet long and 18-feet wide. The Gorgeous Gobbler balloon gobbled up all of the attention upon making its debut, serving as a replacement for the iconic Tom Turkey float who was taking a "Thanksgiving off".
Shortly after Parade step-off, the helium inside of the balloon's tail feathers expanded, causing them to burst. The balloon was off-stable and lowered as a result, but continued down the Parade route with no other damages done. The second Gorgeous Gobbler balloon was retired after its maiden flight.
The balloon would later appear throughout the years in Macy's Holiday Parade, which brought the magic of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to Universal Orlando Resort. Since this appearance, it has sat dormant at the Macy's Float Warehouse with its existence last being confirmed in November 2016.