The iconic Smiley Face is an American icon of happiness. Created in 1963 by Harvey Ball, the friendly ball became a pop culture icon, being on 50 million pins in 1971.

History with the Macy's Parade

In contrast with its usual iconic status, Smile is one of the most mysterious and obscure Macy's Parade balloons in existence. The balloon was recycled from the Elsie the Cow balloon, it was 27 feet tall, 27 feet in length, 27 feet wide, its weight was 290 lbs and could contain 10,306 cubic feet of helium, and it was scheduled to debut in 1971 alongside a brand-new Mickey Mouse balloon. However, due to extreme winds reaching up to 40 mph and rain mixing together to create weather unsuitable for flying balloons, thus resulting in the only instance in Parade history where the giant balloons were grounded. Smile finally marched down the Parade route in 1972, leading the Parade that year. The balloon did not return afterwards. After the balloon was retired, the handler costumes for the balloon was later used for the Mickey Mouse balloon (mostly due to the costumes having yellow shirts and red pants, similar to the Mickey balloon around that time) until around the late 1970s. The balloon was recycled into many other Parade units, such as the hot-air balloon of the Alvin and the Chipmunks falloon from 1986, which was later recycled once again into the Babar the Elephant balloon in 1991. 


  • In 1971, Smile, along with all the other balloons, could not be flown due to extreme weather. This meant that Smile, as well as the second Mickey Mouse balloon, would have to properly debut the following year.


Gallery: Harvey Ball's Smile

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