The Jolly Polly Pirate Ship is a classic float from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

History with the Macy's Parade

The Jolly Polly Pirate Ship first set sail in 1969, under the name "Captain Hook's Pirate Ship". The float was recycled from the Dr. Dolittle flounder float from 1967, The float was created for the reissue of the Disney film classic, Peter Pan, and featured the titular character, along with Wendy Darling, Captain Hook, and Tinkerbell. The grand schooner ship stood at over 40-feet-tall and was decorated with intricately-detailed masts, a plank, smoke-bellowing cannons, and a skull with a jewel eye at the helm. Decorating the base of the float were carved pieces of foam, made to look like crashing waves. From its debut until 1977, the Jolly Roger appeared in the "Wonderful World of Disney" unit of the Parade.

After the Disney branding was stripped of the float in 1978, it was turned into a generic pirate ship. In 1983, the float was given a fresh coat of paint, changing from muted colors to vibrant hues of red, yellow and blue. The following year, in 1984, the float was given another refurbishment and was attached to a replica of the Statue of Liberty, creating one of the grandest floats in the Parade's history known as the Salute to the Statue of Liberty. In addition to the combination of the two floats, the jewel-eyed skull was replaced with an American bald eagle.

After the 1985 Parade, the original float was retired, leaving the Statue of Liberty as a separate float. The new pirate ship float, now named the "Macy Clipper", was much larger and grander than the original float, with larger crows nests, and various American flags decorating the back of the float. The base was also given a major improvement, now decorated with much more detailed, foam-carved waves, with the addition of dolphins swimming with glee. The base of the float was wrapped with a wave and seashell-patterned trim. Another name was given to the float in 1987, now being named the "Macy's Clipper". The float was further improved upon in 1993, it was given the now-signature name, the "Jolly Polly Pirate Ship". and the blue-and-red pin-stripped flag was replaced with a large sail, featuring a parrot in front of a rising sun.

The float underwent another name change in 1997, now being named "Peter Pan's Pirate Ship", to promote the Broadway musical of Peter Pan, starring Cathy Rigby. The float remained under the sponsor of Ocean Spray Cranberries from 1997 until 1998 and was renamed back to the Ship of State in 1999, and then renamed back to the Jolly Polly Pirate Ship in 2001. To represent the "Jolly Polly" theme better, the float was given and upgrade sail once again, now featuring a cyan-and-yellow parrot riding upon a ship's steering wheel.

The float was briefly retired after the 2003 Parade and was brought back shortly after in the 2007 Parade, pairing with the new Arrrtie the Pirate novelty balloon. The float would continue to make subsequent appearances until the 2012 Parade when the Jolly Polly Pirate Ship float was officially retired from the Parade lineup.

Despite this, the float returned in 2014, under the branding of Pirate's Booty. A separate article for the float's refurbishment can be read here. This version of the float is known to remain intact in the Macy's Float Warehouse as of 2018, meaning that a return of the float may be likely.

Guest Stars

Listed below are the guest stars that have performed/appeared on the float, alongside the respective songs which they sang during the NBC Telecast.

Captain Hook's Pirate Ship

  • 1972 - Rick Springfield
  • 1977 - The Trammps

Pirate Ship

  • 1978 - Brass Construction
  • 1979 - Sha Na Na; sang "Get a Job"
  • 1980 - The Cast of Pirates of Penzance
  • 1981 - Don McLean; sang "Castles in the Air"
  • 1982 - The 1982 Broadway Cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Andy Gibb; sang "Any Dream will Do"

Macy Clipper

  • 1986 - Robert Merrill
  • 1987 - Christopher Hewett & the Brigade of the American Revolution Fire & Drum
  • 1988 - Robin Leech, & Judith Ledford
  • 1989 - Terry Lester
  • 1990 - The Boys; sang "I Had a Dream"
  • 1992 - The Macy's Holiday Chorus; sang "One Brick at a Time"

Jolly Polly Pirate Ship

  • 1993 - The Valley Stream Central High School Streamers
  • 1995 - Joseph Barbara, Timothy Gibbs, Thyme Lewis, Peter Reckell, Diego Serrano, & Mark Valley
  • 1996 - The Cast of Cats
  • 2001 - Denise M. Quiñones & the Highbridge Voices Choir; sang "I Believe I Can Fly"
  • 2002 - The Wiggles; sang "Wiggly Party"
  • 2003 - The Wiggles; sang "Central Park, New York"
  • 2007 - Sarah Brightman; sang "The Journey Home"
  • 2009 - Ziggy, & Judah Marley; sang "Family Time"
  • 2010 - Juanes; sang "Y No Regresas"
  • 2011 - Michael Feinstein, & the Pirettes; sang "Jolly Dream Pirates"
  • 2012 - Whoopi Goldberg

Peter Pan's Pirate Ship

  • 1997 - Cathy Rigby; sang "Neverland"
  • 1998 - Cathy Rigby; sang "I Gotta Crow"

Ship of State

  • 1999 - Lillias White, & the United States Naval Academy Men's Glee Club; sang "Just Beyond the Dream"
  • 2000 - The Cast of Passions
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