Raggedy Ann is a character created by American writer Johnny Gruelle (1880–1938) that appeared in a series of books he wrote and illustrated for young children. Raggedy Ann is a rag doll with red yarn for hair and a triangle nose. Gruelle received US Patent D47789 for his Raggedy Ann doll on September 7, 1915. The character was created in 1915 as a doll, and was introduced to the public in the 1918 book Raggedy Ann Stories. When a doll was marketed with the book, the concept had great success. A sequel, Raggedy Andy Stories (1920), introduced the character of her brother, Raggedy Andy. Further characters such as Beloved Belindy, a black mammy doll, were featured as dolls and characters in books.
History with the Macy's Parade
A Raggedy Ann float was created in the 1975 Parade, in part due to her 60th birthday that year. It featured Raggedy Ann, alongside many of her doll friends, gathered around a large flower. The float retired after the 1977 Parade around mid-late 1978.
A Raggedy Ann balloon was one of the new additions to the 1984 Macy's Parade, alongside Garfield. She was also one of the first-ever balloons created by Raven Aerostar, who made balloons since the time of her debut up to 2019. She stood 62 feet tall, 32 feet wide, her smile is 7 feet wide, her eyes are 3 feet wide across, her shoes are 12 feet long each, and carries 12,000 cubic feet of helium, she led the parade in 1985 and was retired after the 1986 parade to promote the obscure Broadway musical Raggedy Ann, possibly due to an incident that took place that year. Despite this, she returned in 1991 as part of the Parade's 65th Anniversary alongside many other iconic Macy's Parade balloons and then was retired. It is speculated that she still survives to this day in the Macy's Parade Studio.
With Raggedy Ann's lack of popularity, a new unit based on her isn't likely to be made in the future.
- In 2001, Raggedy Ann appeared in walk-around form on the Toon Balloon-Abration float, alongside many other retired and current balloon characters to help celebrate the Parade's 75th Anniversary.
- In 2002, Raggedy Ann once again appeared in walk-around form, this time riding on the Rocking Horse toy float.
- In 2011, Raggedy Ann once again appeared in walk-around form, this time on the Hats Off To Our Heritage float, alongside many other retired balloon characters, and former Parade directors Jean McFaddin and Robin Hall, to help celebrate the Parade's 85th Anniversary.
- Raggedy Ann, alongside Garfield, were the first balloons to be produced by Raven Industries.
- Raggedy Ann was one of the first balloons to have a model. But unlike most models (where they make them out of clay), her original model was made out of fiberglass.
- In 1986, Raggedy Ann hit a lamppost pole at 77th Street before the Parade started, and snapped the light off its pole. Nobody was injured, but the balloon's hand was slightly damaged.
- In 1984, Raggedy Ann's neck ruffle continuously refused to stay inflated the night before the Parade, leaving the inflation crew no choice but to let the balloon fly with it deflated.