The Pink Panther is a fictional animated character created by Fritz Freleng, Blake Edwards, and Hawley Pratt. Originally appearing in the title sequence of the 1963 film, The Pink Panther, he has since gone on to star in 124 theatrical shorts, four TV spin-off series, and four TV specials. American historian Jerry Beck has referred to the Pink Panther as "the last great Hollywood cartoon character". "The Pink Panther Theme" by composer Henry Mancini is closely associated with the character and nearly all related media.
History with the Macy's Parade
As a Giant Balloon
His balloon first appeared in the parade in 1988 along with Big Bird, Quik Bunny, and Snoopy and Woodstock, as a 78-foot tall balloon with a 65-foot tail (just like the balloon) to celebrate the film's 25th anniversary. He also named Macy's Holiday Ambassador along with Snoopy in 1988. The balloon's design shows him in swimming trunks, with an inner tube reading "Macy's Life Guard", but he did wear a scarf for the cold weather.
In 1994 to 1997 the balloon was always behind the Sea Venture float. The character balloon continued to appear in the Parade until 1997, after which new size rules prevented him from making any future reappearances, due to the balloon being 78 feet. It's been speculated that the balloon was disposed of sometime after his retirement due to his accident that in year.
In addition to appearing as a balloon, the Pink Panther also appeared as a cold-air inflatable on a Macy's marquee for a 1989 St. Valentine's Day promotion.
As a Walk-Around
Before the balloon was created, a walkaround costume character appeared on The Cootie float in 1976.
The walkaround Pink Panther returned in 2011 on the "85th Parade Superstars" float, along with other characters who had balloons that had been long retired.
Since this character balloon was one of the tallest in the parade's history, he did have his share of incidents.
- In 1989, the balloon was punctured which caused his tail to deflate. Along with this, the side of his inner tube was also ripped open.
- In 1991, the Pink Panther snagged onto a building and was caught in it, but was freed with no damages done to the balloon.
- In 1995, the balloon's stomach was ripped apart, meaning it had to finish lower than usual. Along with this, his left hand and right eye were punctured but the balloon survived.
- In 1997, The Pink Panther had a minor accident before he started, but was repaired in time. By the time he reached Times Square, he went out of control due to the winds and eventually collapsed. He also almost suffocated a woman and her daughter, who were handling the balloon. He was later destroyed and popped by a streetlight, shredding pieces of the balloon into the crowd, and shortly after by an NYPD officer. According to the balloon handlers, one of their colleagues was knocked unconscious during the feline's collapse, however, the NYPD could not confirm this. Due to the major damage of the balloon, as well as its height, it was retired. His handlers were supposed to handle the Quik Bunny balloon, but were unable to because that balloon also suffered an accident that year and being removed as well in 36th street.
- In 1988 and 1991, the balloon's inner tube was deflated.
- In 1993 and 1994, the balloon's right arm was deflated.
- In 1996 and 1997, the balloon's scarf was missing, possibly due to the accident that occurred in 1995.
- In 1995 at the Balloon-A-Thon, his scarf was deflated.
- The Pink Panther along with Kermit the Frog and Spider-Man are the only balloons to get their stomachs ripped.
Below, you will find a list of the music tracks that played during the balloon's appearance on the NBC telecast.
- "The Pink Panther Theme" by Henry Mancini (Milton DeLugg arrangement, 1988-1990; 1992-1997)
- "The Pink Panther Theme" by Henry Mancini (Original arrangement, 1991)