I want to give special thanks to the YouTube channel 80s Commerical Vault. I clicked on something with the innocuous name "Thanksgiving special," figuring I'd watch a few random commercials, and ended up watching a huge chunk of a 1980 Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade as originally covered by NBC. This week's Top Ten is inspired by that fantastic piece of archival video.
1) Ed McMahon: Yes, multiple-time BOTNS superstar and Batty fixture Ed McMahon, perhaps the only person who could knock off the next entry from the top spot on this holiday weekend. Watch the following performance, and you will understand why (it comes about 15 minutes into the above longer clip, but see it below as well):
Why aren't there more Thanksgiving carols? I am going to make this a staple of my household each year before the feast. "It's Thanksgiving Dayyyyyy..."
2) A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: This 1973 special still owns the holiday...but Ed McMahon is catching up.
3) Todd Bridges: What better time to perform 'Summer Dancing" than on a frigid Thanksgiving morning?
4) Bryant Gumbel: Big ups to Bryant for co-anchoring that 1980 parade in all good holiday cheer and for willingly (at least on camera) taking a back seat to McMahon.
5) Greg Gumbel: But just as I was reveling in the performance of Bryant, another of my favorite YouTubers posts this 1990 clip of my favorite Gumbel, Greg. By the way, notice Terry Bradshaw, 30 years ago, doing some pretty serious analysis during this highlights segment:
6) Sesame Street: Another insight gleaned from that 1980 parade footage: Pretty much everything was better back then, including the Street. Compare a recent parade appearance with this classic, simple, elegant performance led by Bob Mcgrath.
7) Marilyn Michaels: She gets a nice segment on the Macy's Parade. I'd love to see her old series The Kopykats. Wait, several episodes are on YouTube? Off I go, but for now here's an appetizer:
8) Underdog: My pick for the best Macy's float of all time. His appearance in 1980 does a lot to turn around the parade after a ghastly-looking Mickey Mouse parade that my household agreed looked like a Malaysian knockoff.
9) Peter Panda: After seeing multiple Child World ads in one sitting, I feel I have to rank the mascot...or it will find me...and hurt me.
10) Wonder Woman/The Powers of Matthew Star: These two series are subject of a weekend-long marathon on Decades, which I still don't get. Star would be enough to pull me away from old Macy's Parade clips!