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A KringleQuest.commentary:


Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade:

A Brief Reflection

It happens almost every other time of the year: you suddenly notice how the big red logo thing they paint on the street each year for the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade is battered, fading, somewhat cluttered --- in short, little more than a mere shadow of its former self. That is, of course, until the final few weeks before Parade time, when the logo is repainted and given a fresh new set of colors, so that it looks really good for NBC's cameras. That logo was originally designed for NBC's Graphics Department by television veterans Bob Gautieri and Kelly Shelly, and has since been upgraded by production house Design on the Fly, Inc., so I know something of how they operate. Still, over the years, I've always thought that Gautieri and Shelly should work on better graphics and a new logo for the NBC telecast.

Why? Well, for one thing, at the 2001 Macy*s Parade, we did not have the comforting presence of either Jean McFaddin, the lady who, for nearly a quarter of a century, spearheaded and guided this Parade to its happy conclusion --- the traditional Triumphant Entry of Santa Claus --- each and every year; nor did we see the superb attention to detail inherent in the various float designs of the Parade's beloved Senior Designer, Manfred Bass. Both Jean and Manny retired from Macy*s at the end of 2000; thus, the 2001 NBC telecast didn't really feel the same, especially in the few weeks immediately following September 11th. Yes, Katie, Matt and Al hosted; Brad Lachman executive produced, and Gary Halvorson directed --- but somehow, at the time, it just didn't feel right.

Then again, I've always suspected that the graphics on the show have somehow had some kind of connection with it. You enjoy the logo and graphics for at least a few years; but after a while, things tend to get a bit stale. Which explains why I think NBC's telecast of the Macy*s Parade, which I have faithfully depended upon even before Santa Claus: The Movie came into my life, deserves its own fresh coat of paint, if you will. Frankly, I've bugged NBC about this for several years now; and in all that time, I've never really had the werewithal to write to them about this subject. Perhaps, in this, the era of reality television per se, such an idea might seem a little bit too touchy-feely. And yet, I find myself asking:

Whither the future of the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade, particularly under its new Executive Producer Amy Kule? What next for the new Parade team? And how will Santa's role in Macy*s future be treated? Of course, Macy*s Santa would, as usual, follow the script by reminding us, his loyal fans, that his is basically the best job on Earth. That's all well and good, no doubt, but even Santa Claus must look to the future.

As I mentioned when I originally wrote these comments, September 11th, 2001 may have been too much for even the Young-in-Heart to comprehend; even now, some people mark that day forever as the day when America, and, by extension, the world, was shorn of its innocence. Yet the folks at Macy*s chose to shoulder on, and do the Parade as scheduled. While I consider this a wise and a sound and noble gesture on the part of the Macy*s braintrust, I still must wonder: How many scripts will it take to convince even a Professional Believer in Santa Claus that we, as Americans, can still believe in our innocence? How many more corporate entities must pass through along the road to Herald Square before we can feel like we are once again New York City? These are not easy questions.

That such questions are being addressed here at KringleQuest.com 3.0 speaks volumes, not only about those of us who believe in Santa and his magic, but also about those who can still convince us in our heart of hearts that somehow, in spite of everything, there will always be someone who can remind us that we are safe, that everything will be made right in the end, that someone will always be there to take care of us, no matter what. In this respect, I hope that this and every year, no matter how horrible the real world may seem, those responsible for planning and preparing the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade will continue to appreciate the magic spirit wielded of old by those who have gone before them; and eventually, those who will represent the Parade's next eight decades.

Sincerely yours,

RICHARD WASHINGTON

Senior Elf-in-Charge, KringleQuest.com

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