For kids of all ages, the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade means one thing: awesome floats. And no time were they more awesome than during the '80s and '90s.
Whether it's lavish spectacles that bring cherished childhood favorites (He-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog) to life or guest appearances from stars like The Backstreet Boys and ALF, parade floats from years past provide a nostalgic window to a simpler, more Dolph Lundgren-filled time. Check out ten clips of some of our favorite Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade moments of yore below.
Dolph Lundgren Narrates the 'He-Man' Float (1986)
This 1986 float has it all: He-Man fighting Skeletor with his mighty power sword, Ninjor scaling Castle Grayskull and Dolph Lundgren (star of the 1987 'Masters of Universe' movie) narrating the proceedings with the same mush-mouthed gravitas he brought to 'Rocky IV.' And what is The Elephant Man doing there? The '80s were so weird.
Marvel Comics Float (1987)
Before they conquered the big screen, Marvel Comics heroes wore skin-tight costumes and performed awkward ballet moves amid slowly falling buildings and…Wait a second. Was that Robocop? Also, White Queen's outfit is more than a little inappropriate for a family holiday parade.
'ALF' Meets Garfield (1989)
This video of ALF, a known cat eater, narrating the Garfield balloon's travel down the parade route is pretty disturbing. It'll be a long time before we get the phrase “feline mignon” out of our heads.
Punky Brewster “Sings” (1984)
While watching this video, it's best to remember that Soleil Moon Frye was cast as orphaned moppet Punky Brewster more for her preciousness than her singing voice. Annie she was not.
Marvel Comics 'Holding Out For a Hero' (1989)
The heroes of Marvel Comics faced an even bigger threat in 1989 — the dulcet pipes of disco diva Melba Moore, who belts out Bonnie Tyler's 'Holding Out For a Hero.' (What, Tyler was busy?) Again, White Queen, put on some pants. There are children present. Even Daredevil is scandalized and he's blind.
The Muppets' Tribute to Jim Henson (1990)
We dare you to watch this 1990 tribute to the many parade floats featuring characters created by the late, great Jim Henson and not get misty-eyed. Also of note? Miss Piggy in her Bette Midler hair phase.
'Magnum, P.I.' Meets 'Dallas' (1986)
For some reason, CBS thought it was a good idea to have stars from adult shows like 'Dallas' and 'Magnum, P.I.' host their parade coverage in 1986. This makes for some awkwardly flirtatious banter between John Hillerman ('Magnum''s Higgins) and 'Dallas' hottie Deborah Shelton as they feed each other raw fish and poi during the Hawaii segments. We're also treated to Larry Hagman (in a cowboy hat, of course) and Linda Gray reporting on the Macy's Parade from inside something called the “CBS bubble.”
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1991)
Who thought it was a good idea to make the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ride inside convertibles? Shouldn't they be on the street performing kung-fu moves and chucking throwing stars at Willard Scott's toupee?
Sonic the Hedgehog (1993)
You know what's great about looking at the past through nostalgia-tinged glasses? You can enjoy this awesome Sonic balloon and Willard Scott and Katie Couric's banter and forget about how it later crashed into a lamppost and caused several injuries.
If you need a visual representation of the late '90s, look no further than A.J., Howie, Nick, Brian and Kevin lip-syncing to 'As Long as You Love Me' while kids in multi-colored sweaters perform some tight dance moves below them. Oh, and kids? Those numbers on the screen are the time code on the VCR. Nobody had DVRs in 1998.