Helium Brands

On Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day, I enjoy relaxing at home while watching parades on TV. Today, of course, I watched coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC and CBS.

The CBS broadcast is a talk-show disguised as a parade. The anchors interview celebrities on their set while the parade passes behind them. The hosts often talk over each other and the guests. Sometimes they describe the band, float or balloon. Sometimes they don’t. The show is interspersed with pre-recorded cooking segments and musical segments.

When CBS showed one of the balloons, they actually did a better job than the official parade broadcast on NBC. CBS spent more time and had more camera angles than NBC. I love seeing the balloons. I just need to remember to hit the mute button while they’re on CBS.

Parade floats and marching bands get the short shrift on CBS. (Quick reminder: parade floats have wheels; balloons have strings.) The floats and bands stop in front of the NBC cameras in Herald Square to get their moment in the spotlight.

Al Roker couldn’t pronounce the name of the Ooltewah High School Band. He made the Tennessee town sound more like Ottumwa, Iowa. I had to rewind the DVR to hear Al’s pronunciation of one of the Zhu Zhu Pets. He did say Num Nums, although the second word sounded dangerously close to nuts.

The Ooltewah band had to leave their hotel at 3:00 a.m. and be ready for a rehearsal at Macy’s at 4:30 a.m. They had plenty of time for breakfast before the parade started at 9:00. Instead of typical band uniforms, the members wore ballerina, girl Munchkin or boy Munchkin costumes representing characters from The Wizard of Oz. Their website told them to pack Under Armour basewear and toe-warmer inserts.

One celebrity didn’t get to ride on a full-sized float. He didn’t get much camera time either. Richard Simmons was on a turtle float that appeared to be barely as big as a Smart Car. Simmons did get interviewed for a very good WPIX news report. Reporter James Ford would have been a better host than the folks on the CBS telecast.

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