Creepy Tim Burton-Created Balloon to Fly in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Creepy Tim Burton-Created Balloon to Fly in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Oct 21, 2011

Concept art for Burton's Thanksgiving parade balloon

Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade is looking to get a little darker this year and to that end, they’ve recruited filmmaker Tim Burton to create a float for the annual march through New York City.

Burton has long been on Macy’s wish list for its Blue Sky Gallery balloon series – and after seeing the director’s recent exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, the team increased their efforts to procure the Edward Scissorhands filmmaker’s involvement. After some phone calls, they eventually had their man.

Burton’s float will be based on a character named B. Boy (or B. for short), a character who looks like something right out of his beloved The Nightmare Before Christmas. The director explains the character’s origin story as follows.

“B. was created, Frankenstein’s monster-style, from the leftover balloons used in children’s parties at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Forbidden from playing with other children because of his jagged teeth and crazy-quilt stitching, B. retreated to a basement lair, where he obsesses over Albert Lamorisse’s film The Red Balloon and dreams that he, too, will be able to fly someday.”

Burton is thrilled to be involved, telling The New York Times, “It’s such a surprise to be asked, and it was great. It’s such a surreal thing that you don’t even believe what you’re hearing. Somebody’s trying to play a joke on you or something. It had that kind of feeling.”

Burton’s involvement is exciting stuff – if only because it means parade viewers will get to see something different from the standard Snoopy and Garfield balloons. However, some people are worried that given Burton’s penchant for the macabre that his contribution might be upsetting to children.

“Maybe we’re stepping into the dark side here,” said Amy Kule, the parade’s executive producer, “but Tim’s balloon, although gothic, is really fun in spirit, and nobody should be worried that it’s going to be scary or should be part of a nighttime parade rather than a daytime parade. We’re pretty cognizant about what we put in the air, and this balloon deserves to be up there with all the others.”

Honestly, B. strikes us as more cute than creepy. Sure, he’s got some pointy teeth, but the early days of the parade featured stuff like dragons, and Takashi Murakami’s Kiki character balloon – featured last year – also sported some fangs.

All in all, Burton’s involvement has us more excited about the parade than we’ve been in ages. Tune in to the parade next month to see how B. transitions to his new larger than life design. 

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