Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade history: Underdog takes flight — and a famous Santa delights!

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

It's almost that time of year again.

On Thanksgiving Eve, dozens of balloons are inflated on the upper West Side.

Thousands come out to see the festivities and the Mayor and NYPD Officials provide a final briefing.

Robert Grippo, a historian, author of the books "The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade,"  and "Macy's The Star The Store The Story", and curator of The Big Parade History Project Facebook page, shares two gems with us this Thanksgiving that will bring nostalgic delight on this most beloved of days.

1.) There's no need to fear ... Underdog is here! 

Underdog! Way back it 1965, a new cartoon character was making a hit on TV and the kids just loved him! Macy's wanted to "balloonify" him and the rest is history! Now more than 50 years after his debut, The University Of Akron Archival Services department has uncovered this top dog's Test Flight footage from 1965, and shared it with Robert Grippo.  This rare Thanksgiving Day footage is making its debut right here.

2.) Who's that playing Santa?

Hollywood legend has it famed character actor Monty Woolley was offered the role of Kris Kringle in the 1947 film classic "Miracle On 34th Street." Don't know if that is true but Woolley did get the chance to play Santa at Macy's Herald Square on Dec. 8, 1942! WPIX viewers might remember Woolley from his role as Professor Wutheridge in "The Bishop's Wife" (1947). And for you history buffs WPIX-TV aired "The Bishop's Wife" as a Christmas Eve holiday tradition for many years!

This rare clip and we mean RARE comes to us from our friends at the University of South Carolina Moving Image Research Collections.

Click the images below to learn more and get Robert's books!