When Barney got gloriously wrecked at the 1997 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/26/when-barney-got-gloriously-wre.html


I am surprised that this video was allowed to remain up by TPTB, considering that once the lamp post rips open the side of the Beast, the stark white void at its heart was exposed on camera for all the world to see.

Ah yes, the New York Times, proud as always to have been the squarest kid in high school.


I was personally rooting for some realistic inflatable guts to pour out of the beast. That would have been a nice touch.


That was half a million dollars worth of helium being spread into the atmosphere.


Oh, the Huge Manatee Dinosaur!

I like the appreciative roar of the crowd; like something from the Colosseum or Bull Ring.

I’m surprised that this doesn’t happen more frequently. Bringing massive helium balloons in to a constricted wind trap like New York seems to invite disaster,


Good this isn’t a critical resource we are probably running out of, then… Or is it? I lost track.


Apparently they started reclaiming the helium from large balloons after the Macy’s Parade in 2007. So the 1997 balloons would have been vented to the atmosphere anyway.


I couldn’t be sure whether it was glee, horror, or just poor auto-volume control on the recording device.


And at some point in the future when theres a dire need for helium for cooling superconductors or whatever, people will look back at and curse our folly for wasting it all filling balloons.


Sic semper tyrannis purpura!


It was all a cover-up for what really happened!


Well, given the current speed of habitat and biodiversity loss, and the current speed of climate change, this is going to one #firstworldproblem for the happy few % to add to the list.

Also, I was serious: I lost track. Some articles claimed reports of a helium shortage were highly exaggerated and currently known reserves, at the current technological level of extraction, would last at least for another 120 years.

I’m confused, but then, who isn’t?



I like how Barney remained calm and kept waving to the crowd throughout.

It’s just helium returning to the Sun.


I think the problem lies more in the stability of supply and stability of price than in there not being enough to meet needs. The US government’s strategic reserve acted as a market stabilizer, but the government is closing it down.

Also, IIRC, the way the reserve was sold off in the 90’s and early 00’s at below the actual price of extraction distorted the market, encouraging wasteful uses, discouraging recycling, and discouraging natural gas producers from taking the trouble to extract and sell it, which didn’t help.


Those Teamsters, man -

Don’t cross them, or they’ll gut you. They don’t care if it’s live TV, they’ll still leave you dead in the street.

Just an FYI


That’s always my first thought too, but I recently learned there are already helium-free cooling systems for those. I think they’re just more expensive today and possibly have less cooling power and so can’t support magnetic fields quite as high.


I had hoped the pitch of the roar would go up a bit higher for the first few seconds after the rupture :smiley:


Bah! During Detroit’s 1990 Thanksgiving Day Parade the Chilly Willy balloon escaped and almost made it to Canada.


…And the crowd gasped, but this time in a high pitched voice.