While trawling through the interwebs looking for videos of yesteryear, I stumbled across this one from 1993 that said it featured comedian Elayne Boosler singing a song from Once Upon a Mattress. My first thought was, Ooh boy, do I have the nerve to click ‘play’? When I think “Elayne Boosler,” I think “1980s standup comedy boom” and “blazers with enormous shoulder pads and rolled up sleeves.” I do not think “Broadway magic.”
As evidenced by this clip, however, it turns out that Ms. Boosler has a lovely voice. Shame on me for doubting her. Nonetheless, it begs the question: Why was comedian Elayne Boosler asked to sing a song from a Broadway musical, a musical that she did not appear in, and was not even being mounted on Broadway at the time? Did she casually mention her singing chops to someone at NBC, or was it a cold call? “Looks like I picked the ‘Elayne Boosler’ card out of this hat. Guess I have to give her a ring and see if she knows any showtunes.”
It is one of the most baffling things about this parade, as I’ve said before. It’s not good enough to invite celebrities; they must be gussied up in costumes and belting out a song. Keep in mind, this clip comes from the same year that Laugh In alums JoAnne Worley and Ruth Buzzi had to do much the same thing. In Little Bo Peep costumes no less, the poor bastards.
Maybe the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is just an elaborate, expensive session of celebrity karaoke. But instead of a dark bar serving overpriced Sapporo, they get to do it on national TV while donning frilly dresses.
Elayne Boosler’s song stylings were not a disaster, but the 1993 parade had plenty of other ones. That year, winds whipped at 20 mph and wreaked havoc with handlers’ abilities to control the balloons. In this clip, you’ll see a dinosaur balloon violently bite the dust when he collides with a lamppost and splits down the seam. You will also see the vinyl corpse of Sonic the Hedgehog slumped on the pavement, covered with a large sheet to maintain a modicum of dignity. Oh, the inflated humanity!