This shot from the 1940 Macy’s parade marks the debut of the famous Superman balloon. His debut was given its own article in the November 22 edition of The New York Times, entitled “Superman Struts in Macy Parade — His 23-Foot Chest and 8-Foot Smirk Delight the Throngs Lining Sidewalks.”
This is yet another example of something from pop culture achieving an enormous amount of popularity in a very short time. Consider that Superman had only just debuted in in April 1938 in Action Comics #1.
So within just a few years, the Man of Steel had his own comic book, his own radio program (The Adventures of Superman, which debuted New York’s WOR on February 12, 1940), and finally his own prominent balloon in the world’s most famous parade.
And for those who wonder what the balloon looked like all those decades ago, we now have some outstanding homemade film taken from inside a building during the parade. Look for Supes to make his appearance at the 1:28 mark, after a floating Uncle Sam, hippo, and clown, as well as the usual marching bands. What an awesome sight he must’ve been that day.