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OT: Macy's Parade
Obviously, those of you who don't wanna read about anything non-Groo should
go ahead and delete this?
WARNING! I DON'T EXACTLY MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT?
Those of you who know me understand the sad fact that I am incapable of doing
ANYTHING without it resulting in some sort of stupid anecdote, so why should
being a clown in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade be any different? The
reason for this is twofold:
1) I am what the old BLUE DEVIL comic book used to refer to as a WEIRDNESS
MAGNET. To paraphrase Murphy's Law, "If anything can go weird, it will."
2) I probably think these things are a lot more interesting than they really
are, plus I talk too much.
I entered Macy's Herald Square around 5:00 am Thanksgiving morning, amid the
blare of marching bands traipsing up and down 34th street while rehearsing.
Hey, 5:00 am is early enough for me, that's why I am a Clown Captain and not
a Band Captain. They've gotta be out there as early as 1:00 am for rehearsal!
I found the rack of costumes labeled Doggone Patrol and found my name on the
Dogcatcher costume, so far so good - NOT! The white overalls with DOG POUND
peeling off the back didn't have a vat of cheesedip's chance in Groo's
presence of fitting me, it was way too small! The rest of the costumes in my
rack were all various breeds of dog: a Boxer with boxing gloves, a German
Shepherd wearing a police uniform, a Poodle in a pink skirt, and so on
(sorry, no Rufferto). What was I gonna wear?
My friend Diane decided not to do the Parade when she found out she wasn't
assigned to my group, and the costumes are all unisex, so I knew her rather
generic Holiday Clown costume was available, except, well, she's about a foot
shorter than me. I checked the rack just out of curiosity and, whattayou
know, not only does it fit me, it's even a little bit long on me!
Now, I don't exactly look like a dogcatcher, but at least I don't look like a
dog. With my dogcatcher's net and the cool dogcatcher's van that I get to
drive, the crowd will get it. Now, where is that net??
"Whattayou mean you couldn't find the dogcatcher's net?"
The Clown Captains are supposed to get there early to help their clowns into
their costumes, so by the time I got back from makeup clowns were starting to
arrive - for other groups! Since Dan Bron's group the Uptown Doggie Walkers
(clowns with invisible-dog-on-a-leash props) were marching with my group, his
rack was next to mine, so I helped TGD and some other clowns with their gear
(their own Captain was off somewhere socializing).
Finally around 6:45 am my clowns showed up. All six women were traveling in a
group (or should I say pack?), so it was a real fire drill getting them all
into their bulky costumes in time. The woman with the poodle costume was
quite chesty, and we had a hell of a time, ummm, stuffing her into the
costume. Since she was wearing a black t-shirt under the white poodle
costume, the fact that she was busting out (pun intended) was rather
difficult to conceal, but with a little perseverance and a whole lotta safety
pins we finally got things settled.
Also, someone sewed up the hole in the rear of the Boxer's boxing trunks
where her tail was supposed to stick out, apparently thinking it was a tear
that needed mending- *sigh* - so I had to rip a new hole for the tail!
It was now starting to get late, and I still had six doggy-clowns to get to
"Hey, what time does the K-MART on 34th & 7th open? 7:00? Okay, you guys
don't need me in makeup, so I'll meet you on Clown Corner?"
Remember, I'm dressed as a clown in full clown makeup, so you can imagine I
was quite a spectacle strolling through K-MART. Forget that it was only about
7:30, this early on Parade Morning there were enough people out and about to
populate a small town. Those of you who have been to New York know I'm not
Anyway, one fishing net later (thank you Sporting Goods Dept!), I've got my
prop and am on my way uptown to 77th Street and Central Park West, AKA Clown
(I should make it clear that we only call it that on Parade Morning; if you
are visiting NYC and ask how to find Clown Corner, you'll be met with
I met up with Dan and the Uptown Doggie Walkers, hung out a bit? hmmm, now
where are those dogs? Here they come! One, two, three, four, five, five,
"We can't find Jackie (the Dalmatian)! One minute she was with us and the
next she's gone!"
So, off I trudged, checking out the various places she could be but growing
more and more certain that she missed the last uptown bus and got stranded at
Macy's. The Parade started, still no Dalmatian! I tell everyone not to worry,
that since we're in the last quarter of the Parade she still has time to find
us, but inwardly I'm worried as hell, imaging all kinds of freakish clown
Finally, with about 20 minutes to spare, hey! Here comes a Dalmatian! It
seems she forgot all about Clown Corner. All she remembered was that we were
in the lineup between the Pets.com float and Blues Clues, so she was hanging
around the Pets.com float wondering where the hell we were!
I'm glad she found us when she did, because she had the funniest line of the
day. Clown Corner is located right before the actual starting point of the
Parade, so the Parade has to pass us by before it gets under way. One of the
acts was the Bacon Brothers; Kevin Bacon and his brother have an acoustic
folk-rock act that is not too shabby. So when their float parked in front of
us waiting for the go-ahead, the Dalmatian started yelling "BACON! I SMELL
Soon it was our turn to step into the line of march. I had to shoo the
Captain of the Uptown Doggie Walkers out of the Dogcatcher's Van ("Hey, it
doesn't say DogWALKER's Van, does it?"), and drove out into the parade, drove
out, just drove?out?DAMN! Larry's luck with cars seems to extend to Clown
Cars, it seems! It slowly chugged along for a couple of blocks, backing
things up while the Doggone Patrol and Dogwalkers moved further ahead, then
died. I had to push it off to the side and run like a madman to catch up.
By then Steve and the Blues Clues Float had passed me, as had the Blue
Balloon and a marching band. Well, as long as I had to make this mad dash I
may as well make it entertaining! Once I passed the band, I kept pointing at
the giant Blue dog I was apparently chasing, waving my handy-dandy
dogcatcher's net and shouting "THAT DOG DOESN'T HAVE A LICENSE!!!"
*Huff, puff* Well, I caught up to the clowns, and had a great time! I would
chase one dog, then turn and flee in terror when the other dogs chased me
away. Dan and a few of the Dogwalkers got into the act by having their
invisible dogs gang up on me and chase me too! "Hey, I don't see no license
on that dog! In fact, I don't see no DOG on that dog!!!"
I got a good laugh out of Steve from Blues Clues at one point when I made a
handful of futile leaps into the air to try and catch Blue. The crowd all got
that I was the dogcatcher, too, thanks to that net. It just wouldn't have
been the same without it.
I got a nice surprise when it was time to go on-camera, and Katy Couric
announced "?and here's Larry Steller and his Doggone Patrol?" I understand
they really didn't announce all of the captains, just a couple of us. So once
I heard my name I started hamming it up extra hard, chasing the Dalmatian
?and dramatically slipped on the wet pavement, cracking a previously injured
elbow into the pavement (I think I pulled something during Clown College
rehearsals a week before), skidding into the curb and sending my bright red
clown wig flying! OUCH! I still haven't had a chance to review a tape of the
Parade, so I don't know if the mishap made it on camera or not, but we'll see!
Well, I really don't know if this story was interesting or has you all bored
to tears, but I had a lot of fun despite the comedy of errors. Bye!!!
-Larry S. AKA The Sheik Of Entropy