Written by John Squires
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been an annual tradition since 1924, ushering in the start of Turkey Day for the New Yorkers in attendance and the millions more watching at home. From fun floats to corny musical acts, the parade is one of those things you just have to watch every year.
But trust me when I say, it used to be MUCH cooler.
It was in September of 1964 that The Munsters first premiered on CBS, almost exactly two months prior to that year’s Thanksgiving. As a way of promoting the series, the network sent stars Fred “Herman” Gwynne and Al “Grandpa” Lewis to the Macy’s Parade, the two actors representing the show in style.
Riding in the iconic Munsters Koach – designed by the late George Barris – Gwynne and Lewis were decked out in their full Munsters costumes, and they had the distinct honor of being Santa’s personal escorts that year – every year since the parade’s inception, Santa’s arrival has marked the end of the festivities.
As an amusing little side note, the two actors were reportedly quite unhappy about spending Thanksgiving in the parade, and Gwynne was particularly agitated – as well as incredibly drunk. According to reports from that day, he was cursing at the crowd, and hurled insults at the hosts as they passed by.
“I was in the Koach handling the loudspeaker and radio system that was playing the Munsters song,” the show’s makeup artist recalls. “Fred brought along a bottle with him, wrapped in a paper bag, and he got [drunk]. Al was mad at him. Fred was cussin’ at people. I just kept the music up so nobody could hear him.”
Keep that in mind as you watch this awesome vintage video below!