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September 5, 2015

Macy's magical commercial: 150 years in the making

by Allison Waldman, posted Sep 27th 2009 5:20PM
macys_worlds_largest_storeRecently, when I shared my view about a certain Dell computer commercial, some of you thought I was a moron. Okay, we'll call it a difference of opinion. However, just to show you that I'm not a grumpster, allow me to extol the virtues of the Macy's commercial that celebrates this iconic American department story that's been around for over 150 years.

What makes The Magic of Macy's so much fun is that it doesn't tell you why the place is legendary, it shows you why. All those film clips from movies and television, years before anyone was using mentions like these for commercial purposes, underscore how much a part of pop culture Macy's was.

(It still is, to some extent, but the days of one brick and mortar store dominating the business landscape are long gone.)

Take a look at this terrific ad and see if you can catch all the media references.

Here's the stars, movies and shows I recognize:
• Charlie Chaplin
• Bob Hope (as Santa Claus)
• Popeye's balloon in The Thanksgiving Day Parade
• Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwynn in Miracle on 34th Street
• Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz and Vivian Vance in I Love Lucy
• Orson Welles on I Love Lucy
• Alice Faye and Cesar Romero in Weekend In Havana
• Shirley MacLaine in Sweet Charity
• Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon on The Tonight Show
• Estelle Getty and Andrew McCarthy in Mannequin
• Donald Trump's voice
• Snoopy
• Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Seinfeld
• Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum in Project Runway
Ne-Yo Kanye West
King Kong (Jessica Lang version)
• Stewie Griffith/Family Guy's balloon in The Thanksgiving Day Parade
• Macy's July 4th fireworks in New York City

If I missed one, let me know!

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Does anybody know which tonight show episode johnny carson made fun of ed mcmahon going to macys

November 09 2009 at 8:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

who is the little girl next to donald trump?

October 16 2009 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

can you tell me the name of the blond with the blue eyes that is in your commercial with CESAR ROMERO?

October 08 2009 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RL DAVIS's comment
Allison Solow

That's Alice Faye. She was a big movie star in the 30's and 40's -- did a lot of great musicals. She had a pretty voice.

October 08 2009 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love this commercial too. The real amazing thing to me is that they were able to get [copyright] permission from all these sources. I'm sure there are some who said no but it's quite impressive how many said yes.

I also really enjoy the Macy's commercial where all the celebrities are sitting down for dinner and poking fun at each other and themselves. The little girl at the end trying to sneak a tug at Trumps' "hair" is a hoot.

September 28 2009 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great Ad. I worked for Macys during College and it was one of the best jobs I ever had. They were very good to their employees then and because it they got great people to work with them. I hope that is still true. I still shop there and love the ad and love that they still do the Thanksgiving parade every year. Long Live Macys !

September 28 2009 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

love the ad, it actually makes me feel some goodwill towards the store again (what can i say, i'm still bitter that marshall field's is no longer!). i particularly love the bob hope and the miracle on 34th st. clips.

September 28 2009 at 1:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A few years ago in 2006, I was so excited to see the letters of Macy's go up at Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville,NC after it replaced Hecht's. At first they had Hecht's items left over, but a year later, they had the upscale items so common at Macy's. At last, class comes to our town. We had to compete with Raleigh and Durham with their Dillard's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom (and we had to deal with discount fare), but now we have Macy's! They have a lot of nice items. I think this 150th anniversary commercial is respective of its success as a department store icon. Personally I love department stores and while discount stores are the norm these days, the best clothes, items and quality are first and foremost at Macy's and others of its kind!

September 27 2009 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love this commercial!

September 27 2009 at 6:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Jessica Lange version of King Kong? I'm pretty sure that's the Peter Jackson version.

September 27 2009 at 6:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The guy that you list as Ne-Yo is actually Kanye West. The clip in the commercial is from his music video for Heard Em Say directed by Michel Gondry.


September 27 2009 at 6:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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