In the following newsreel footage, covering much of the Sarg years, many of his looming creations can be seen, along with the animated throngs of onlookers and parade participants who are captured on film as they reveled in the day and the wondrous sights before them. Those strange and fascinating floating figures include a few Disney characters (in their early forms), a "Red Indian" described by the British narrator in an unconscious if casually condescending manner, and hardworking paraders trying to fulfill the sometimes Herculean task of keeping their part of the parade in step.
Near the end of this second newsreel, President Franklin Roosevelt joshes a bit as he hosts a holiday feast. The last video of the three from 1941 seems charged with a certain poignancy, coming as it did literally days before America was plunged into war on Dec. 7, 1941. It also marked the last year that Tony Sarg's playfulness translated into an exhilarating spectacle, since he would die the following year at 62.
The last clip is also silent but is nonetheless interesting because it appears to be a home movie and gives a "street level view" of the event. The sometimes jerky camera movement and the unaware expressiveness of the people on the screen only made the moment more affecting for me. Seeing a young policeman trying to maintain order and yet still glimpse the parade, a gaggle of excited children unable to stand still as they watch the parade, and formally dressed men and women straining to catch all the sights, I couldn't help feeling that the transitory nature of this very human occasion almost dwarfs the giant figures passing by. What were the lives of these people like? What happened to each of them? Do any of them still remember that day?
Unanswerable but compelling questions, I suppose. In any case, enjoy, and thank you for stopping by:
More on Tony Sarg can be seen here in this earlier post detailing his life and work.