The pageantry! The floats! The lip syncing! The dancing turkeys! How can I not love this parade? There is literally nothing to hate. And it bridges the gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Once you see Santa coming down that street, it's all over. You're ten years old again and you believe in everything great this world has to offer. It's a beautiful 2 hour time period where absolutely nothing can bother you or go wrong.
Welll...There's always an exception to the rule. Just like there's always a Joker in the deck...
1989 was the year. A pretty solid year for the Parade but a pretty huge year for Batman. Now, obviously, Batman was the biggest movie of the year and anything that had black and gold was automatically a license to print money. Of course, anything that had the Joker involved as well became white hot. So obviously, the natural inclination is to include either Batman or the Joker into the Parade somehow right? Maybe have The Joker run around and steal things from kids in the audience, maybe even recreate the float scene from the movie and have Batman fly in and beat him up? Not bad ideas, really. I mean those could work big time. Especially since the VHS was being released a week or two before. It would be great hype for that and a great time for the Parade.
Therein lies the problem.
They gave us The Joker, but they didn't really give us The Joker we knew and loved. He at least threw money out to the crowd and kinda resembles the scene from the movie. But why is there an elephant on the float? I mean, ok, to his credit he looks like The Joker, but instead of playing pranks, shooting people and calling out the Caped Crusader to the ol' duke-a-roo, someone decided to put him on a float with a bunch of kids singing about clowns. I always have to keep in mind that this event is for families and no way would they ever consider a poison gas expelling float while The Joker laughs at people dying. The Joker would never wear yellow gloves either.
Part of the appeal of this act wasn't just the man in purple, but who was PLAYING him. The announcers of the show kinda hinted at that the man behind the makeup was someone famous, but it was our task to guess WHO.
|There he is...|
So let's see our options. It's a Joker. It's 1989. Hmmm...
Robin Williams? Expecting him to even consider it after being lied to by WB would be silly.
Hulk Hogan? No way, brother.
So who could it be? I'm stumped!
The big reveal finally comes. The answer is...
Yup, Presidential impressionist and comedian extraordinaire, Fred Travalena became The Joker. It kinda makes sense they'd get a comedian if you think about and it's probably best they chose Fred instead of say, Andrew Dice Clay or Sam Kinnison. Mr. Travalena is a funny guy and all, but stepping into that purple suit after Nicholson was an unenviable task. Now, I'll admit, Fred tried his hardest to make this his own and really seemed to have fun but I could forgive him a lot more if his choice of song wasn't so corny. I'm making a bigger deal about this terrible than I should but I still find it insanely irritating. It's a song about clowns and playing cards. Listen to it without punching your screen and I'll buy you a Pepsi.
As a fan of The Joker, I was pretty let down by this but as a fan of the Parade, I give it some slack and let it slide. It is what it is, it's silly, it's fun, and everyone involved is having a ball. And in the end, isn't that what the spirit of the Parade is all about? Corniness and fun?