November 24, 1994. Thanksgiving Day, America.
The 68th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York would be televised to some 45 million viewers. Newspapers and TV newscasts would report about it nationwide. What an opportunity to promote Dudley the Dragon to the American public!
In his first Macy’s appearance, Dudley was just an actor (Alex Galatis?) in the costume, riding a float and waving to everyone.
There are two conflicting accounts. The Financial Post reported that Peter Williamson “watched Dudley trail behind Woodstock and Snoopy, and march in front of the Rockettes. The British-born Williamson deadpans it was ‘something of a thrill’ to hear Willard Scott of [NBC’s The Today Show] introduce Dudley as ‘Our friend from Canada.'” * Tony Atherton of the Kingston Whig-Standard also acknowledged Scott’s remarks.
On the other hand, New York Magazine reported “Dudley had meandered off to the curb to greet children just as his float pulled into Herald Square and into the TV viewing range of millions of potential Dudley consumers.” The Associated Press circulated this account two years later, in November 1996. How could Willard Scott talk about Dudley if he wasn’t on camera?
Fortunately, Dudley was given another opportunity. He would be in the next Macy’s parade.
Sources: Tony Atherton, Kingston Whig – Standard, Kingston, Ontario, December 20, 1994, “Ex-Civil Servant Likely Next Hit: New PBS Star Dudley is a Do-Right Canadian-Style Dino,” p. 26; Gayle MacDonald, Financial Post, Toronto, Ontario, December 22, 1994, “Watch Out Barney, There’s a New Reptile in Town,” Sec. 1, p. 5; Norman Vanamee, New York Magazine, vol. 28, no. 49, December 11, 1995, “Miracle on 34th Street II,” p. 22.
*The Post said Scott was from CBS, and from Good Morning America, which was an ABC program. They had credited him as an employee of two rival networks!