World-famous crooner and jazz and Broadway legend Tony Bennett died in New York City on Friday morning, and as with the passing of any great legend, stories have since emerged about Bennett’s decorated career as a musician, philanthropist, and Grammy Award winner, but none that piqued our interest quite like one that chronicles the events of Thanksgiving Day 2016, when a Disney character single-handedly saved Bennett’s life in New York City.
November 24, 2016 was a chilly day in New York City, with high temperatures that morning in the low 40s. There was barely a breeze that day as wind speeds never quite reached four miles per hour. Everyone in the city was gearing up for another rendition of a 90-year-old tradition–the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
And a 90-year-old legend was gearing up to take the stage atop a float sponsored by Hallmark Channel. The float, titled Heartwarming Holiday Countdown, aimed at warming the hearts of those who’d lined the streets that morning for the chance to see their favorite celebrities, marvel at the giant balloons that seemed to float atop the buildings, and get into the holiday spirit, even before having Thanksgiving dinner.
The Heartwarming Holiday Countdown float measured 36 feet by 30 feet and featured decor and elements designed to evoke excitement over the anticipation of the Christmas season. Per the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Wiki, the float featured a multi-tiered, life-sized advent calendar and featured a “cascading tower of toy and package-filled compartments and pull-out drawers emblazoned with red and green numbers from 1-25, signifying the countdown to the big day.” In addition, “both sides of the float included festive living room tableaus complete with stocking-hung fireplaces and Christmas trees, and at the top of the float, a large ‘December 25’ sign served as a backdrop for the stage, where one of the nation’s most popular recording artists wow audiences.”
The artist was, of course, the legendary Tony Bennett, who, along with The Muppets’ Miss Piggy, sang “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Like all of the original holiday films from Hallmark Channel Productions, the float was the very picture of the Christmas season, and with Bennett aboard the float, there simply was no more festive float in the parade that year–the 90th anniversary of the jolly Thanksgiving Day event.
As the float moved along the parade route, the Bennett and Miss Piggy kept singing, and just as they finished the song, the float seemed to make a sudden stop, causing the famed crooner to lose his balance briefly. The singer nearly fell, but Miss Piggy is credited with saving the day as she extended a helping hand to keep him from falling, as is evident in the video tweet by Lindsay Whiteman below.
TONY BENNETT ALMOST FELL OFF THE FLOAT BUT MISS PIGGY CAUGHT HIM pic.twitter.com/CVItoV99Rs
— Lindsay Whiteman (@LindzWhiteman) November 24, 2016
The scary moment was witnessed by millions of viewers around the country, as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an event that is broadcast live on national television, but news outlets that reported on the incident described the beloved Muppet character as a hero that day, saying that it’s a good thing Miss Piggy was beside Tony Bennett on the Hallmark Channel float that day.
It was the ultimate story of an everyday person (or Muppet) becoming a hero, simply by being at the right place at the right time–a story that had Tony Bennett fans standing up and cheering in November 2016–and again today, as they bid farewell to the legendary crooner.