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While working for Ringling Bros. in 1953, Macy’s department stores contracted Bill Tracy to design and build window displays and floats for use in their famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. In 1955, Macy’s signed a unique five-year contract with Bill Tracy that would pay him $10,000 a year for his services and would allow him to contract work outside of what was required by Macy’s. The net profit from this outside work was split equally between Bill Tracy and Macy’s at the end of the year. Some of this outside work included building props for Holiday on Ice, a traveling ice capades type production. He also created a whale, castle, gingerbread house, and Noah’s Ark for the Playland children’s park, located in Rye, New York. Due to liability issues associated with Bill Tracy’s non-Macy’s related projects, his contract with Macy’s was rewritten so they would not be held liable for any issues associated with his outside projects. The revised contract paid Bill $7,500 a year for his services, which was limited to only the floats and displays he created for Macy’s.

Noah’s Ark float for Macy’s in Tracy’s NJ workshop in 1956.

Bill Tracy’s creative designs, along with the sculpting skills of Bob Noedel, produced some of the most brilliant parade floats the industry had ever seen. The floats were so impressive that Macy’s was often able to sell them for significant profits after they were used in their parade. In 1955, Bill created a very interesting parade set using ultraviolet projectors for Bamberger’s Thanksgiving Eve Parade. The city turned off street lights to create special effects associated with alternating incandescent and ultraviolet lights. The beginning of Bill Tracy’s dark ride business dates back to Bamberger’s Parade and the new contract with Macy’s. From this point forward, Bill was in business as Tracy Parade and Display Company.

Food out of this World float for Macy’s was designed by Tracy and built by Noedel.

Part IV - Transition >
< Part II - Ringling Bros.

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