The Wild Thing is a fictional creature from Where the Wild Things Are, a 1963 children's picture book written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. In the book, Wild Things are malicious beasts who inhabit an island where a young boy named Max, after sailing there, intimidates them and is hailed as their king. The book has sold over 19 million copies worldwide and has been adapted into a live-action feature film.
The Wild Thing was one of three new balloons in the 1998 Macy's Parade, the other two being Babe the Pig and the titular boy-genius from Dexter's Laboratory). But he never made it onto the route after it was ripped apart by a tree right at the start of the parade due to a huge gust, giving the balloon a ten-foot gash.
Wild Thing returned in 2002 after major repairs and managed to withstand the route and return again in 2003. After that, he was retired.