History of the convention balloon drop

The Republican National Convention came to a close this week with a cascade of balloons -- 125,000 of them -- raining down around the hall at Quicken Loans Arena. It's a tradition that dates back several decades, reports CBS News correspondent Vinita Nair.

Balloons fell at the 1932 Republican meeting, when Dwight Eisenhower received his second nomination in 1956 and at convention after convention since.

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Treb Hining has orchestrated every balloon drop for the Republicans since 1988. He spoke with CBS News in 1996.

"Fireworks are great, confetti is wonderful and everything, but balloons - there's something about them that just raises that goose bump and gives you that spirit of mom and apple pie and America," Hining said.

While the drop may seem easy, a lot can go wrong. President Carter's second convention was marred by what one CBS News reporter later dubbed "the horror of 1980" -- a balloon drop malfunction that quickly became the talk of the convention.

"The biggest story in the hall at the moment, the one getting the most attention, is the fact that they cannot get the balloons down from the ceiling," said Dan Rather.

And when they did fall, they poured on some unlucky delegates. A similar snafu occurred at the 2004 convention, when balloons merely trickled out after John Kerry's acceptance speech.

So while the candidates may change with each passing election, when it comes to conventions, it seems balloons are forever.

But perhaps because of their complicated history with balloons, Democrats aren't quite as consistent with it. They didn't follow the tradition in 1984, 1988 or during President Obama's two nominations -- the convention was outside in 2008 and moved inside at the last minute in 2012.

But delegates can expect them at this year's Democratic convention.