Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cartoon Costumes

I'm obsessed! Something about my favorite characters transformed into a 3-Dimentional figure, always has had me obsessed. I think it started when i was a kid and watching the Brady Bunch when they visited King's Island, Greg borrows a costume to try and woo a girl...turns out he was wearing a Hair Bear Costume. HAIR BEAR?? a costume of HAIR BEAR? one of my all time favorite cartoon charactes? well this led me to seek out other Hanna-Barbera costume possibilities. i remember a few specials on TV that showed Yogi, Huck, Wally Gator, Hong Kong Phooey, Quick Draw McGraw, Jabberjaw and the Flintstones as life size costumes, but alas, i have never seen those shows again. i have some visual representation of them, sure, but what i wouldn't do to see those shows again in crystal clear DVD resolution...boy oh boy. every once in a while a grainy, poor quality clip shows up on the internet to wet my appetite; for instance the other day a clip of Scooby Doo's birthday celebration from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade showed up with many of the aforementioned characters on a float. you could barely make out who was there, but it broaght me back to that day when i was 10 and seeing it live oh so many years ago.

For years i lived with the knowledge that many of my favorite characters had costumes made of them, and that they were mostly centered around King's Island and its sister parks around the country. recently, however i have uncovered, thanks to fellow blogger Steven Thompson and his blog, that there were in fact costumes made up of 3 of my most favorite and obscure H-B characters in their library; Funky Phantom, Mildew Wolf and Lambsey. The latter 2 characters were a part of the Catanooga Cats show and Mildew, voiced to perfection by the inimitable Paul Lynde, was one of the 2 announcers on the Laff-A-Lympics show. Here's how they became a signature at King's Island. King's Island was just getting off the ground in Ohio and realized they wanted and needed a draw for children, just like Walt Disney used his characters to enhance his park. The shows that were running in the early 70's, when this park was fully realized, were as follows; Hair Bear Bunch, Funky Phantom, Scooby Doo, Gulliver's Travels, It's the Wolf, the Banana Splits and of course the always popular stars Yogi, Fred and Barney and Huck Hound were a mainstay. Using the popular characters of the time was simply the obvious choice for KI and therefore used those characters in their quest for costumed characters. The only pic i have ever seen and am befuddled i am just finding out about this, is the one on Steven Thompson's blog showing the characters who were around during that first year. Above you can see that Mildew is there in a very close up picture of his face - it took me a long time to figure out who it was, and then it donned on me that not only was it next to Lambsey, but that smirk and those eyes were unmistakenly Mildews. Next to him is a great shot of Lambsey. I wish i knew how to find more pics of those two costumes, as well as more on the Funky Phantom. i have one very blurry one, but it is so faded, it isn't appropriate for me to show. so here they are; some pics of costumed characters from King's Island.
I have also recently uncovered pics of costumes for Captain Caveman, and Dynomutt, not to mention the Hillbilly Bears which are more obscure characters for costumes...weird choices but King's needed some to go along with their Enchanted Voyage ride which was the H-B version of "It's A Small World" complete with moving animatronic characters such as Squiddly Diddly, Banana Splits, the Hillbilly Bears and Precious Pupp. If only i had a time machine to go back in time and see this place in its glory days.

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