So I get a call from my wife and she tells me that the only man that I would ever consider to be a hero has died. I didn’t know him personally and he wouldn’t have had a clue about who I was or even who my parents were. But I knew him, as did almost everybody else who grew up watching the CBC. The man how talked to puppets and the freaky owl on the wall. Some one
that wasn’t afraid to play make believe and dress in drag. The man that could create an elaborate castle out of a bunch of simple materials such as construction paper and a bit of glue. Ernie Coombs, or as many know him Mr. Dressup, died today! You will be remembered forever in our hearts and in our minds. When we think about what kind of people we are today you can be sure You! Mr. Dressup! had a part. Mr. Coombs, you helped raise many generations of children including mine and I will forever be in awe of the Man with a thousand costumes and a picture for everything. Thanks for everything we will miss you.
I Will Miss You!
My Wife also had a few words to say.
Ernie Coombs came to Canada in 1963 to work with his friend Fred Rogers at CBC. When Mr. Rogers moved back to the United States, CBC had a children’s slot that needed filling. On the advice of Mr. Rogers, Ernie Coombs took over the slot and Mr. Dressup was born in 1967. With his constant companions Casey and Finnegan, Mr. Dressup brought smiles and laughter to children for almost 30 years, until his retirement in 1996. When Judith Lawrence, Casey and Finnegan’s puppeteer, retired in 1989, the puppets retired with her but Mr. Dressup carried on with his new friends, who I never got to know. His last show taped on Valentines Day, 1996, with little fanfare. Reruns continue today, as children still watch, as they did 30 years ago, to the man with the tickle trunk and the own on the wall. When Casey and Finnegan retired, I was saddened by the departure of 2 puppets I had grown up with and grown to love. Today I cry as I say goodbye to Mr. Dressup, who passed away this morning, after a lifetime of making children like me smile.
Thank you for everything, Mr. Dressup, and I miss you.