Found: Mr. Bingle

September 29, 2009 10:52 am12 commentsViews: 211

Most of the scavenger hunt requests I get are fairly straightforward – photo of this, receipt from there, food from that restaurant. But occasionally, I get one that’s a total head scratcher. One of the first requests I got was to find a “Mr. Bingle”. Despite growing up in Memphis, I had no idea what Mr. Bingle could be. But I found one.

Meet Mr. Bingle, Santa’s snowman helper.

Mr. Bingle is a holiday mascot created by the Maison Blanche department store in New Orleans. He was also featured at the old Lowenstein’s department store here in Memphis.

Mr. Bingle appeared in window displays, advertisements and puppet shows at the stores. He also had a theme song and was sold as a stuffed animal and figurine. Take a good look at him. He’s got almost none of the traditional snowman parts – there’s no carrot nose, and the coal eyes have been replaced by slightly creepy and vacant blue orbs. He’s wearing what appears to be an upside down ice cream cone. He also has two holly leaves coming out of his back like wings.

Mr. Bingle wouldn’t have been found without the help of the lovely Jen Simmons. As a native of New Orleans, she grew up around Mr. Bingle. She had amassed a collection, part of which was lost in Hurricane Katrina. This is by far her largest Mr. Bingle – he’s about 2 ft. tall  and he jingles.  Thank you, Jen, for letting him come hang out with me for a few days.

For more info on Santa’s snowman helper, check out his official site.

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12 Comments

  • Mr. Bingle is a big time memory in my family, and we have one that is brought out each year! Great find and I like the Lowenstein’s picture.

  • The SpinStreet Record store (with the big Elvis in the corner window) was also a Lowenstein’s. My mom used to take me to lunch in the basement after shopping there for school clothes. The little restaurant downstairs was all pink and white, I wish I had a photo of it. Anyone else remember going there?

  • i actually just bought some sweaters at an estate sale that still had the original Lowenstien’s price tag on them. small world, man.

  • Mr. Bingle should be given to each child at St. Jude’s for Christmas….he is adorable.

  • As a youngerster in Memphis in the 1950’s, Mr. Bingle was as much a part of Christmas as was Santa. A couple of weeks prior the Christmas Day, one of the local stations would start a Mr. Bingle serial which would air just a few minutes before the evening news. Each segement would last only about 5 minutes, and it would revolve around some crisis that Santa encountered (his sleigh would be missing, for example) and Mr. Bingle would assist Santa in resolving the situation. Finally on Christmas Eve, Mr. Bingle would sove the mystery and Santa would deliver his toys. Mr. Bingle was used for several years by Lowensteins. Each Christmas at the Poplar Plaza Store, the large show window that faces the Highland intersection (that now features Elvis) would have a Christmas scene featuring Mr. Bingle. What wonderful memories.

  • Dianne Seavers

    I also grew up in Memphis in the 50’s. I also remember the 5 min. tv shows and looked foward to them each day. Does anyone remember the jingle from the show and was Trent wood the host? It was something llike this: Mr. Bingle makes me tingle with his joy and cheer. When he comes to town, Christmas Time is near. Several years ago I found an old , stuffed Mr. Bingle. Mine looks more like the original and I think yours must be a newer version. I loved going to Lowensteins downtown with my grandmother. Does anyone remember the large sale at all the stores every year? I think it was called Dollar Days. Thanks for taking me back to those sweet, long ago days.

  • Sharon Collins

    I too enjoyed Mr. Bingle every day for years on end. I wonder if any of the Miss Hollys are still alive . Does anyone still remember the lyrics to his song ? I remember some of them, but not all of them.

  • Christie Marshall Grothe

    Mr. Bingle makes me tingle when he comes to town. His heart’s as big as he is and he’s always kind and gay. He is a little snowman with an icecream cone on top. He wears a bright red bow and he can fly and fly and pop.

  • I just had lunch with “Miss Holly”! She still lives in Memphis. The words to the jingle.

    “Mr. Bingle makes us tingle with his joy and cheer
    When he comes to town, Christmas time is near
    Mr. Bingle makes us tingle when he comes our way
    His heart’s as big as he is, and he’s always bright and gay
    Oh, Bingle, Bingle, Bingle, Bingle
    Bingle, Bingle, Bingle, Bingle
    Bingle, Bingle, Bingle, Bingle
    We love Mr. Bingle”

  • Anne, do you happen to have a recording of this little jingle?  I sooooo remember that show and would love to hear the song again.  Think Miss Holly could help?
    wanda

  • I grew up and still live an hour from Memphis, and have great memories of shoppin at Lowensteins and of meeting Mr. Bingle and watching the show on t.v.  Such wonderful memories.  I have a few Mr. Bingle items.  It was so much fun to read this post and the comments.  Thanks for sharing Mr. Bingle.  laurie

  • Sharon Collins

    You forgot some of that song . 
    " He is a little snowman with an ice cream cone on top
    He wears a bright  red bow and he fly and sing and hop ( I think )
     

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