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 He’s got almost none of the traditional snowman parts – there’s no carrot nose, and the coal eyes have been replaced by slightly creepy and vacant blue orbs.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.