There’s no doubt that the little snowman known as Mr. Bingle is one of the most adored Christmas characters in Southeast Louisiana.
He first appeared in a puppet show in 1948 inside the Maison Blanche department store window on Canal Street.
Mr. Bingle became an overnight sensation. He also became very profitable for the company, with the Mr. Bingle dolls and an assortment of merchandise that can still be found in Dillard’s department stores, Mr. Bingle’s most recent owner.
As a photojournalist, I stumbled onto a story that revealed how it was more than one individual that was responsible for Mr. Bingle’s early success.
I met 91-year-old Harry Ory, one of the three puppeteers who built and performed what became the very first Mr. Bingle puppet show. Harry and I met for the first time in February of this year. What made my visit with him special was that I myself was one of the last puppeteers of the Mr Bingle shows from the 1980s.
There’s no doubt that creating the early Mr Bingle shows was not an easy task. Ory was one of those who contributed to Mr. Bingle’s start, but, unfortunately, was never truly recognized in newspaper articles or TV stories, as was Emile Aline, the snowman’s creator, and Oscar Isentrout, the voice and puppeteer of Mr Bingle.
In the story above find out how Harry played a part in making Mr. Bingle famous.