Stars & Celebrities

 


During the last two years, these Hanna Barbera characters greeted visitors.

 stars Part II
Looks like gold digger Tumbleweed is hard at work inside the Lost Dutchman Mine. Good thing he has that hat or we wouldn't know his name.    
Believe it or not, a fluorescent green gorilla with a cowboy had was one of the big promotional tools on local television commercials. Meet Kactus Kong. As the souvenir brochure says, "you never know what this gorilla is up to and he is always trying to con someone into taking his picture."  
Allenís Recollection:
I prompted Jody (Lile) Pearson to see if she could remember the story behind her being the first Theodore Bear in the suit, when we introduced the character.  As I recall the Theodore Bear Story, we got the suit and needed someone inside of it for filming and experimenting during the week.  It was before Laurie Hollings decided that the suit needed a cowboy hat.  I could not remember why Jody got chosen.  I also could not remember if Jody played Theo in the park the first weekend we had it.  I recall Jody did it for several days of filming and all of us were getting used to it and deciding how we'd use it.  I had to be careful where I hugged the bear, I remember that.   I also thought Jody went out on the first personal appearance outside the park as Theo, to a company that the Sales Department was trying to woo for a company picnic.   I am almost sure that our Line Employees never wore the suit until Laurie Hollings put the cowboy hat on it.  I think all the shots of the bear without that hat are mainly Jody.   Of course, many of us, at one time or another, had to do our time in a body puppet suit, when our hourly Employees were not available, especially on weekday promos.  I think we even got Chuck into a costume once or twice, for weekday personal appearances.  I recall two personal appearances I made as body puppets during the week, when the park was closed.  One as Theo (after Jody had broken in the suit for all of us) and one as Scooby.   One was in a parade downtown as Theo and the other was a personal appearance to a large company as a promo for an upcoming picnic - we used Scooby to promote the event.  I remember we never wanted to let the public see the costume with the head off, and especially at a off-site company personal appearance, my Walker (I think it was Chuck) could not locate room without people in it so I could remove the head.  As some of you may  recall, Scooby's head was held on with a clip attached to the back of the neck, so the wearer could not remove the head without help.  Both were long hot days.  Forget the treadmill, put us in those suits now and we'd all lose weight.

Jodyís Lile Pearson account:
I remember when the suit arrived, I couldn't wait to try it on. When I put it on, it put me on, and I was off, dancing and acting like a bear who had had one too many glasses of wine with honey.  I did go out into the park and I accosted children and adults alike with my beary crazy behavior.  It was so much fun and I loved doing it, even though it was like 200 degrees in that suit.  A costume like that really gives you the freedom to go out of yourself and have fun with people because you feel there are no judgments about "you" and you can be an exhibitionist with no consequences!  I do think I wore it to a sales call, but don't remember the details.  I do remember, though, that after I took over as Group Sales Director I more than doubled Don Andersen's numbers, plus did all the accounting for my department much to Scottie's delight. 

I remember I was sitting at second desk when the suit was delivered on a hangar, maybe by our publicity guy - can't think of his name (Frank Darien) but I can think of a story about him....naughty though.  Anyway, I was alone in the office and I took one look at that suit and knew I had to put it on.  So I think I put it on and went out into the park and no one knew it was me.  It was pure fun.  Yes, you can share with the rest of the gang.  I enjoyed the note from Pat, I'm glad he remembers me.

Sidenotes From Allen:
We have been trying to pin down the rough time frame of when Theodore  The Bear came into our FV family.  Jody suspects it was the late Summer of 1972, as that was around the time she was working the second desk in the main office, and one of the photos of me and Jody has a July 72 print date on the bottom of the pix.  Shortly after that, when Keith left, she moved out of the second desk. If someone has a more accurate date, please share.   Randy Mitchell believes Theo arrived before 1972.   When Curt and Randy were leaving as gunfighters, Randy thinks the bear showed up.  His recollection was that Curt said, "They'll never replace us with a stupid bear."  Marc Druge was the first Line Employee to wear the suit, and set the trend for Bear costume etiquette for the rest of the Entertainers to follow. When we got the Hanna-Barbera costumes, in the late Ď70ís, most of our Entertainment Department Employees did not know the history behind or movements of the 6 HB characters, so we used to buy comic books about the Hanna-Barbera characters and have the Employees read the comics to help them learn the movements the body puppets should make.....  We all know that Marc Druge was the first hourly Employee to bring Theo to life (after Jody did her Theodore test run), and Marc set the standard for how our lovable bear would do what he did....  Many other Employees wore the Bear suit over time and gave Theo additional character.  On behalf of the FV Team, we salute you and thank you. 

 



 Frontier Village had Princess Tenaya, a "full-blooded Yosemite Indian" at the park's Indian Island. Here she is with one of the celebrities that would visit the park on occasion. That's Tonto, the sidekick character on the Lone Ranger television show. Before your time perhaps?    
The show "Bonanza" was THE western TV show for many years. So when Lorne Greene visited Frontier Village, the star of Bonanza, it was a big event. An autograph he signed at the park was a popular item at the auction of Frontier Village items after the park closed.    
A San Francisco Bay Area resident, singer/entertainer Bing Crosby brought his children to the park for old west fun. This picture was taken at a birthday party.  
In 1968, Vice President Hubert Humphrey made a campaign stop at Frontier Village. He lost his bid for the the big job to man named Richard.