To Canadians, love CBC. Happy holidays! (Crafting with Mr. Dressup)
December 8, 2019 11:46 AM   Subscribe

The CBC posted a clip of beloved Canadian children’s show host Mr. Dressup making holiday crafts, and Twitter went wild with nostalgia. If you’d like to spend some time with a kind man with a soothing, gentle voice and a way with construction paper, this clip is for you! Mr. Dressup, starring Ernie Coombs, ran for 29 years, from 1967 to 1996, for over 4000 episodes. It was voted Canada’s favourite English TV show in an informal but hotly debated 2017 online poll. (Delightfully, Coombs and Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers fame were friends and worked together on CBC children’s programming in Toronto, before either of them became famous.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl (26 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Glue, glue, glue, glue, glue, glue, glue.

Thanks for this trip back to my childhood <3
posted by just_ducky at 11:55 AM on December 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh my! As a kid with trauma happening at home Mr.Dressup was my favourite. I day dreamed so much about living with Casey and Finnegan in that tree house and Mr. Dressup made me feel safe.
posted by kanata at 12:04 PM on December 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

I mostly loved watching him draw as he told a story. It's funny to find that Coombs was from the US too. Mr. Dressup was baked into my psyche pretty early on, to the point that I thought there was something kind of foreign and "off brand" about Mr Rogers' Neighbourhood.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:18 PM on December 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

It's funny to find that Coombs was from the US too.
You know who else was from the US? The Friendly Giant!
posted by Zedcaster at 12:31 PM on December 8, 2019 [8 favorites]

Looking back now, I love how achievable and easy the shit he did on the show was. No fancy projects, no fancy things your parents had to buy for you. Just, like, construction paper and scissors and a stapler.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:44 PM on December 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh wow! I'd never seen Mr. Dressup before--though I have the vague memory that I might've heard his name mentioned by Canadians of my acquaintance. But I would love to see more; this is my jam.
posted by theatro at 1:18 PM on December 8, 2019

I always liked Mr. Dressup better than Mr. Rogers. That was super soothing. I love how when a little piece of paper doesn't quite come out, he says "come out of there, please..." then "thank you."

Embarssing friendly giant giant confession: I was adult before I figured out that the little furniture that the giant arranges at the beginning was dollhouse furniture. I mean I knew it wasn't a real giant, but I thought they used special effects to make the actors hand gigantic.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:18 PM on December 8, 2019 [8 favorites]

But did you have a chair you thought of as yours? The one you would sit in if you had the chance.

(Dibs on the bigger chair to curl up in!)
posted by jacquilynne at 1:33 PM on December 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

The rocking chair!

You know who else was from the US? The Friendly Giant!

And with all the basic elements in place: panning by the miniature set, the boot, look up, the welcome, the castle, Early One Morning, the drawbridge, the chair, look up, and then Rusty and Jerome and the recorder.

I would have voted for The Friendly Giant.

(I just read that the puppeteer behind Casey and Finnegan retired and took the puppets with her, so Mr Dressup had to finish his run without them. Also, Casey was intentionally gender-neutral.)
posted by pracowity at 2:16 PM on December 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

I had no idea Fraggle Rock was Canadian but I was grown when it started so barely have a sense of it at all anyway.

I liked Mr Dressup fine but his puppets creeped me out. Casey's cheeks?! Me no likey.

Same with The Friendly Giant. Why was Rooster in a bag?!

I think in general puppets creep me out. That talking shoe from ReadAlong?! Change the channel, please!

Also, the Hilarious House of Frankenstein scared the beejeezus out of me. I hated that show.

Clearly, I think The Littlest Hobo should have won. Who doesn't love a helpful dog who occasionally solves crimes?!
posted by dobbs at 2:23 PM on December 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Pj Katie's farm is the best children's show and I'll hear no other options!
posted by SpannerX at 3:12 PM on December 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm in this demographic but never liked the show much- largely because I always felt like Finnegan (of Casey and Finnegan) USED to talk and then this true? It felt like a Berenstein bears issue to me at a very young anyway, I would also vote Littlest Hobo (slightly boring at times) and of course BEACHCOMBERS.
posted by bquarters at 3:16 PM on December 8, 2019

Oh gosh how did all these feels get into my eyes 😭
posted by aurynn at 3:44 PM on December 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

It felt like a Berenstein bears issue

Did you do that on purpose?
posted by clawsoon at 3:58 PM on December 8, 2019

I remember somewhere around 6th grade (i.e. too old to be watching Mr. Dressup or thinking he was cool), someone in our school year had spread the rumour that he'd died and one classmate cried when it got round to him. Yes we were shitheads (and no I wasn't the one that started the rumour though I did participate in mocking the one who cried).
posted by juv3nal at 4:01 PM on December 8, 2019

My wife's grandfather used to delight in calling him Mr. Messup
posted by nubs at 5:38 PM on December 8, 2019

Mr. Dressup from across the Detroit River was fantastic growing up. Thanks for the post
posted by JoeXIII007 at 5:49 PM on December 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

I, too, was an across-the-Detroit-River viewer! Mr. Dressup was so gentle and kind, in contrast to my father and grandfather. It was comforting to know that men could be.
posted by LakeLimner at 6:50 PM on December 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Another person getting the unintended CBC Windsor hookup.
posted by praemunire at 7:56 PM on December 8, 2019

Was Pokaroo Canadian? I would get so mad that the grownups never saw him. Mr.Rogers always used to stress me out. That tunnel and creepy puppets and fear I would mess up his house. Mr Dressup always made me feel safe. He made mistakes and let this person and their dog stay in his treehouse. He pulled things out of the tickle trunk and it was all a mess inside and no one got mad.
posted by kanata at 10:46 PM on December 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Mr. Dressup from across the Detroit River was fantastic growing up.

Mr. Dressup and Friendly Giant came from across Lake Ontario for us. The Niagara Escarpment wrecked our reception for American networks no matter how much we twisted the aerial, but we could see Toronto from our house on a clear day, so we had all a person could wanted of CBC, TVO, CFTO, and even CHCH. I sat through more than one episode of Elwood Glover's Luncheon Date on days I skived off school.
posted by pracowity at 6:50 AM on December 9, 2019

One of my favourite memories of working security of the CBC some 25 years ago (and there weren't many of these), was being assigned to mobile for one shift, and getting to wander around the remote studio at 1140 Yonge Street where Mr. Dressup was shooting their last few segments at that location.

I probably wasn't a very good patroller. While I was opening the Tickle Trunk, and gazing at Casey and Finnegan, I never found the person who was cutting onions behind the backdrop.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 10:18 AM on December 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Years ago I went to a rockin’ house party and found out Ernie Coombes had just left.
I’m still kicking myself. Imagine swapping stories over beer!

As a kid I was always so amazed that whatever costume or prop was wanted/ needed at the moment could be found in that tickle trunk - it really seemed to contain the universe in its musty confines. It never occurred to me until *cough* years later that perhaps that trunk was being seeded by some props person...
But to my mind it was somehow a metaphor for the absolutely endless creative possibilities of the world- you could always somehow find what you wanted, if you only knew what you wanted.
posted by cabin fever at 2:17 PM on December 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Was Pokaroo Canadian? I would get so mad that the grownups never saw him.

Yep, Polkaroo was Canadian. The Polka-Dot Door. TVOntario. 1971-1993. An adaptation of BBC’s Playschool. I wonder how many Friedas and Fennels they went through in 22 years.

My childhood was Mr. Dressup, The Polka Dot Door, The Elephant Show, Today’s Special, Readalong, Fred Penner’s Place, The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, etc., etc., etc. We were really spoiled for quality children’s programming in the early eighties. And then there was that sad French hobo clown that haunted my nightmares...
posted by Sys Rq at 5:27 PM on December 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

Thank you! I've been trying to think of Polkaroos real show name for years and no one else has understood what I talked about. Definitely saw it here in BC.
posted by kanata at 10:29 PM on December 10, 2019

then there was that sad French hobo clown that haunted my nightmares...

They still make Anglo kids watch Parlez-Moi in French class now.

My son came home one day telling me:
"We watched a weird video in French class today about a French clown and a guy who smoked a lot and spoke English and French like great grandma."
"Was his name Sol?"
"I don't know but he was like a sad version of Mr. Bean who talked too much."
"Yeah that's Sol. Which one did you watch?"
"The one where he goes to the restaurant."
"My favourite!"

Those who only know Sol from Parlez-moi might be surprised to learn he had a long career on Quebec tv. I remember as kid getting a weird mishmash of kids shows from Quebec and Europe - all of them weird. Mr. Dressup was always a nice break from the crazy of French tv. CBC really should be putting those and other classic Canadian kids shows on their Gem app.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:06 PM on December 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

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