| Memory Lane
If you have a Bingle memory to share, please email it to me at
A Christmas Surprise
By Jennifer Dorhauer
Things that happen along life's journey are either
memorable or insignificant. Some events are forgotten instantly,
but others are remembered forever. When I was a child, many
things caused me extreme joy. As I got older, I forgot many of the
events that had
excited me as a child, but I will never forget one
special day in
December of 1980.
With Christmas drawing near, I was anxiously awaiting
day when Santa would bring me all my presents. Both my
were at home, so I asked them to play Candyland, my
with me. We were having a wonderful time trying to
another to the gingerbread house when my doorbell
rang. Daddy got
up to answer the door, and like a devoted child, I
When we opened the door, we found no one there. I
see something sitting on my doorstep. Mr. Bingle, the
the Maison Blanche department store, was perched on my
was decked out in a set of bright green wings, a big
blue eyes that seemed to sparkle with mischief, and
I was overjoyed! I immediately called my grandparents
to see if they had gotten a Mr. Bingle, too. I was
excitement and joy. My grandmother could hardly
understand me as
I hurried to tell her about my new toy. I told my
grandmother that Mr. Bingle must have "flied" to my
house. Upon learning that
they did not have a Mr. Bingle, I thought I was
A simple child-like faith in Mr. Bingle's ability to
caused me extreme happiness. As I got older, I lost
some of the
joy of Santa Claus, but I have never lost the joy that
I felt on
the day when I found Mr. Bingle on my doorstep. Each
year when I
take him out to use as a Christmas decoration, I feel
joy again. To this day, I do not know how Mr. Bingle
got on my
doorstep. Maybe not knowing makes this memory a little
Ok,Now I will type a few words quoting Errol Laborde
from his book: I Never Danced With an Eggplant(On a
Streetcar Before) Chronicles Of Life and Adventures in
New Orleans .
Words regarding Mr. Bingle popularity...
"Yes, Virgina ,they do make a big deal out of Mr.
Bingle here,perhaps more than you realize."
"Anyway,in answer to your question I can think of two
reasons for his popularity.""One is that he is the
only symbol of Christmas that is unique to New
"As for the other reason,I think it has more to do
with just the sort of corney old nostalgia around
which Christmas is made.""There's a whole generation
of people out there who now in their professional
prime, remember Mr. Bingle on television when they
were kids.""They've changed ,the city has changed but
Mr. Bingle still looks and talks the same."
"I first met Isentrout at what was a festive
occassion,the opening night of the new Maisen Blanche
on Canal St."" The store was at it's best for the
black-tie-and-evening-dress-crowd.""There was food
fashion,music,exhibits and toward the back on the
third floor,Isentrout and Mr. Bingle."
"It was not a Bingle sort of crowd except for the few
native-born baby boomers who happened to pass by,some
too caught up in the sophistication of the evening to
fully appreciate the moment.""But Isentrout and his
assistant persisted;re-introducing Bingle..."
Used with permission from Errol Laborde
There is a whole chapter on Mr.Bingle and many
other things unique to New Orleans in his book.It is
very entertaining and informative.Thanks,Errol
From Ronnie Virgets article Profiling: Edwin H. Oscar Isentrout
"Isentrout never forgot how much Mr. Bingle meant to his audiences, both young and old. The puppeteer recalled the first time he took Mr. Bingle to perform at the Crippled Childrenís Hospital, and as Bingle touched a small boy, that boy struggled to straighten his hand and lay it on the puppet's. "
Paul Yacich Remembers:
One afternoon, when I was "in between" shows, my wife
Rita and my daughters stopped by the studio. Rita had
to take Karen to a doctor's appointment and asked if
she could leave Deirdre with me for a while. That was
OK with me. I knew the Mr. Bingle show would be in
rehearsal in a little while and I was sure my four
year old Deirdre would love to see Mr. Bingle in
I sat her on the stage used by the puppeteers in the
Bingle show. Oscar Eisentraut, Bingle's voice and
manipulator was getting in position on a scaffold
behind the stage set. He saw my daughter on the stage
set and lowered Mr. Bingle to the stage behind
Deirdre. Then he said: " Hello! What's your name?"
Deirdre turned and showing no surprise at all,
answered: "Deirdre. You're Mr. Bingle. I saw you on
TV!" Oscar kept a running conversation going with
Deirdre for about 10 or 12 minutes. Other Bingle cast
members gathered around the set to watch Bingle and
Dierdre talking to each other. I don't really know if
Deirdre really knew Bingle was a puppet, but she
talked to him like an "old" friend. I finally had to
get her out of the studio so the Bingle gang could
rehearse. Oscar later told me that it was as much of a
thrill talking to Deirdre "through" Mr. Bingle as it
must have been for Deirdre to meet Bingle in "person."
It was a scene I would never forget.
A Mr. Bingle Engagement
My Mr. Bingle Story
Courtesy DRW "Bay" in La.
My daughter and I moved to a new home in March of 96
and I just went
to work and came home everyday, until that May of 97
when I opened a
snowball stand and met a man who lived in my
neighborhood. He would
come everyday sometimes twice a day to get a
talking, and then soon became dating on June 19,1997
December we started talking about getting married.He
told me on
December 19, that we were going to pick out my ring,
couldn't tell anyone till Christmas Eve at my family's
party, because he want only our kids there when he
proposed to me.
had wrapped my ring up; so we had to come up with a
plan for him to
let me open it. We decided to let each one open a
gift before we
left for the party. The kids opened each a present
then my hubby
reach under the Christmas tree and pulled out a big
big box and passed
it to me, I looked at him funny because I was sure he
wrapped it in a
small box, then I started to open my gift and to my
surprise it was a
big stuffed Mr. Bingle and my ring was on his candy
cane. I told my
hubby once about how I loved Mr. Bingle so he decided
Now every year I get a stuffed Mr. Bingle and a
to put on our
Yes go ahead and use the painting. My inspiration for
painting Mr. Bingle
is to celebrate the Christmas tradition. Remembering
Christmas time is a
very warm memory for me as I had a very happy
childhood with my parents and
sister and celebrating Christmas was part of that. It
always so exciting.
The suspense of not knowing what Santa was going to
bring and also not
knowing what all of those beautifully wrapped gifts
under the tree were.
(The tree was also so much fun to go and buy and smell
and carry home to
decorate with my mother and my sister). I think I
have captured the warm
and cheery lights that are placed on the Christmas
tree. They reflect on Mr.
Bingle and Son and the sleigh. The sleigh on which
they are sitting is a
rather antique one from my husband's childhood. I
believe by painting Mr.
Bingle I am recording and sharing the warm and happy
memories of many
children of all ages at Christmas time.
Elayne Kuehler,New Orleans
I can only remember a little ----about being very
young and waiting for the afternoon viewing during the
Christmas season of the Mr. Bingle segment on TV. It
was similar to the feeling of watching Ms. Jenny on
Romper Room. (A big world out there-but shows and
people and characters close to home . I always
wondered how you get to be on the show. My
grandmother cared for me while my mother taught
school. We lived about 15 minutes apart. I can
remember timing was important to get from one house to
the other so not miss MB.
I donít even remember the time this would play.
Seems like after I watched a show like the Flintstones
cartoon. It is wonderful how
the net can help to let people relive experiences and
memories. I didnít own a Mr. Bingle until 1983 after
my first daughter was born. A family member was
heading off to the mall and I asked her to check and
purchase a Mr. Bingle for me. I think this one was
purchased in Baton Rouge,La. at the Cortana Mall.
That is the only one I had until this year 2002 when
my sister in law went to LAKESIDE and bought one for
me as a gift for helping with an upcoming family
wedding. I also recently purchased a 1987 MB like
yours from a lady in Texas. The tag still intact. It
is in excellent shape. So now I have 3.
Mrs. Bartsch story:
Okay, y'all, I can finally share something of my New
Orleans experience with
all of you. I am old enough to remember Mr. Bingle, I
had my picture made
with Santa and Mr. Bingle at the store when I was a
kid. Mother said Maison
Blanche had the best Santa, but DH Holmes's Santa
wasn't too shabby as I
remember. I have a succession of pictures of me
sitting on Santa's lap with
Mr. Bingle in the background. One year, they put a
guy in a Mr. Bingle suit
and he walked around the store giving candy to the
kids. He gave me a
peppermint and I sang
"Jingle, Jangle, Jingle
Here comes Mr. Bingle,
With another message from
everybody laughed, and I got all embarrassed. But I
still remember how much
fun it was to go Christmas shopping in the city. How
lucky I am not to have
From a Memphis,Tn. view...(Lowensteins)
I grew up in the fifties
and Mr. Bingle
was part of Christmas for me. We didn't have a lot of
cartoons on TV-
-actually there wasn't much TV then, so that small bit
Bingle was great. It seems he always mentioned seeing
Lowenstein's store window in downtown. My Daddy
worked downtown and
we shopped there a lot. All the kids would gather
around the store
display window and the Mr. Bingle marionette would
tell a story and
talk. It was broadcast through a loud speaker. They
several times a day. As an adult I had a friend who
used to work
there. She gave me a Mr. Bingle--she had 2. Up until
then I didn't
even know you could get them.
"I was occassionally Mr.Bingle"By Lauren W.
I was a member of the Maison Blanche teen board for 3
years in the 90's We participated in fashion shows,
acted as Mr. Bingle and Madamoiselle Blanche and
participated in other special events. I played Bingle
countless times- it was wonderful! I have so many
stories and fond memories of Mr. Bingle, far too many
to go into detail in this one email!
I still have the newspaper clipping from Maison
Blanche's 100th and Bingle's 50th anniversary and the
parade that circled around the store and concluded on
Mr. Bingle breakfasts were another fond memory, as
were the yearly trips to Children's Hospital to
deliver gifts. I took part in this for all 3 years
that I belonged to TB. I love reminiscing about
This is a picture of a few of the long-term members of
the Maison Blanche teen board. We were all on the
board for about 3 years. If you look behind us you
will see a picture of Mr. Bingle- this was the first
This is a picture of Me (lauren WHite) and Mr. Bingle
on the corner of vets and clearview. It was a freezing
cold day, close to CHristmas and the shoppers were out
and about. Countless people beeped their horns,
screamed merry Christmas out of their car windows, or
simply smiled at us. Mr. Bingle can ALWAYS bring out a
smile :D (See Photos)
This is Me and Mr. Bingle walking in the parade which
celebrated Maison Blanche's 100th Anniversary and Mr.
Bingle's 50th birthday. It was so much fun! I still
have the clipping from the times pic somewhere.(See
Teen board members get ready for a fashion show.
Notice Bingle in the back- he lived in the Fashion &
special events office for many months! Sometiems he
"held" things for us, as you can see we used his cone
hat to drape things...sometimes we had to dig mr.
Every year we went to Children's and Tulane Children's
Hospitals with Bingle to deliver gifts.
I don't have any pics of Madamoiselle Blanche, but she
was pink and wore and ugle skirt and shall that was
made out of hideously huge bright flowers! LOL.
I used to work all of the Bingle Breakfasts. I worked
at Clearview, though terrirory of the teen board was
all of Southern Louisiana. I joined the board in
I could tell you some funny stories about Mr. B. That
costume was so awkward, many times we had to change
into it in the car or mini van of our directors (when
we went to public appearances) or we had to wear it to
the appearance. Mr. Bingle's head was too big to stand
straight up so it was always so hilarious trying to
get it on. And in the cases that we actually wore the
head to where we were going--- well you should have
SEEN the look on some of those people's faces! LOL
As I said, Bingle was awkward. He used to get stuck
between sales racks a lot, you couldn't see ANYTHING
out of those eyes so we had to be escorted (sometimes
I was an escort). Bingle tripped, he fell down stairs,
he knocked things over, got stuck in some tight
places, and tried oh so hard to hold on to squirming
babies (Mr. Bingle's Biggest nightmare came true every
time mother's asked Bingle to hold their new borns for
pictures- Mr. Bingle has mittens...not hands. And his
mittens are stuffed with lots of filling so it's like
trying to hold a baby with two pillows on your hands).
Being bingle was fun tho. WHen you put on the costume,
you BECAME bingle. I did things in there I would NEVER
do in real life- silly dances, over exaggerated body
language, snuck up on people, etc. It was a blast!
As you know, every year they put out a different
bingle. Even though they look mostly the same there
are subtle differences, different color mittens (some
are solid red, others are red and white striped- the
way they are supposed to be). Wings are different
shades of green, eyes different blues, etc.
As you know with the costume, Mr. Bingle gained a
substantial amount of weight over the years. He
started out as a basic fur costume that basically hung
on the person's body. Over the years they included
more stuffing, they added a vest, his eyes looked
different, and so on.
I've always loved Bingle as well. I got a Bingle when
I was really little. I still have him in the closet
someplace. I Remember going to MB all the time and
getting a Mr. Bingle Ice cream (I KNOW you remember
these, the scoop of vanilla ice cream, 2 blue bubble
gum eyes, a cheery nose, and icing for the mouth and
Jingle Jangle Jingle here comes Mr. Bingle With
another message from Kris Kringle...
I cannot remember the second stanza. But they used to
sing it when we were in costume all the time. LOL!
Bingle Brings the world together. I think we should
send a plethora of Mr.
Bingles around the world to all of the leaders and
dance around singing the
Jingle- I think it would make world peace break out
I would NEVER part with my Bingle stuff. I want my
kids to know Mr. Bingle for who he REALLY was... and
the way he really was.
I guess people just took for granted that the
catalogue would always come, the puppet show would
always air, and Mr. Bingle would always live at Maison
Blanche. They just didn't realize how special he would
Lauren W. (Metairie,La.)
Red Plastic Phones....Remember?
Let's see, I had to have been around 7 or 8, and we
went down to MB for Christmas shopping, and right when
you first walked in, there was a big square box with
the giant Mr. Bingle on top, and there were red
plastic phone handsets on each side. Maybe two or
three on each side of the box. I THINK there may have
been a TV set built in playing either a cartoon, or
the puppet show, or something, but that part is too
vague in my mind. I clearly remember running up to
the kiosk and picking up the phone and hearing "Hi!
It's Mr. Bingle!" and then I missed most of his Happy
Holidays message because I was too busy turning around
and telling my mom "MOM! IT'S MR. BINGLE!!! IT'S
REALLY HIM!!" Aah, the excitement of youth. Then I
remember being dissapointed because I tried to ask him
something and the message just looped and played over
again, and I realized it was a recording. Bummer.
What a let down. I really thought I had him on the
line. Then my mother dragged me off to buy a
Christmas dress, which was great because it was blue
velvet with about seven layers of lace around the
bottom. I still have a photo of me in that dress.
My husband says he met the puppeteer for Mr. Bingle.
He used to go to this preschool that was run by Nuns,
which was close to Camp street. Anyway, when he was
around 5 years old, the guy came there to show all the
kids the puppet and to talk about doing the show, and
to let them see how Mr. Bingle worked. Val (my
husband ) says he remembers that he got to shake hands
with Mr. Bingle, and his operator! He says he
remembers being crushed when he saw that this man
talked for Mr. Bingle, and that Mr. Bingle couldn't
really talk for himself!
I'm glad that someone has taken charge of organizing
these memories for all of us. Thanks, you are doing
us all a great service.
Keep in touch,
Kara & Valentino Gutierrez
If you would like to make a voluntary 2.00 contribution to help support
this site.It would be appreciated.If so click
here .All contributions above that go to the Spirit of Mr. Bingle
Tree Program. The Spirit of Mr. Bingle Tree Program each year at
Dillards helps provide toys to underpriveleged children.It is put
on by the Salvation army.I am not a non -profit organization but
I do participate in the tree program and will publish on the site
after Christmas what was made possible by the efforts of this fan
club site contributors.This is strickly voluntary.Or you may go
to Dillards and participate yourself if you like.Keep checking local
New Orleans paper for dates of this event.I believe it is in November
and I'll keep you posted on the message board.
To Join Mr Bingle Collectables Club
for free go to "messages"