Uncle Mistletoe - Dwarfish little
man on the children's puppet adventure UNCLE MISTLETOE AND HIS
Uncle Mistletoe was a 12-inch puppet
dressed in a costume resembling an English coachman who assisted
Santa Claus with his business matters, a sort of ambassador of
good will for the North Pole. Uncle Mistletoe lived with Aunt
Holly (debuted in 1948) and the
inhabitants of Candy Cane Lane, a magical world where "dreams come
Uncle Mistletoe debuted as part of an annual Christmas display
designed by Foote, Cone and Belding advertising agency for the
Marshal Field Department Store in Chicago in 1946 (to compete with
Montgomery Ward's creation,
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer).
The original Uncle Mistletoe character (who sported a bright read
coat, long white scarf, a set of gauzy wings, and a sprig of
mistletoe in his hat) was created by Addis Osborne, an instructor
at the Art Institute of Chicago and the spouse of Joanna Osborne,
a Marshal Field associate.
The Uncle Mistletoe character later moved to a local 15-minute
children's program on WENR-TV and was later picked up for
nationwide broadcast on the ABC Network.
The show featured a segment called the Kindness Club where viewers
who wrote to the show were rewarded for their good deeds with a
Kindness Club button and a copy of the Kindness song. The Kindness
Club had 15,000 members.
Other puppet characters on the series included Olio, Molio, Aunt
Judy, Skippy Monkey, Obadiah Pig, Tony the Pony and Humphrey
Mouse. Their voices were provided by Johnny Coons who later
starred in his own children's show LIFE WITH JOHNNY
COONS/CBS/1954-55. Jennifer Holt and later Doris Larson appeared
as the Lookout Lady.
Aunt Holly & Uncle Mistletoe Dolls
Marshall Field was one of the original companies to place advance
orders for "Little Golden Books" when they were first released in
1942. In the book "Uncle Mistletoe and Aunt Holly (#175) two
youngsters, Peter and Bets venture into the winter woods to see
Santa Claus. Along the way, Mistletoe and his wife, Aunt Holly
greet them at the Cozy Cloud Cottage where Santa stopped on his
way to and from the North Pole.
Uncle Mistletoe magazine article
Marshall Field's (Marshall Field & Company) was acquired by
Cincinnati-based Federated Department Stores on August 30, 2005.
The Marshall Field and Company Building on State Street in The
Loop of downtown Chicago was renamed Macy's on State Street on
September 9, 2006, and is now one of three national Macy's
A similar puppet
character called Mr. Bingle was created by Emile Alline
Sr.(1917-1998), a display director a Maison Blanche Department
store in New Orleans who was inspired by the Uncle Mistletoe
character during a blustery visit to Chicago in 1947.
With Alline's aid, puppeteer Edwin Harmon "Oscar" Isentrout (died 1985)
who provided the voice and movements for Mr. Bingle, designed a
snowman marionette that had ornament eyes, holly wings, an
ice-cream cone-shaped hat, and a magic candy cane. The Mr. Bingle
character soon became a symbol of Christmas in New Orleans.
For several years, Mr. Bingle, too, earned his own 15-minute TV
show during the holiday season. The Mr. Bingle character was also
seen in the Lowenstein's department stores in Memphis, TN during
According to the poem written by Emile Alline, Sr. "When Santa
left his shop one day, he found a snowman near his
sleigh..."You'll be my helper", now he said, and tapped the little
fellow's head." Mr. Bingle theme song proclaimed "Jingle, jangle
jingle, here come Mr. Bingle."
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