December 11, 2011 |
Would I let my children sleep with a stuffed stringy-haired codger like Ben Franklin? Or do I prefer they cuddle nonhuman furry friends? All politics is local, even contests pitting a Founding Father against a top-heavy hound and a 7-foot moose. So when contemplating which costumed creature should next represent the Philadelphia 76ers, I admit my misgivings involve merchandise: If I'm invariably going to spend $29.99 on a Sixers Pillow Pet, which of these plush playthings is least likely to give my kids nightmares?
December 6, 2011
The Sixers' new ownership decided pretty early on that Hip Hop was going to be no more. That was backed up by overwhelmingly negative reaction from fans. The team announced the move 2 weeks ago, saying it had hired Jim Henson's Creature Shop and Raymond Entertainment Group, founded by Dave Raymond, the former Phillie Phanatic. The owners wanted to go with a colonial theme, but realized there is not an obvious tie-in with the 76ers name. They also wanted to stress an element of Ben Franklin.
November 22, 2011 |
THE PEOPLE have spoken: Hip Hop is no more. Seeing as how there is no actual basketball to talk about during the NBA lockout, this qualifies as big Sixers news. After receiving hundreds of communications from fans, nearly all of them advocating the end of a symbol of a different era, the team's new ownership will announce today that the never-beloved mascot has been put out to pasture, literally. To spare the sensibilities of the one or two children who weren't scared to death by the rabbit, the team will say that Hip Hop fell in love, married and moved away to start a family.
January 31, 2008 |
Visitors to Immaculata University basketball games this season may have noticed a new member of the Mighty Macs fan base - a 6-foot, 250-pound, gray-and-white Scottie dog, sporting a blue-and-white Immaculata jersey and matching sneakers. That's Mac, the new Immaculata mascot, enjoying its (Mac is gender neutral) first school year stalking the sideline for the Mighty Macs. When university officials decided in 2006 to revive Immaculata's mascot, they turned to the creator of the character behind perhaps the greatest mascot in sports history (apologies to the San Diego Chicken)
January 16, 2008 |
The Phillie Phanatic is the top mascot in sports, according to a market research group whose findings were reported yesterday on Forbes.com. The Phanatic - which edged out the modern era's pioneer figurehead, the San Diego Chicken, for No. 1 on The Marketing Arm's Davie-Brown Index - "became an instant smash when it debuted for the Phillies in 1978. " Tom Burgoyne, who has known the Phanatic inside and out since 1994, squealed with delight at the news. Then he asked: "This isn't the same Forbes list that Oprah and Bill Gates are on?"
August 17, 2005
TO OUR MIND, the absolute Greatest Moment in Mascot History, a growing body of knowledge and culture that spans professional and collegiate sports, as well as the corporate world, was right here in Philadelphia in 1993. The Phillies were playing Atlanta for the pennant. Ted Turner, who owns the Braves, was married to Jane Fonda. The corpulent Phillie Phanatic showed up in a purple leotard to do an insanely funny take-off on her workout routine. For that, and thousands of hugs and dances and silly gags since 1978, the Phanatic was inducted yesterday into the Mascot Hall of Fame at a rain-drenched ceremony across from City Hall that drew 40 furry and foam mascots, as well as a few hardy Philadelphians.
January 19, 1996 |
Frank Sullivan might be the only ex-Phillie who never had a bad day at the ballpark. He made people laugh, made them feel good, helped take their minds off games that sometimes were dreadful. He also assured they would be rewarded for showing up early. Sullivan, 65, died Wednesday of complications from liver disease. For 23 years, he was the Phillies' director of promotions. He gave you Kiteman, fireworks, camera night, national anthem singers, workouts by Little League teams, Karl Wallenda walking a tightrope from foul line to foul line high above the playing field, giveaways, Benny the Human Bomb . . . Most of all, he helped to give you the Phillie Phanatic.
May 11, 1995 |
Dressed preposterously as a huge shaggy creature, the thing was attacking people at a church fair in Northeast Philadelphia. It was molesting, harassing, assaulting, battering and, in the language of the law, "engaging in unlawful or offensive touching. " Yes, young and old alike got a good dose of the Phillie Phanatic at the Maternity Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church carnival back on May 15, 1991. One man, a retired bus driver with back problems, says he got a bigger dose than he wanted.
April 13, 1994 |
The challenge came early, in the second inning. A bunch of wise guys in Section 348 began to chant: "We want Dave. We want Dave. " Dave Raymond, the old, original Phillie Phanatic, had retired in November, after 16 seasons. Tom Burgoyne, the new Phanatic, was making his debut. And Burgoyne was ready. He emptied a can of Super String on the head heckler, Robert Mecoli, 36, of South Philadelphia, on Monday afternoon as the entire section erupted in laughter. Mecoli spent the rest of the inning removing green goop from his hair.
April 4, 1994 |
Great howls of laughter erupted as the Phillie Phanatic whirled into the dining room at the McAuley Convent in Merion while the Sisters of Mercy ate dessert. Stopping at each of the tables to dazzle the delighted audience with a sample of his unique showmanship, this green, utterly incorrigible creature blessed himself with the sign of the cross and . . . Hey! Come back here with that piece of cake! "Look," one of the nuns said excitedly. "He wants something to eat. Oh, goodness.