Ernie "Mr. Dressup" Coombs passed away on September 18, 2001 at age 73
following a stroke.
He has no relation to Sean "P. Diddy" Coombs, but I hear that Puff
Daddy is working on a song that heavily samples the Mr. Dressup Theme.
FACT: Ernie Coombs got his start in theatre working as a technician, set
designer and painter.
OPINION: When you enjoy dressing up in funny costumes, you can either have a
career in theatre, or as a rap artist.
FACT: An American by birth, Ernie Coombs first came to Canada in 1963 with
Fred Rogers who was developing his Mister Rogers program at CBC.
OPINION: Mr Dressup wanted to do a show similar to Mister Rogers except
without the stupid fucking trolley.
FACT: The next season, Coombs appeared in the new Butternut Square program,
which later evolved into Mr. Dressup.
OPINION: Butternut Square was a much dirtier show. The puppets on that show
didn't wear any clothing, and the Tickle Trunk was used for French tickling.
FACT: Mr. Dressup went on air in February 1967 and has been on the CBC
continuously since that time.
OPINION: The show's longevity over other children's programs like The
Friendly Giant is undoubtedly due to the fact that kids hate giants.
FACT: From 1967 to 1989 his constant companions were Casey and Finnegan.
OPINION: Finnegan's compulsive use of foul language forced CBC censors to
turn off his microphone during taping of the children's program.
FACT: Casey and Finnegan, along with Alligator Al and Aunt Bird, left the
show when Judith Lawrence, their creator and puppeteer, retired. According
to Coombs, the puppets were extensions of Lawrence's personality, so there
was never any question of anyone else performing Casey and Finnegan.
OPINION: Before retiring, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had Judith
Lawrence's hands cut off.
FACT: Mr. Dressup carried on with several new friends: Chester the crow,
Truffles, Granny and her grand-daughter Annie, Alex and Lorenzo the raccoon.
OPINION: I always thought it was a mistake to replace Casey and Finnegan
with these far inferior puppets. If I was Mr. Dressup, I would have tried to
get Lawrence Fishburne or Jimmy Smitts.
FACT:The last show was taped on Valentines Day 1996, but repeats are still
OPINION: The last episode was a most controversial
cliffhanger ending with Truffles getting shot.
FACT: For many years Ernie toured all over Canada with a live stage show.
OPINION: Many children were dissapointed with Mr. Dressup's live show, there were even accusations of lipsynching.
FACT: In 1994, Ernie Coombs was presented with The Academy of Canadian and
Television's prestigious Earle Grey Award, honouring excellence in Canadian
OPINION: I'll miss Mr. Dressup. He sparked my imagination at an early age,
and has always been a source of delight for me throughout my life. Any adult
willing to act a little foolish for the sake of a child's happiness will
have my deepest respect. Aunt Bird, on the other hand, was a fucking idiot.