It's amazing how many emails we've received regarding Will's search for the Bigfoot creator.
Or maybe I should refer to the missives as "emales," given the gender of the various senders.
One came from a fellow who worked here many years ago.
Arte Bausman was the magician at Santa Claus Land long ago (see page 50 of our pictorial history book for several of his recollections).
In case you don't have the book (yet), here's a photo of Arte:
When Arte read about Will's search for the Bigfoot creator, he dashed off this email:
Was reading the "blog" this morning and noticed your interest in meeting Philip Morris, creator of quality gorilla costumes and effects.
If you recall, Santa Claus Land has a connection with Mr. Morris and Morris costumes.
In the mid 1970s when the character costumes were beginning to show signs of wear, your Dad asked that I find someone to make new hands, paws and things of that nature to replace the ones which were wearing out. I contacted Morris costumes. They made very nice replacements for the park's costumed animal characters. I remember ones for the three pigs and the big bad wolf. Most probably the bears, too.
As you're aware, Phil Morris still operates Morris costumes in Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to making and selling costumes, haunted house effects and other things, he produces "Spectaculars" for various circuses. I worked with Phil a couple of years on the Ronald McDonald Circus in Nashville.
Small world?? Arte Bausman
To which Will replied:
Ahh, yes. I also recall a gorilla suit that you had (or I think I do—wasn’t there a gorilla in The Great London Ghost Show?). Was it from Morris? I didn’t know that you went to Morris for replacements for the pigs, wolf, etc. I’d been aware of Morris Costume for many years. We’ve seen them at IAAPA for a long time. I got interested in meeting Philip because of his role in the famous Bigfoot hoax (that’s really what it is—-you won’t see it called that on network TV, though). I was surprised when I read that the identity of the perpetrator, as well as the story of how he purchased the gorilla costume and got "hints" as to how to make the arms longer, etc. from Morris.
That Bigfoot story is such a great piece of Americana that I just wanted to shake his hand and ask him about his recollections of it. I really find the whole thing fascinating.
Merry Christmas! Will
When I returned from Christmas vacation, a four-page article entitled "The Great Million Dollar Bogfoot Hoax" was left–anonymously–in my mail tray.
I guess I need to start a "Bigfoot" file in our archives…