Mr. Bingle

Mr. Bingle was created and designed by Emile Alline, an employee of Maison Blanche, in 1947. Mister Bingle shared the initials of his home, "M.B.", as the store was often called. Mr. Bingle first appeared in puppet form at theCanal StreetMaison Blanche in 1950s, puppeteered byEdwin "Oscar" Isentrout (who also played the voice of Mr. Bingle). These puppet shows occurred each day for the few weeks leading up toChristmas for about 15 minutes at a time, and were a favorite of local children. Mr. Bingle also appeared in musical radio and television commercials. The puppet shows ended in 1985 when Isentrout died.For years Mr. Bingle related merchandise, especially plush toys, were sold.

Mr. Bingle's theme song:

Jingle, jangle, jingle/Here comes Mr. Bingle/With another message from Kris Kringle/Time to launch your Christmas season/Maison Blanche makes Christmas pleasin'/Gifts galore for you to see/Each a gem from MB!

Later Dillard's bought the Maison Blanche chain and the Mr. Bingle trademark. Today, many locals consider Mr. Bingle acultural icon, fondly remembering the times when Mr. Bingle's shows were one of the most anticipated activities of the Christmas season.

Mr. Bingle was also displayed as a large paper mache figure on the front of the flagship Maison Blanche store on Canal Street, first standing next to Santa Claus and later in a flying form. The flying figure was displayed at the Metairie, Louisiana Maison Blanche Store and later at a Dillard's Metairie location when the Canal Street store was closed. Dillard's donated the large display (in disrepair) toNew Orleans City Park and it was refurbished and made its return for the 2005 Christmas season at their "Celebration in the Oaks" light display.

For a short time, Mr. Bingle also appeared in Memphis at the department store Lowenstein's and was used in Christmas advertising nationwide at various regional department stores owned by Mercantile Stores (which acquired MB a few years before itself being acquired by Dillard's). According to the official Mr. Bingle website, merchandise featuring the character was available at 21 Dillard's locations in 10 states during the 2007 holiday shopping season, in addition to the Dillard's website. Ironically, the locations did not include any stores in New Orleans itself, where the character originated. (The items were available, however, in four New Orleans suburbs.)

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