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
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
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