Mr. Dressup (Ernie Coombs) with puppeteer Judith Lawrence and puppets Casey (left) and Finnegen. - Contributed

Fundraiser started by B.C. man to create Mr. Dressup documentary

Keith Hoffart, from Kelowna, remembers the children’s TV show fondly and started a Kickstarter

A Kelowna man wants to show the world the impact popular children’s TV show character Mr. Dressup had on Canadians after seeing the USA’s passion for Mister Rogers.

Keith Hoffart, who has more than 20 years of experience in software and web design, said he was on a hunt for a garage sale with his brother one weekend, talking about the new Mister Rogers movie featuring actor Tom Hanks.

“I love movies and I loved statistics and the box office… I thought somebody should tell the story of Mr. Dressup, that’s our Mister Rogers,” he said. “I grew up with Mr. Dressup, I loved him, he was the best.”

Mr. Dressup, played by Ernie Coombs, was part of a popular children’s show that went by the character’s name. It revolved around songs, arts and crafts, the imagination and originally ran on CBC from 1967 to 1996.

RELATED: Fred Rogers, America’s favourite neighbour, celebrated in 2018

Hoffart started a Kickstarter, an online fundraiser, for the documentary project. All the filming and production will be done by himself, he said, with the help of a college student for post-production.

He has already been talking to the important people in Mr. Dressup’s life, like his daughter Cathie and puppeteer Judith Lawrence, as well as interviewing fans to discuss their fondest memories of the show, he said.

“The first part is kind of going to be historical, this is the story of Mr. Dressup and almost a Wikipedia aspect of the documentary, then there’s going to be interviews of people close to him and then the fan favourite area where it’s going to be people telling stories,” he said.

He interviewed a woman in Toronto already who named her child after Casey, after on of Mr. Dressup’s puppet friends.

Through his research for the documentary, Hoffart learned the puppet Casey was gender neutral, an important topic that is prominent in today’s society, he said.

“Not to mention Mr. Dressup back then advocated for him and Judith to get equal pay at work. He didn’t want to get paid more than Judith, he thought they were doing an equal amount of work for the show,” he said.

The arts and crafts segment of the show still holds a place in Hoffart’s heart.

“(It) spawned creativity as a kid myself. You couldn’t pause the TV back then so it was tough, because he’d say you have to get a paper towel roll and I’m running around trying to make it in real time with Mr. Dressup,” he said.

His initial goal is to reach $50,000, which will cover his travel costs for interviews and licensing footage from CBC. If more than $50,000 is raised, money will go towards more interviews, higher quality video equipment and advertising, according to the Kickstarter.

The 40-year-old plans to start filming in January and February of 2019 and hopes for it to be completed in May 2019. He said he’s been in talks with CBC and Netflix discussing where it will air.

To contribute, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/654726770/mr-dressup-documentary-movie/.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Trail and parking upgrades beginning at Seal Bay Park

Park upgrade work is planned at the Comox Valley Regional District’s (CVRD)… Continue reading

More than 2 million salmon to be released into Puntledge River

Water flows will be higher than usual next week

Woman assaulted at Bill Moore Park in Courtenay

Female grabbed from behind Thursday morning

Comox presentation on cycling the Silk Road

Do you enjoy fascinating cycling stories? Interested in education in the developing… Continue reading

VIDEO: Protesters in Penticton gather to rally against sleeping-on-sidewalk bylaw

The proposed bylaw would outlaw sitting or lying on the city’s downtown sidewalks

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

Most Read