Here comes Mr. Bingle: Gulfport Museum of History shares holiday legacy

The Gulfport Museum of History is sharing the story behind the creation and legacy of beloved Christmas icon Mr. Bingle.

A beloved Christmas mascot, Mr. Bingle is a holiday snowman who sparks jolly cheer for many who remember him. Gulfport Museum of History Director Betty Shaw said, “People my age and a little older and a little younger, growing up in Gulfport there was only one TV station and that was WDSU Channel 6 New Orleans. So, we knew all about what was happening in New Orleans and Mr. Bingle was an integral part of their Christmas.”

With pearling Blue Christmas ornament eyes, a red nose, holly-leaf wings, an ice cream cone hat, and peppermint in his right hand, Mr. Bingle became a holiday icon. “You got to see him on TV in black and white. Of course, if you were lucky enough to get a Mr. Bingle doll, here he is.”

In 1947, a window display manager of Maison Blanche department store in New Orleans created the character, who later appeared in Christmas parades, commercials, children’s TV shows, and even a novel. “That’s part of the reason we do the history museum is because there are all those memories of childhood and we’re growing daily memories and it’s just nice to think about how it was in another time.”

The Gulfport Museum of History has five Bingles on display. “One of our Bingles, the permanent one was donated by one of our dear members who passed away last year so he’s special to us.”

Although, originating in New Orleans, his legacy reached children and families along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

If you have Mr. Bingle dolls you’d like to add to the museum display during the holiday season, contact the museum at 228-861-6600.

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