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

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

Fundraiser started by Kelowna man to create Mr. Dressup documentary

Keith Hoffart 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

Fire near Highway 97 C close to Merritt. (Facebook)
BC Wildfire on scene of blaze off Highway 97C

The fire is an estimated nine hectares in size

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

A Sycamore Road home in Kelowna has been cordoned as police conduct an investigation after a man was found dead at the residence at around 1:30 a.m. on June 17. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna RCMP investigate death at ‘house from hell’

RCMP said that the incident is isolated in nature

(Contributed)
Kelowna’s Uber hopes dashed by transportation board COVID-19 inquiry — for now

Passenger Transportation Board puts Uber’s application to expand on hold

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Salmon Arm’s Brook Kosick competes in the barrel racing event at a BC High School Rodeo Association rodeo in Quesnel, which was held from June 11-13, 2021. (Cassidy Dankochik - Black Press)
VIDEO: Shuswap rodeo athlete barrels through competition

Salmon Arm rider Brook Kosick thrilled to compete in provincial finals

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A vehicle was fully engulfed in flames before around 11:10 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kerry Hutter - contributed)
VIDEO: Car fire snuffed in Coldstream

Vernon firefighters douse late-night fire near popular lake lookout

Dan Albas
COLUMN: Reopening the international border

Governments in Canada and the United States are working towards reopening plans for the border

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

Most Read