Costumed character

Costumed character
Millie, once costumed character mascot of the City of Brampton in Ontario, Canada, is now the Brampton Arts Council's representative.

A costumed character wears a costume that covers the performer's face. These range from theme park "walk-around" or "meetable" characters, the mascots of corporations, schools, or sports teams to novelty act performers. Some costumes cover the performer's face; others, especially those in theme parks, may leave the performer's face visible.

Contents

In theme parks

They are intended to add to the fantasy experience by enabling visitors to encounter and interact with fictional characters, such as mascots for the company. Meetable characters that have the performer's face visible are allowed to speak (usually following a script by the people who train the performers), while characters that have their faces covered are not allowed to speak and can only communicate through pantomime.[citation needed]

They are a major feature of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, where the most ubiquitous of them is Mickey Mouse, but a wide variety of characters from different media franchises are portrayed at various parks. For example, Disney Parks feature characters from their own library of animated and live-action films as well as characters from George Lucas' Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises; Six Flags parks feature Time-Warner's Looney Tunes cartoons and DC Comics superhero characters;[1]; Cedar Point, Knott's Berry Farm, and other Cedar Fair parks feature Peanuts characters;[2][3] and until recently Kings Island, California's Great America and Canada's Wonderland featured Nickelodeon characters[4][5] (and before that, Hanna-Barbera characters). Some theme parks create their own meetable characters.

The characters are portrayed by park employees in costume. Some of the costumes consist of clothing and makeup (e.g. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Batman), while those for non-human characters generally conceal the performer entirely and include a full-head mask (e.g. Donald Duck, Goofy, Bugs Bunny, Felix the Cat, Woody Woodpecker). Park employee regulations are careful to prevent visitors from seeing performers out of character, and in the case of more elaborate costumes, to be seen "with their head off".

On television

Current shows featuring a costumed character puppet include Big Bird of Sesame Street, Barney from Barney and Friends, and Bear of Bear in the Big Blue House. Less complicated characters include Hip Hop Harry or RAGGS Kids Club Band.

Older examples include New Zoo Revue, H.R. Pufnstuf, Banana Splits, and British series Gophers!.

In films

Industry

The mascot industry is estimated at $5-million a year.[6]

Toronto is one of the hubs in the industry, with six major firms headquartered out of the city.[6]

References



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