Good news! Mr. Ed made good on his promise to rebuild. The museum re-opened on February 5th, 2011 🙂
Sadly, Mr. Gotwalt’s museum was destroyed by fire on July 5, 2010. My heart aches for all of the memorabilia that can never be replaced. Mr. Ed has indicated to local press that he intends to rebuild. I will post updates as I receive them.
Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum
6019 Chambersburg Road
… now we visit the Elephant Museum proper.
Leaving the main part of the retail section and into Mr. Ed’s elephant collection … I absolutely adored the “Big Bingo” poster! (The Biggest Brute That Breathes– what a senstsational tagline!)
Mr Ed’s website site lists a figure of over 6,000 elephants; but a sign on the porch indicates that there are over 10,000 pachyderms . . . and I believe it!
If you visit, you’ll want to stop in the front yard and see “Miss Ellie”. She stands in a little wooded area with benches and flower boxes … and if she catches your movement, she’ll open her eyes and talk to you!
Miss Ellie’s little friend (pictured below) will give you a ride for a few quarters. I must admit that I briefly entertained the notion. Then I imagined the embarrassing 911 call if I fell off. Plus, you just know someone would have captured it on video. It would go viral and I’d become a huge YouTube sensation. Who needs the pressure? 🙂
Around the corner is the backyard of Mr. Ed’s residence. Does anyone else get the notion that he doesn’t do anything small?
As to the snake . . . well, I had a bit of an encounter with what a I believe was a Blue Racer. I didn’t see him until I was practically stepping on his head … but boy, oh boy, did I hear him at the last moment! See my John Madden-esque explanation below.
Now, the movie:I mentioned in the first post that Jean Stapleton and her husband, Bill Putch, owned and operated the nearby Totem Pole Playhouse for years. Their son, John Putch, is an actor, writer, and producer. He spent many summers of his youth in this area and seems to have an enduring affection for it. He wrote, directed, and starred in a film called “Route 30” a few years ago. Mr. Ed himself, as well as his museum, both play a role in the movie.
I bought a copy and watched it a few nights ago. It’s sort of “Cohen Brothers-esque” comedy that features multiple acts. I think it would have worked better as a play than as a movie – but it has its moments. Plus, it was fun to see locations in the Caledonia/South Mountain area that I’m familiar with filmed professionally (particularly Edenville Quarry because it’s closed to the public and I’d never seen it before) . I assume that quite a few of the jokes may fall flat if you aren’t familiar with South Central Pennsylvania colloquialisms, brands, or locations — but, maybe not.