Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum Part Deux

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
Route 30
Orrtanna, Pennsylvania

If you missed “Part One’, click here

… 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?

Still with me? If you were paying attention to the Part 1 post of the Mr. Ed’s visit, you remember that I mentioned something about snakes & movie locations.

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.

Links of interest:
Mr. Ed’s Museum Official site (Old-school midi music warning!)
Route 30 (the movie) Official site
Route 30 on IMDB

4 thoughts on “Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum Part Deux

  1. Oh I know I posted about Mr. Ed’s fire today too, but seeing your photos my heart just ACHES! So sad that such a collection can be gone, just-like-that. I swear when I’m out thrifting I’m going to look for elephants to send him!

  2. I have made the annual pilgrimmage to Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum (and candy shop) for several years now and this really makes me sad. I’d like to help out, if I can, and send Mr. Ed Gotwalt an elephant of my own that he can add to his new collection. Do you know if he’s ready to receive donations yet?

    1. Erica –
      From what I understand, a few people have already delivered elephants to Mr. Gotwalt’s house (which is beside the old store).

      I have emailed the Gotwalt’s and sent them a snailmail card. I think I’m going to hold off bringing him an elephant (I have one picked-out already) until things are a little more settled. I imagine things are stressful enough without figuring out where to store new elephants.

      He intends to rebuild (and quickly!) I’ll try to keep everyone posted as new details are available 🙂

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