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In 1996, we had a haunted house that was asylum themed. The idea behind it was that the Mute and Friend
Me as Mute and a Friend From the Post Office
inmates had escaped and killed everyone except each other and were raging though the asylum.After going through the house, I was amazed at how effective this haunted house was, I decided to create a character so I could play too.

One of the problems they had with the Asylum haunted house was that the line area where people waited to be let in had white walls. The project chairperson (my friend Randy) had planned to have all the workers go into the halls and write and paint "non-offensive" graffiti all over the walls before they opened. Unfortunately, he ran out of time - so the waiting area consisted of twenty or thirty yards of white walls. People waiting in line with pens decided to start filling the graffiti need for Randy with writings of the more offensive variety.

So I created this character you see here. He was a "gentle" psychopath who couldn't speak. (I decided to do this so I could keep my voice. Yelling in a haunted house must be one of top ten medical causes of laryngitis.) So this character had to communicate by writing. My "backstory" for this character was that he killed the mailman and stole his outfit - mainly because I had an old mail shirt I could use.

Mute worked the line (communicated with people waiting to get into the haunted house), because he was afraid of the people inside. I would just stroll up to people and stare at them. They would invariably say "What?!" and I'd start writing things on a balloon that Mute Writing on the Walls
Mute Writing Messages to People on the Walls (And the Balloon)
I carried (you can see it at left). The balloon had answers to all the standard sorts of questions like "Yes", "No", "Because" and "I am mute." That way I could just point to them instead of re-writing the same things. Well, people started calling him "Mute" and it stuck. He was a very popular character. I went through a drive through about a month after we closed the haunted house and the drive through girl screamed, "You're Mute! You can talk!"

These photos are actually from the 1997 version of Mute. He was so popular in '96, that we brought him back and left the walls unpainted in the waiting area so I could write stuff on them. (If you squint, you can see some of the stuff I wrote.)

A curious facet of this character were the comments I got from the people waiting in line. I guess all the make-up and hair gel brought my face into stark outline or something and resulted in a number of people suggesting that I looked like other people (some famous, and some completely unknown to anyone but the speaker. It resulted in the following article, which is excerpted from The Tomahawk, Official Publication of the Wyandotte Jaycees, Editorial Nonsuch column, written by yours truly in November, 1997 (p. 2).

"Last month the Haunted House was in full swing (surprise!) and I once again played my mute mailman character...I don't talk, wear face paint and write on...everything...in response to patron's questions.

For some reason, the House brings out the daring in young ladies and face paint apparently even more so. I'm sure all of you have been told you look like someone famous at some time in your life (hopefully not the wrestler George "the Animal" Steele) and I'm no different. Several women accused me of looking like various famous people (must be the face paint) and I thought I'd share some of those with you this month (in other words, I am running out of new humor ideas).

"Let's split up."
"Good Idea, we can do more damage that way."

  1. Bill Murray - You know, I have been told this before. Frankly, I don't see it. He has those puffy cheeks and bad complexion...do I?
  2. Elvis - The young or old version? I hope it's the young version... although all that required beer drinking may be catching up with me (it's one of the required functions of the President, you know. Check out the By-Laws.)
  3. Sting - Sting?! He has a long narrow face and I have a square one! What do they see that I don't? Must be the hair...I used lots gel, I guess, but...Sting?! "Every leaf I rake, Every cake I bake..."
  4. Tom Cruise - I swear! I think she was blind in one eye and couldn't see out of the other. Still, I'm flattered. "I have the need...for speed!" Nah, forget it.
  5. Morpheus - the Greek god of dreams? Well, I guess I could take being a Greek god...although I bet this is a reference to a character from an Anne Rice novel or something.
  6. Ben - Ben. Another person with only one name. Ben? Gentle Ben the bear? Ben the rat? Ben there done that? The world may never know.
  7. Conan O'Brien - This is the one I heard the most. I've heard it before, too. I guess it must be the most accurate...although I don't think I look like him; I think he looks like me.

Now, you might think I would be happy to be told I look like Tom Cruise. But, I think it means I make a poor House monster. People really like the Mute character, but what monster ever had to be told, "Doesn't he have such pretty eyes...?" Bah. I'm a horrible fire breathing dragonesque monster! The Mute Mailman from your nightmares! Scary guy! Boo! "He's kind of cute!" Bah."