Ernie Coombs was the host of this simple show (1967–96) as Mr. Dressup on the CBC television network. With his puppet friends, originally Casey and his dog Finnegan, he taught pre-school subjects with games, music and simple activities. To add to the fun, Mr. Dressup would always open up his tickle trunk, which contained any costume for any role he wanted.Although it was a show for children, Coombs never had children on the show, only puppets and occasionally teenagers. In show business, young children have a long history of doing unpredictable things.Mr. Dressup is a Canadian icon as much as Mister Rogers' Neighborhood is in the US, which is logical enough considering Coombs was Rogers' understudy when the former worked on the CBC. Seriously, show some aspect of the program to any Canadian who grew up with a television set in the time period of its airing, and you'll get a boatload of heartfelt memories of watching it.
This show provides examples of:
- Ambiguous Gender: Casey.
- The Dreaded: The Terrible Tootle Troll strikes fear into everyone's hearts... but it's just Mr. Dressup.
- Infinite Supplies: The tickle trunk never ran out of costumes and props even if they were never put back in.
- Long Runners: Nearly 30 years!
- Once an Episode: Mr. Dressup would put a costume to match with the theme of the day's episode, and the puppet characters would pretend to be fooled.
- Pink Means Feminine: The girliest puppet, Truffles, is bright pink all over, resembling cotton candy.
- The Voiceless: Finnegan.
- South of the Border Equivalent: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Justified as Coombs worked with Fred Rogers in an early precursor to both shows.
- The Trickster: Chester the Crow is often cooking up some sort of prank.