Entertainment: Mr. Dressup Documentary In The Works, Honouring Canada’s Most Beloved Children’s Entertainer

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A new documentary will explore the life of Canada's most legendary children's entertainer, Mr. Dressup.

Mr. Dressup © CBC Still Photo Collection/Paul Smith Mr. Dressup

The alter ego of Ernie Coombs, Mr. Dressup entertained and educated five generations of Canadian youngsters through his iconic CBC daytime series, which aired from 1967 until 1996.

On Thursday, Sept. 29, Prime Video announced the start of production on the new Canadian Amazon Original documentary focusing on Mr. Dressup, with filming to start in fall 2022.

During a television run of nearly 30 years, Coombs delighted youngsters who watched, introducing them to puppets Casey and Finnegan, along with his iconic "tickle trunk," a repository for all manner of inventive costumes.

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"The feature-length documentary celebrates the origins and history of Canada’s favourite children’s show, 'Mr. Dressup', which built a legacy of kindness, patience, inclusiveness, and creativity in 4,000 episodes across 29 years on CBC in Canada," reads the synopsis for the project. "The documentary will combine never-before-seen archival footage, interviews with series puppeteers and musicians, the Coombs family, and other notable Canadians, all sharing the impact the series had on them. The project also includes fascinating insights into Coombs and how he worked with other key creators and partners, including his friendship with Fred Rogers."

“Mr. Dressup holds a special place in the memories of millions, and Ernie, along with his puppet friends Casey and Finnegan, are the cornerstones of childhood entertainment for generations of Canadians,” said Nav Saini, head of content, Canada, Prime Video. “We are thrilled to work with our partners at marblemedia and the CBC to bring Canadian audiences a documentary that serves as a reminder of the power of creativity, the need for compassion, and the importance of playtime, from one of our most important entertainment icons.”

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“This is one of the most iconic Canadian stories to tell as producers in Canada. A story that resonates positive values, an archetype that has changed the future of kids and family entertainment for generations, and shaped countless careers, including my own. And we’re telling it for the first time,” added Mark Bishop, executive producer and co-founder of marblemedia.

“Mr. Dressup was, and continues to be, a fun, creative, kind, and safe show for viewers of all ages. It’s a great honour to share the rich history, cultural significance, and unlimited imagination of the show and its key creators with all of Canada and the entire world,” stated director and writer Rob McCallum.

"We are proud of the enduring legacy of Mr. Dressup and Ernie Coombs, representing the national public broadcaster's long-standing commitment to engage young audiences," said Catherine Tait, president and CEO, CBC/Radio-Canada. "Working alongside our partners at marblemedia and Prime Video, we have no doubt that this new documentary will emotionally move and inspire Canadians of all ages through the celebration of this quintessential children's series and its timeless themes of generosity, playfulness, and creativity."

The Mr. Dressup documentary will release in 2023 exclusively on Prime Video in 240 countries and territories worldwide, followed by a broadcast window on CBC in Canada.

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