Mr Benn - As if By Magic

Sad news last week of the passing of David McKee, creator of Mr Benn, who featured in books and a TV series. Like many children's characters, Mr Been may be fondly remembered by some and totally unknown to others. Put simply, Mr Benn was a gentleman in a pin-stripe suit who lived a double life - with the help of his local fancy-dress shop.

When the opportunity arose, Mr Benn would slip into the shop and, 'as if by magic' (with the help of a costume) transform into a character such as a pirate, a knight or a spaceman and have an adventure before transformng back. At a time when parents did not have as much time as they did 'back in the day' to create home-made costumes, and before the age of the Internet, the books/programmes inspired young minds and many a costume-hir shop benefited (there were even a few outlet's calling themselves 'Mr. Benn's'

Mr Mc Kee also created Elmer, the patchwork elephant, and those living in the Maidstone area will recall that the town was invaded by multi-coloured replicas of this popular character in aid of charity.

Mr Benn and his costumes hark back to a simpler time of costuming before Marvel or Potter franchises took over but his ethos lives on in eople's enthusiasm for 'getting out of themselves'.

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