Welcome to another Mascot Interview presented by MascotInsider this time it’s with Dave Raymond let’s begin..
1. What are some of your memories from your first game as the Phillie Phanatic?
Great fear that the same fans that booed Santa Clause and Easter Bunny would turn on me as a green furry Muppet. Actually what happened was the realization about how much fun it was and was going to be. The fans were accepting and a great bond between the Phanatic and the fans began on that night late in April 1978 that continues today almost 36 years later!
2. What kind of advice could you give someone who wants to become a professional mascot, but doesn’t know where to begin?
The best advice I ever received was from my boss Bill Giles on the first night I wore the costume. I was concerned because, up to that point, no one had told me what to do, or maybe even more importantly, what not to do. Bill said, “David…just have fun. If you are not having fun you will not be funny and if you are not funny this will not be successful”. So…everyone who is in this business must make sure it makes them happy and that it is fun for them to do. If not, it will not be a success no matter how talented they are. Also you have to take it seriously. Yes…it is “serious” fun! That means you have to practice and be skilled in your presentation.
3. What happened to the Mascot Hall of Fame? By that I mean it stops with the 2008 inductees why hasn’t it continued?
The Mascot Hall of Fame is alive and well. We are waiting to find the next great mascot to induct. We have to be careful with the Mascots we consider. There may even be a permanent Mascot Hall of Fame in the Chicago area soon.
4. What would you say is the most vaulable part of a mascot program for colleges and sports teams?
The organization must be willing to set it as a priority and budget for success. Remember that your mascot is a living, breathing brand extension not just a “kid in a suit”. You would skimp on the development of your logo and you shouldn’t do that on the one initiative that can go everywhere and remind your, students, fans, customers and employees that you value fun! A mascot can deliver your message with entertainment and make it more memorable than any other form of marketing or advertising.
5. Where did you get the name “Emperor of Fun and Games?”
John Brazer is the Director of Fun and Games for the Philadelphia Phillies. I love the title and decided that if I stole the idea from him I had to make it a title that trumped director so the Emperor of Fun and Games was created! John still gives me a hard time about every time I see him.
6. How did you deal with a crowd that lacked energy?
Crowds that I worked in front of never lacked energy. Fans always want to have fun. That is why they are coming to the game in the first place. They want to be distracted from their problems and struggles for a few hours. The Phanatic was the perfect distraction and I don’t ever remember a crowd that didn’t respond the Phanatic and the other characters that I had the privilege of performing.
7. How did you deal with the times that YOU lacked energy?
Now that is a whole different question! I tried to always remember how lucky I was to have the opportunity to be paid to be an idiot. It was truly the best job on the planet! The best way for me to deal with the lack of my energy was the same as the fan would. I focused on the faces of the fans and kids that were enjoying the character. That provides more energy than you can imagine. I worked through the anguish of losing my mother to cancer while I was performing as the Phanatic and I believe that it helped me recover more quickly mentally and emotionally because of the Philadelphia fans support.
8. What are some of your highlights as a mascot?
To name just few…
Working a funeral as the Phanatic and being successful
Riding in the 1980 World Series Parade as the Phanatic
The Phanatic’s infamous fight with Tommy Lasorda
Working as the Phanatic in LA in front of the Dodger fans
Working as the Phanatic in San Diego in front of the Padre fans
Catching a foul ball in costume when the Phillies were beating the Atlanta Braves during the 1993 playoffs
Rolling out our new character called Sport for Acme Mascots in 1994
9. Who influenced you to become a mascot?
No one! I was just in the right place at the right time. I was an athlete all through high school and college and if someone told me that I would end up becoming a professional mascot I would have told them they were nuts!
10. Do you remember any fans who left a big impression on you during your career?
All of the mentally and physically challenged kids. Nothing was more sobering and gave me better perspective then kids who had so much less that I did in terms of health and they were just as happy as I would ever be! That can certainly wake you up a bit.
Thanks so much to Mr. Dave Raymond for doing an interview with MascotInsider for more information about his company please visit http://raymondeg.com/.