Amazon’s Prime Video is bringing the story of Canada’s most famous children’s entertainer to the world. The streamer has confirmed the start of production on an untitled “Mr. Dressup” documentary, based on the life and career of Ernie Coombs.
The doc will celebrate the origins and history of the children’s show and its legacy of valuable lessons. In addition to including insights into the relationship with Rogers, the project uses unseen archival footage, interviews with series puppeteers and musicians, the Coombs family, and other notable Canadians who discuss the impact the series had on them.
Rob McCallum (“Power of Grayskull: The Definitive History of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe”) directs and co-writes with Jordan Morris (“Nintendo Quest”).
American-born Coombs came to Canada in the early 1960s as one of Fred “Mister” Rogers’ puppeteers for the 1961-64 CBC children’s program “Misterogers.” Coombs then immigrated to Canada and hosted his own children’s programs, “Butternut Square” and the Gemini-winning “Mr. Dressup.”
“Mr. Dressup” ran from 1967 to 1996, a 29-year-run that included 4,000 episodes, a famous tickle trunk, and a treehouse that lodged the memorable puppets Casey and Finnegan (played by Judith Lawrence). The series ended when Coombs announced his retirement. Shortly after he was invested into the Order of Canada.
Coombs died following a stroke in 2001 at the age of 73.
Marblemedia is producing the feature-length project in association with original “Mr. Dressup” broadcaster CBC, Hawkeye Pictures and Pyre Productions for a 2023 release exclusively on Prime Video. A broadcast window on CBC in Canada will follow.
“Mr. Dressup” was, and continues to be, a fun, creative, kind and safe show for viewers of all ages. It’s a great honor 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,” McCallum said in a release.
“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,” added Nav Saini, head of content, Canada, Prime Video.
“This is one of the most iconic Canadian stories to tell as producers in Canada,” said Mark Bishop, executive producer and co-founder of Marblemedia. “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.”