.

FAQ #24
(
Freddy's Disguises FAQ)


Notice
Regarding the Freddy Chronology Chart in FAQ #23

I thank Mr. Forrest Bede, a professed non-FOFer, but nevertheless an astute student of the Freddy books and Mr. Eha's Place, who has pointed out some information about North Pole which I, in my dotage, missed. See my comments (in red) in the entry for North Pole. He also pointed out some erroneous conclusions and calculations on my part. If you have an idle moment or two, you can check out the consequent additions and revisions in the chart. There will no doubt be other revisions suggested by other readers as time goes by, so check back now and then. Click here: FAQ #23.


Question: Do you have any more Boomschmidt circus memorabilia? If so, please, is any of it for sale? I am a serious collector of circus keepsakes, and I promise you'll never see anything you might sell me later on eBay!


The greatest show in central New York!

Answer: Other than the poster and the pencil box giveaway, I have this ticket from a show in 1950. I remember buying it earlier that week and then coming down with a terrible summer cold and being unable to attend. I used the ticket as a bookmark for years. When the questions about Boomschmidt artifacts came rolling in after I published the picture of the old poster, I remembered that I had last seen it in my copy of Edwin Abbott's Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. Maybe I do have some other circus stuff, but it's probably up in the attic, and if I start looking for it, I know I'll start cleaning out the attic, and do I really want to do that? No, I don't. If I happen to run across any more circus stuff in the course of my normal activities, I'll publish it, but none of the circus stuff is for sale. I have the poster nicely framed now and hanging in my study. I use the pencil box for--guess what? The ticket goes right back in Flatland. The only items I ever sell are surplus from EHA Industries and assorted odds and ends at my annual Internet Yard Sale, the next one of which will occur in Spring 2000.

Question: I know you do not hold the Freddy series in high regard, but are there any juvenile book series that you do like?
Answer: Well, yes, there are. I may have covered this topic to some extent somewhere else on this site, but I don't remember how much or where, so I'll give you the short list. These books are splendidly written and delightful to read...much better than the rubbishy twaddle that comprises most of children's so-called "literature" these days. I like the Mushroom Planet series and the Catfish Bend books.

Question: I'm one of those people without a complete Freddy collection. I know he assumes many disguises throughout the series, and I'd like to know what all of them are. Can you please help?
Answer: Only because I'm staying inside this blustery, rainy day with nothing better to do! I don't know that I have them all in my research notes, but the list below is fairly complete. Not all of the costumes Freddy wears could be described as "disguises" either--"get-ups" would be a more appropriate term in some cases, and I will include some of them, too.

Titles

Descriptions of Freddy's Disguises, Get-ups, and Aliases

Florida Traveling home from their adventures in the South, the animals disguise themselves to get by the two men who had earlier taken Hank and Mrs. Wiggins prisoner. Freddy sports a shawl and painted-on spectacles.
North Pole "A villainous-looking Chinese mask...touched up with some radium paint so that it glowed fearsomely in the dark" and a sheet are what Freddy wears as the animals try to frighten the sailors away so that Santa Claus may resume normal operations.
Detective A false mustache, pipe, Sherlock Holmes cap, and an old suit of Mr. Bean's are just the garb for detecting!
Freginald A wild boar with a "black stripe down his back, a sharp nose, and two wicked-looking tusks that made his upper lip curl into a ferocious sneer" = a disguise Freddy briefly wears during his investigation of "Mr. Hackenmeyer."
Clockwork An old gingham dress of Mrs. Bean's, a sunbonnet, two corkscrew curls, black lace mitts, and a shopping bag--that's Freddy's disguise when he looks for Byram at the orphanage in Dutch Flats. 
Politician He dons "...the white robe of an Arab sheik" which he wears in Mrs. Wiggins' parade. Also when he escapes from imprisonment and hides from the woodpeckers he wears basically the same disguise he invented in Clockwork: "an old gingham dress of Mrs. Bean's, a sunbonnet into which were pinned two long corkscrew curls, a pair of black lace mitts, and a shopping bag with a picture of the Bridge of Sighs on it." He gives the name "Mrs. Bridget O'Halloran from Dutchman's Meadows" when offered a ride by Jason Binks, the detective hired by Mr. Weezer of the Centerboro National Bank.
Weedly He plays Sherlock Holmes (suitably attired) in the play the animals put on. He also puts on "his favorite disguise of a sunbonnet and an old dress of Mrs. Bean's" and lies in the road to impede the Snedeckers' flight with the silver teapot.
Perilous From a scarecrow Freddy steals a long-tailed black coat and striped trousers, a high silk hat, and white cotton gloves. The scarecrow's white cloth head is turned into a stock which he wears around his neck, and the crosspiece becomes a cane. Thusly attired and when talking to the sheriff, Freddy calls himself "Jonas P. Whortleberry from Orinoco Flats."

Hiding out from the police at Boomschmidt's circus, Freddy wears "Abdullah's" turban and robe and darkens his face with Bill Wonks's hair dye.

News Freddy poses as the sheriff's nephew, "Longfellow Higgins," and dresses in Mr. Bean's old-fashioned boy's sailor suit.

At Mrs. U.'s party, Freddy avoids capture by appropriating Senator A. P. Blunder's long black coat and wide-brimmed black hat.

Ignormus Going up to the Big Woods with Theodore to find the Ignormus, Freddy gets himself up as a hunter in a suit with bright yellow and green checks that had been cut down to size for him by Mrs. Bean. There is a matching cap. Freddy "borrows" Mr. Bean's gun as a prop. In this guise he calls himself "O'Houlihan" when playing with Minx's mind.
Camphor Not a disguise to be sure, a smock and beret comprise Freddy's artist's outfit.

Freddy wears a dark suit and cap of Mr. Camphor's to make himself less visible while framing the Winches and while posing as the Winches' nephew.

Popinjay The improved scarecrow 's outfit from Perilous is what Freddy wears to Mrs. Church's niece's wedding. He has added Mr. Bean's best necktie (red velvet with hand-painted calla lilies) and a pink rose to complete the ensemble. Mr. Pontoon, the groom's father, mistakes him for Ambassador Dunkle.
Piper To keep warm while walking to Centerboro, Freddy wears an old shawl he borrows from Mrs. Bean. He wears this same shawl and affects his terrible Irish brogue when hitchhiking to Tallmanville to rescue Leo. Adding black gloves, assuming the name "Mrs. J. Perkins Vandertwiggen," and dropping the accent, he takes on Mrs. Guffin, who holds Leo prisoner.
Magician A loud checkered sports coat serves as Freddy's magician's coat throughout the book.

The old-fashioned sailor suit of News is tried on, but not used to disguise Freddy as Ollie Groper's nephew, "Marshall Groper." Instead, Freddy wears an Indian suit "complete with feathered war bonnet and fringed leggings" which he purchases at the Busy Bee Department Store.

When visiting the jail, he disguises himself as "a poor widdy woman," Mrs. O'Halloran, wife of the late Patrick.

Freddy wears the war bonnet and his magician's coat to Zingo's performance.

Camping As Dr. Henry Hopper "from the city," Freddy goes camping dressed in a lumberman's flannel shirt with big black and red checks, a pair of blue work pants, red and white striped woolen socks, high-laced boots, and an old-fashioned coonskin cap that once belonged to Mr. Camphor's grandfather, a trapper.

Phones "Mr. Eha "and represents himself as "Horace Green, formerly proprietor of the Ocean House at Wophasset, Massachusetts."

To further investigate "Mr. Eha," poses as "Henry Hopper, M.D." and dresses in a derby hat and black suit he borrows from Mr. Camphor. To complete the ensemble, he carries a medicine case.

In a dress with big roses all over it, a floppy garden hat, and high-heeled shoes, Freddy investigates Joe Platt at his niece's wedding at 22 Elm Street, believing him to be "Mr. Eha."

Putting a dent in his derby, Freddy disguises himself as a plumber to get away from the cook who has discovered him in the cellar at 22 Elm.

Football When investigating Aaron Doty, Freddy poses as Mrs. Aaron Doty (Bridget) in an old woman disguise--bonnet, skirt, spectacles, and black cotton gloves and again employs his "terrible Irish brogue."

Later he tries to pass himself off to Herb Garble as Aaron Doty, dressed in a too-big, bright checked suit, hat, and black beard. He puts a pebble in his mouth to disguise his voice.

Freddy goes to school in brown pants, blue sweater, and a green cap.

Cowboy On a search for adventure, Freddy wears a red and green checked suit that Mr. Bean had bought in Paris. Of course, Mrs. Bean has cut it down to size.

Freddy's cowboy get-up consists of a bright red shirt with yellow and blue lightning flashes, a water pistol, and Zingo's gun (loaded with blanks).

As "Snake Peters" from "Buzzard's Gulch, Wyoming," Freddy wears a false mustache; a wig with lank, long, black hair like General Custer; a green shirt with a yellow pistol design; and a new gunbelt studded with rhinestones. Later when visiting the jail, he tells the sheriff and prisoners that he's from "Squealing Snake, Wyoming."

Fleeing from Cal Flint, Freddy masquerades as a salesgirl in the Busy Bee. He pins his wig up, yanks off the rat-tail mustache, rouges his cheeks, makes an "enormous Cupid's bow mouth...with lipstick," applies eye shadow, and pulls a scarf over his shoulders.

Rides Again In this sequel Freddy's cowboy outfit consists of jeans, boots, a thunder and lightning shirt, gun belt, ten-gallon hat, and his water pistol and Zingo's gun. As the "Comanche Kid" from "Spavin Creek, Texas," he adds a thin rat-tail mustache and a shoulder-length black wig.

When scouting around for Billy Margarine, Freddy wears an old raincoat of Mr. Bean's and a punched-in hat.

Pilot Donning a new disguise obtained from Mrs. Winfield Church, Freddy wears "a thin dress with big flowers on it, and high-heeled shoes, and a very broad-brimmed picture hat with a veil. It was a sort of garden party outfit."

While detecting Mr. Condiment, Freddy, as "Lorna Del Pardo," a.k.a. "Lorna the Leopard Woman," puts on a Spanish accent and a Spanish dancer's costume consisting of a long, full, black skirt, high-heeled shoes, a shawl, flat hat, castanets, and a rose between his teeth.

Spaceship "Captain Neptune" is Freddy's alias as he passes himself off as an extraterrestrial visitor. He paints his face blue, sticks a heavy black false beard upright on his head, glues on the "Snake Peters" rat-tail mustaches as eyebrows, and dons his Busy Bee space suit. 
Men from Mars Pumping the rats who are disguised as Martians for information, Freddy wears a trench coat and Bill Wonks's felt hat as he poses as a representative of the U.S. Immigration Bureau.
Baseball Team To check Mr. Anderson out, Freddy assumes the name "Henry Arquebus" and attires himself in: a long, black, old-fashioned Prince Albert Coat that Mr. Bean had worn at his wedding; black trousers and old, shapeless felt hat; a white wig and long beard; Mrs. Bean's father's spectacles; a corncob pipe; and a cane.

Freddy becomes "a creature" as he drapes a plum-colored cape with a hood over himself after blowing his cover while hiding in Mrs. Church's closet and eavesdropping on Mr. Anderson and Mrs. Church.

Freddy becomes "Bridget 'Bridie' O'Halloran," posing as a cook to infiltrate the Kurtz's house and free Squeak-squeak.  His get-up will seem familiar: an old gingham dress of Mrs. Bean's, sunbonnet, black mitts, and two "handsome chestnut curls" pinned to the sunbonnet.  Of course he affects his infamous Irish brogue.

Dictator When spying on the animal revolutionaries at the old Grimby house, Freddy wears a black morning coat, gray striped trousers, a derby, and a dark false beard.

Freddy dresses in the Dr. Hopper disguise and further embellishes it with a curly wig and a false beard trimmed to a point when attempting to help Camphor get out of running for governor.

The camping outfit complete with a bright checked shirt and a coonskin cap is resurrected when Freddy goes to find Camphor, who is hiding out with the Indians.

Saucer To avoid capture by the State Police (so that the spies can steal the saucer plans from him), Freddy dresses up in a farmer's hat and overalls and poses as the farmer in whose house he is hiding.

Freddy wears an elaborate gypsy disguise as "Zelda Field," wife of Jasper Field (a.k.a. Bill Wonks) to fool the foreign spies. The costume consists of a bright colored skirt Mrs. Bean had once shortened for him, a black wig with two long braids, two brass curtain rings for earrings, a red and green scarf, and gloves stuffed with sand. To complete his illusion, he dyes himself with butternut water. He and Bill Wonks ride in an old-fashioned gypsy caravan that Madame Delphine had once owned.

By the way, on page 196 of my edition, there is an explanation of why no one ever seems to notice that Freddy, when disguised, has a pig's nose : "It always seemed to Freddy's friends that in even the most elaborate of his disguises, his nose should have given him away. It was not a human nose, it was a pig's nose. But Freddy in disguise was like those puzzle pictures that are captioned: 'What is wrong with this picture?' You have to hunt for the detail that is wrong. And there was no caption under Freddy. You saw a gypsy woman--the swarthy complexion, the black braids, the head tied in a bright scarf, the big earrings, the full, gaudy skirts. People see what they expect to see. You never noticed the pig's nose."

Dragon Freddy goes undercover for the last time as "Peppercorn 'Peppy' Talcum," Mrs. Talcum's grandson from Syracuse.  He wears the sailor suit that had belonged to the young William Bean topped off with a round hat with a black ribbon upon which "H.M.S. Inscrutable" was written in gold letters.

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