Who is that actor made up like a little old man in the Six Flags commercials? How much is real and how much is makeup?
John Bowman, Arlington
Okay, you want to hear the freaky part? As I was leaving the office a couple of weeks ago, whom should I see in the lobby of The Post but Mr. Six.
At least it looked like Mr. Six, which is the name of Six Flags' chrome-domed, nattily dressed geriatric dancer: tuxedo, red bow tie, black-and-white wingtips.
"You have got to be kidding," I said to myself. I had just been talking to the Six Flags people, who are annoyingly coy about their Mr. Six, insisting that he's a real octogenarian rather than an actor (or actress; more on this later) under a whole lot of latex.
"Are you here to see me?" I asked the man. I figured Six Flags had sent him over as some kind of stunt.
It turned out that he wasn't and they hadn't. He was a motivational speaker who was hoping to be represented by The Post's speakers bureau. He asked for anonymity because he's afraid the theme park company will crack down on him as an unauthorized Mr. Six impersonator.
He told me that when the character first showed up on TV last year, his life was hell. Everyone thought he was Mr. Six. Finally he decided to just go with it. And now he dresses as Mr. Six and carries a boombox loaded with "We Like to Party" by the Vengaboys, the song from the commercials.
The thing is, he was getting an incredible response. People in the Post lobby couldn't help but stare. It's a testament to the popularity of the commercials, which were created by Doner Advertising and lauded by Ad Age magazine.
The theme park is intent on keeping the aura of its character intact. This is how my conversation went with Debbie Nauser, the Six Flags vice president of public relations:
Who is Mr. Six? "He's our ambassador of fun."
Uh, okay. What's his first name? "He doesn't really have a first name that we use."
Where does he live? "We usually see him at the Six Flags theme parks. He was in a retirement home until spring came, and then he went to the park."
May I talk to him? "He doesn't speak. He lets us do all the talking. . . . His way of expressing himself is to dance."
Okay, can I dance with him? "You could have danced with him. Right now he's not in D.C."
He looks like he has some medical condition affecting his face. What's wrong with him? "He doesn't have anything wrong with him. We think he's a handsome fellow."
And so on. Several Internet chat boards are feverish with speculation on Mr. Six's true identity. He's Jaleel White, the guy who played Urkel in "Family Matters." No, he's funnyman Andy Dick. No, it's obviously a female dancer who has had ballet training.
One thing we can be sure of is that Six Flags is loving the free publicity that comes from stories like this one. As for Answer Man, he believes Mr. Six is a young man hired for his dance moves and then swathed in prosthetic makeup.
I wonder if you could help me fill in the blanks of my ever-diminishing memory. When I was a kid in the late '60s my parents took me to an amusement park called the Enchanted Forest.
I don't know where it was -- somewhere in Maryland -- but I remember a really big king at the entrance. I have no idea if this place is still open. If it's still around, I'd love to visit again.
Toni Miller, Manassas
The Enchanted Forest was a theme park that opened in 1955 on Route 40 in Howard County. I say "theme" park rather than "amusement" park because there were no rides at the Enchanted Forest. Rather, visitors walked among life-size storybook characters -- Mother Goose, Ole King Cole, the Three Little Pigs, etc.
The park was built by Baltimore hotel developer Howard E. Harrison Sr., who enlisted designer Howard Adler to create the whimsical creations out of papier-mache, cement and fiberglass.
Like many good things, the Enchanted Forest could not last forever. It was closed in the late '80s, and part of it was bulldozed to make way for the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center.
But many of the attractions remained, hidden by fences and overgrowth and looking forlorn. Recently, the owners of the land have allowed the items to be rescued by Clark's Elioak Farm, an Ellicott City farm and petting zoo. They've planned an Enchanted Forest anniversary celebration for Aug. 13 and 14. For info, call 410-730-4049 or visit www.clarklandfarm.com.
Another Enchanted Forest
To the at-risk kids from Washington who attend it, Camp Moss Hollow is enchanted, too. There are no storybook characters, just caring counselors and the great outdoors. Your gift will allow children who otherwise couldn't afford it go to Moss Hollow.
Our goal by Wednesday is $650,000. So far we've raised $290,898. Here's how you can make a tax-deductible contribution:
Make a check or money order payable to "Send a Kid to Camp" and mail it to Family and Child Services, P.O. Box 96237, Washington, D.C. 20090-6237. To contribute online, go to www.washingtonpost.com/johnkelly. Click on the icon that says, "Make a Donation."
To donate by MasterCard or Visa by phone, call 202-334-5100 and follow the instructions on our taped message.
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