August 1, 2017
Happy Birthday to that northwest icon, symbol of blatant commercialism, and
resident of Long Beach… Jake the Alligator Man!
How fun it was, on August 1, 2014, to be at Long Beach and join in the parade for Jake’s 75th birthday, be given free cupcakes and really celebrate this once in a lifetime event.
Or not. As it turns out the town of Long Beach celebrates Jake’s 75th birthday EVERY year and has been doing so for the past 11 years. So maybe it’s really Jake’s 86th birthday? Call me cynical but I’m starting to think that this is all a ploy for tourists to spend more money on Jake gear and at local motels and restaurants.
And his birthday is not always on August First but seems to coincide with whichever date the first Saturday in August might fall.
Jake’s murky beginnings are just that, murky. What we do know is that Jake was purchased in 1967 for $750 from an antique dealer. He has ‘lived’ at Marsh’s Free Museum ever since.
I feel pretty certain that I probably saw Jake that first year as my family spent many a summer on the Peninsula. Shopping at Marsh’s during a Long Beach visit is a must. Although Jake was once relegated to a dusty corner along with the two-headed calf and the shrunken head, he now has a whole display area with a variety of t-shirts, bumper stickers, posters, key chains and glassware dedicated to the Gatorman. And Creepy Dolls like him also.
The Infallible Wikipedia has done a poor job of telling the whole history of Jake. What’s up with that?
So I will skip them this week and instead share the article which catapulted Jake into legend status back in 2008 when the World Weekly News published an article titled “Manigator Found.”
“MIAMI, Florida — The discovery of a bizarre half-human, half-alligator in the Florida Everglades has flabbergasted scientists who say the creature is alive, at least moderately intelligent and possibly even a distant ancestor of modern man!
That’s the world from paleontologist Dr. Paul Ledbrader, who studied the creature in his laboratory for almost three hours before state wildlife officials seized the 5-foot, 11-inch, 180-pound beast and airlifted it to a research facility just west of Miami.
Nobody at the state wildlife commission is talking. But Dr. Ledbrader says the U.S. Forest Service sent no fewer than five experts to the facility to study the reptile in the hope of determining exactly where it came from — and what it might be.
‘I know what it isn’t — and that’s an ordinary alligator,’ said Dr. Ledbrader.”
To read more of their amazing discovery, click here:
Be sure to make plans to attend Jake’s 12th annual 75th birthday party in 2018: http://jakethealligatorman.com/
Sadly, Jake’s birthday celebration – scheduled for Saturday, August 1st – was cancelled. But that did not stop Mr. Gator from donning a birthday hat, a couple feather boas, and celebrating with friends and fans who might happen to stop by his house. Of course, HE was NOT socially distancing but this friend was. Perhaps next year. Be sure to mark your calendars for August 7, 2021. It’ll be a party.