Wednesday, June 19, 2013

USGA declares Merion the Librarian mascot a 'frightening failure'

Above: The Merion the Librarian mascot high-fives fans while following 2013 U.S. Open runner-up Phil Mickelson.
Ardmore, PA--Everybody knows The Music Man, or so the United States Golf Association (USGA) and Merion Golf Club thought. The organizers and host of the just-completed U.S. Open were positive that the catchy songs and lovable characters of the 1957 Broadway musical (and the 1962 and 2003 films) would connect with all fans young and old. In 1993, the musical was celebrated on an episode of the Simpsons, where the salesman was peddling monorails instead of musical instruments. One of the main characters from the musical was Marian Paroo (Marian the Librarian), the love interest of salesman/con man Harold Hill. Merion teamed up with the USGA to create a Merion the Librarian mascot to meander the course to encourage "library speaking voice volumes." "We wanted a well-known character that fans could relate to, that was a play on the club's name, and encouraged quietness and proper behavior on the course. We also wanted a character that would be kid-friendly," said Merion's director of fan relations, Darryl Evanston. Well, for four days, Merion the Librarian said not a word to the throngs of golf enthusiasts that packed the East Course, but only put her left index finger to her lips to indicate quiet. "Yeah, it backfired big time," continued Evanston, referring to the creation of the mascot. "She scared the crap out kids and just generally made everyone uncomfortable for nearly a week." The USGA and Merion admitted that the reputation of Philadelphia fans was one of the main reasons behind the making of the mascot. "The crowds were absolutely fantastic, and, much to our misjudgment, it had nothing to do with Merion the Librarian.
Above:  Marian and Harold in the 1962 film: The Music Man

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