Saturday, December 13, 2008

Archie The Talking Snowman

Archie the Talking Snowman was a 20 foot tall snowman with huge red glowing eyes that appeared every holiday season inside Chapel Hill Mall in Akron Ohio for 35 years. Sadly, when the mall came under new management in 2004 they got rid of him. My parents took me and my brother to see Archie every year when we were kids and I took my son when he was young. You would walk up a little ramp to a microphone that was in front of him and tell him what you wanted for Christmas. And the amazing thing is HE WOULD TALK BACK TO YOU! How cool is that? Then you would take a piece of candy from a bucket and be on your merry way. Who needed Santa when you could see Archie the Talking Snowman?

Unfortunately we never got any photos of Archie and I can't find any on the internets. Does anybody have any memories or photos of Archie? If you do, please post them in the comments.

Here's a couple of photos from Chapel Hill Mall I found online --

The carousel in the food court

JC Penney


Anonymous said...

I posted this at FaLaLaLaLa:

Raven176 said...

Wow, Nice job there!
Long live Archie!

Anonymous said...

The anchor store (Lazarus?) in Castleton Mall in Indianapolis, IN had something similiar. It was a talking tree. I don't remember it being a christmas tree, just a regular tree. I do remember being a little unnerved the first time I was asked to talk to it, but had several fond memories past that. It had to be in the early 70's or late 60's

ferris said...

Here's the Beacon Journal column that David Giffels wrote in 2004. It's not on the free/non-member part of any more, but you can look it up via library access...

Akron Beacon Journal (OH) - Thursday, November 11, 2004
Author: David Giffels

Archie ?

Archie ?

Can you hear us? Don't worry, buddy. We haven't given up on you yet.

Somewhere out there in the commercial wilderness, Chapel Hill Mall's beloved 20-foot talking snowman sits in cold storage. He's down, but not necessarily out.

As I reported recently, the mall's new ownership has decided to retire the 35-year-old local icon. With cookie-cutter mall Santas now settling into their thrones, the one-of-a-kind Archie is notably absent. I (hopelessly nostalgic) think this is a bad thing. So, apparently, do many of you.

One local mom offered to put up Archie in her front yard. (Gracious, but not practical.)

A Tallmadge man, whose courtship ritual has included visiting the talking snowman with his fiancee, suggested a Save Archie Foundation.

Meanwhile, the snowman languishes in exile.

Chapel Hill is not going to change its mind, but the mall's management has not directly dismissed the possibility of donating Archie to some community group that would give him a new home.

"We haven't even explored that yet," said Sandra Heymann, a spokeswoman for the mall's new owner, Tennessee-based CBL & Associates Properties.

So for anyone interested in saving Archie , this would be a good time for a good idea. And some sweat equity -- Heymann said Archie is in bad shape.

"He needs to go back to the North Pole. He's not safe," she said. " Archie 's body structure has worsened over the past few years and is in a serious state of disrepair. You'd have to rebuild him completely."

So here's what Archie would need. A sponsor willing to take over the snowman operation. (A competing mall, obviously, is out of the question.) A public setting with 20 feet of head room. A few handy souls who can put him together again.

The response from readers has been passionate, if not overwhelming. I heard from about 15 Archie fans, uniformly dismayed. (An old newspaper rule of thumb is that for every reader who picks up the phone, you can count on 100 others who feel the same way.) Many who called and wrote were parents who grew up with Archie and have carried on the tradition.

"Tell me it's not so!" pleaded Edie Shultz of Mogadore.

The 39-year-old mother of 6-year-old twins has fond memories of visiting Archie as a child, approaching the giant snowman to unload her wish list. Each holiday season since her children were born, she has returned.

"They just asked last week if Archie was going to come around," Shultz said. "What can we do?"

Edward Nime has an even more intimate connection to Archie . In 1999 and 2000, he worked evening shifts, providing the voice of Archie through a hidden microphone. His reason?

"My daughter and nephews," he wrote in an e-mail.

His little girl was 2 the first year he worked. His nephews were 2 and 5.

"I told my family and wife-to-be that I always wanted to be the voice of the snowman that we remembered as children," he continued. "It was fun, seeing kids I knew and calling them by name. You could see that they actually thought their time with him was special, even if it was a minute or two."

Nime's day job precluded him from continuing, but this year he'd planned to return with a new motivation -- his 2-year-old son.

"If Archie is moved to another location, you can bet yourself that it will be a welcomed addition at any holiday spot, and that I would love to be the first one to make those giant eyes flash when he first speaks!"

I've made a couple of inquiries to groups I thought might be a good fit, but so far nothing has panned out. But you probably have better ideas than I do. If you send them to me and I think they have merit, I'll forward them to the mall's management.

-- end --

Remnants of the Storm said...


In order to keep Archie in our thoughts for the Akron and Summit Portage area
I have started two pages for Archie lovers. One open - for kids of all ages
this one -

And a closed group adults can join so they can speak as adults about their memories and not worry about offending anyone * well , keep it respectable and friendly OK ?

Ir is at;
Archie Snow Man at Chapel Hill Akron
An Open group for those who remember with love Archie the Snowman of the Chapel Hill scene in Akron Ohio. Please keep it nice and fun for everyone. Especially the kids and us grown up kids too ! OK?...

Abd Eric, could we link to one of your Archie Pictures for the groups. Archie pics seem hard to find.

And I am trying hard to find Raul Umana the Voice and heart of Archie for so many years.

Adrian D'Alessio

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