Considering The Mutant
Frankenstein's Monster, towering over a miniature golf course and batting cage at Haunted Trails in Burbank, Illinois, might appear at first glance to be a Muffler Man. The hand configuration is certainly within spec, but closely examine the face. The jaw is hardly of Muffler Man caliber -- weak, tentative. A grimace is sculpted where there should be an M-Man's icy grin. The ears are squashed and ridiculous.
Instead of brawny, American-working-man shoulders, his are pointy and useless.
Perhap not a Muffler Man... What, then? Frankenstein's monster? Since when did he need a battleaxe -- and a tie?
Friends -- here is our theory. We believe him to be one of a hardy breed of 2nd or 3rd generation mutant muffler men .
Not created in the early 1960's like most other muffler men -- but today! Or, a few short years ago. Who would possess the skill, the nerve to fashion a Frankenmuffler , adapting fabrication secrets from the original Muffler spawn?
We have our suspicions. One possibility is the FAST Corporation, legendary fiberglass artisans. On a visit several years ago to their fiberglass works in Sparta, WI, we spotted some interesting items.
This Trashcan Ghost may seem harmless enough, stowed with the molds out back at FAST. But, nearby -- a Frankenstein head! And a giant hamburger, an octopus, and a globe on a stick! Now, five years later, in Bridgeview Illinois, we see six Trashcan Ghosts, surrounding Frankenmuffler!
Haunted Trails is an arcade and game center chain. We suspect there are other Frankenmufflers. Let us know what you've seen!
Update, August 2002: Tipster Crystal G. Tabor-Kosak recalls her early encounters with the Frankenmuffler: "I grew up a few blocks away from Haunted Trails in Bridgeview. I played miniature golf there throughout my entire childhood, and my only hole-in-one happened between the towering sprawled legs of the Frankenstein. I am 25 years old, and the Frankenstein has been there, in that exact pose and paint colors, for as long as I can remember. The park has been re-done several times, but the Frankenstein has always been present. The same is true of the Trashcan ghosts. To try to pin down a date, I consulted with my mother, who moved to Bridgeview in 1967. She was not sure exactly when Haunted Trails opened (late 60’s or very early 70’s), but she thought Frankenstein was there from the beginning. The earliest proof I have is a picture of my older brother at the putt-putt taken in 1977. The Frankenstein has been present at Haunted Trails for at least 25 years."
Address: 7759 S. Harlem Ave., Burbank, IL
Directions: Haunted Trails. North side of town, on the east side of Hwy 43/S. Harlem Ave. just north of W. 79th St.