Harvey The Giant Rabbit
It takes a somewhat warped creative mind to envision a 20-foot-tall man as a 26-foot-tall mutant rabbit man. That mind was Ed Harvey's (1928-2017), and he ran a boat business named Harvey Marine in landlocked Aloha, Oregon.
The story began in October 1962, when a big storm blew through the Pacific Northwest and damaged a fiberglass Texaco Big Friend statue (an obscure kin to the more famous Muffler Man). The owner brought the statue to Harvey Marine and to Ed, who was skilled at fiberglass repair. Ed fixed it, but the owner never returned. The statue lay abandoned at Harvey Marine for years (Ed once hauled it to Lake Oswego and used it as a boat).
Then Ed had a brainstorm. One of his favorite films featured Jimmy Stewart and a giant, invisible rabbit named Harvey. And rabbits supposedly brought good luck. "At boat shows we'd have a guy walk around in a rabbit suit," Ed told us in the 1990s. "Then we got the idea to put a rabbit head on the big man."
That was in 1974, and Harvey has been attracting attention ever since. Ed estimated that 50,000 cars drove past his business daily, and about 1 out of 20 either honked or yelled greetings to the bunny-head behemoth. "We don't encourage honking," said Victoria McCurry, manager, vice-president, and self-described "rabbit master" at Harvey Marine. "If we did, we couldn't hear ourselves think."
Still, by Ed's figuring, that's 2,500 people a day who regard Harvey as something more than fiberglass. And that's not counting those who write letters to Harvey when they're sad, or to tell him how happy he's made their drive along the Tualatin Valley Highway. Victoria keeps a binder filled with the notes and cards that she's found stuck in the front door over the years.
Ed rebuilt Harvey's head several times, modifying his features or repairing damage, according to Victoria. Once, when the head was in the shop over Halloween, Ed playfully put a giant pumpkin in Harvey's upturned palm. Local motorists didn't recognize his reference to Washington Irving and besieged the store with anxious phone calls. "We had all the TV stations out here," Ed said. "People calling, 'Will you explain to my kids why this rabbit has no head?'" Children in the local elementary school reported having nightmares.
Ed's son Mark told us that FBI agents once used Harvey as a rendezvous location. Victoria confirmed the story ("When they want to meet an informant, they need a very specific spot so that there's no misunderstanding"). Harvey has also drawn his share of unwelcome attention. Vandals once broke off his fingers. Another time, Mark recalled, "they stuck a big penis on him." And someone once managed to steal one of Harvey's ears, but the police found it a couple of miles down the road. Harvey Marine was soon awash in get-well cards and flowers. "It's unreal," said Victoria. "I don't know what would happen if he was to go away."
Harvey probably isn't going anywhere. Unlike his namesake, he is too visible to become invisible. "He's grandfathered in," said Mark. "He's a national landmark."