Our Shriner Man in Panama.

Strange Sentries: Foreign Muffler Men

Bullet-riddled Muffler Man, left behind on foreign soil?

Brent Thale reported in 1998: "My mom, Colleen Thale, snapped the photo right after the Just Cause Invasion of Panama in December 1989. All I know about it is that it was the mascot of the Abou Saad Shriners' temple in Balboa, Panama for quite a few years before someone (I guess American soldiers) took some potshots at it during the chaos surrounding Just Cause. You can see the hole in his leg and in the wall behind him caused by a large-caliber bullet. I'm not sure how his head got knocked over." [4/12/98]

We know today that his name is "Mr. Shriner," who has since been repaired and moved to a new location in Panama City, Panama.

Report from Puerto Rico

Unconfirmed: I saw one in Caguas, Puerto Rico and believe it still there. I don't have a picture. It's on the Gautier Benitez Avenue in front of a Junior High School. Used to be in front of a gasoline station nearby. Now its on a backyard of a Autobody shop also near the area and not in use, don't know why. Its the one without hat, no beard, blus jeans and red shirt. One hand up and the other down. [G. Ruiz, 11/12/99]

Muffler Man in Venezia, Italy?

A 25 foot guy holding a huge (plastic) bakalava square. A retired Air Force Captain bought him from his grandfather's auto parts store in Indiana in the 1970s. He had the military reimburse his shipping costs to Italy. He declared his man as household goods! He is in the right stance but the hands seemed a little off. The left a little lower than the right. But we can't remember if he had been damaged or not. The owner told us about it during lunch while we were on leave from Germany. Directions: Venice, Italy. From Rialto's Bridge take the Canal Grande past St. Mark's Sqaure. Turn into the third canal past the Square. Go down two more canals to the house of Casanova. Turn left and go straight. The Guy is standing on the gondola deck of the bakery. The only way to the shop is by gondola or freight carrier. [Rachel, 6/26/2001]

Update - May 2004 - According to a tip from several years ago, there was a Muffler Man stationed in Venice, Italy, holding a Baklava. We tried to verify its existence, but were unable to do so. The directions in the tip are confusing, once you try to use them (Venice is confusing enough). For example, there are two "Casanova's Houses." We located the spot that seemed to fit the data best, but the building there had been completely demolished, and the site was being prepared for new construction. [Roadsideamerica.com Team]

Also see: Muffler Men Home Page

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January 19, 2019

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