If you spent any portion of your childhood around central Iowa between the 50s and the 80s, you were a fan.
“He told funny jokes. One-liners,” laughed longtime fan, Nancy Grow.
“I remember kids in college they’d sit up and watch Floppy. In COLLEGE!" said Kent Carlson of Earlham, "they grew up on Floppy.”
Floppy spent 30 years on WHO with Duane Ellett, and the last 21 behind glass at the historical building, where they now say…
“It’s time for Floppy to take a rest," said curator, Leo Landis, "and so as a museum professional, I know it’s the right thing to do.”
The historical society will give him and his friends – Scary Mary, Mathilde the Bookworm and the others- some much-needed rehab time with conservator, Pete Sixbey, as their current space is used for a new exhibit.
Some fear Floppy’s sabbatical won’t be short.
“I’m afraid it’s not gonna be," said fan, Kerry Ramsey. "I’m afraid he may be gone.”
“Floppy is going to be sitting down there with butterfly collections and scary spider collections and mammoth teeth,” Carlson said.
Carlson took his concerns to Facebook, yesterday afternoon. A day later, his “Save Floppy” page had nearly 4,000 members and pages of pointed comments.
“I think that it’s pretty obvious that the people in charge don’t understand what Floppy has meant to a lot of people,” Carlson said.
Would a museum which depends on visitors purposely shelve a popular exhibit?
“It wasn’t a cavalier decision we made," Landis said, "it was saying ‘what’s our exhibit plan, how can we best preserve him for other generations to enjoy, not just us today?’”
Carlson says the museum handled the decision poorly.
“I think everybody could understand if there needs to be taken down and there needs to be some rotation and there needs to be some repair work done (but) give us a date when you’re gonna put it back.”
The museum won’t say when Floppy might return. It will say that all of this concern and nostalgia is a good thing. It shows Iowans care about their history and are willing to fight to keep it alive.