I got an interesting e-mail in response to the piece about Mike Edgett, creator of Geoffrey the Giraffe. “North Lake Drive” writes:
I read the Daily Progress story noted in cvillenews about the creator of Geoffrey the Giraffe. While the man in the story no doubt created the ads for Toys R Us, there is some controversy (as always!!) about the real “creators” of the beloved character. You see, my friend, Mary Ritts, and her husband, Paul, created Sir Geoffrey the Giraffe in the 1950’s as a puppet. Sir Geoffrey and his other puppet pals (including Magnolia the Ostrich) are probably best known as the stars of several Better Business Bureau public service announcements that aired during the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Toys R Us has never acknowledged the existence of the Ritts Puppets and their Geoffrey, as far as I know, so it may just be a coincidence. To be sure, Geoffrey is an easily-given name for a giraffe.
At any rate, here’s a photo of an album that the Ritts Puppets did long ago. It features Sir Geoffrey the Giraffe. I think the similarities are remarkable. Judge for yourself!