THE MISSING MENACE
The Missing Dennis has been found and is now on its way back to Monterey. That’s the headline. The story is that a statue of Dennis the Menace was commissioned by Dennis’ creator, Hank Ketcham, in 1988 and went on display in Monterey, California at the Dennis the Menace Playground, which was designed by Ketcham. Then during the night of October 25, 2003, the bronze statue (3½ feet high, 200 pounds) went missing. It remained missing until August 22 this year when it was found in a scrap metal yard in Orlando, Florida. Dennis was going to be melted with the rest of the scrap but the owner’s daughter noticed it and recognized Dennis. Then she searched the Web and found stories about the missing Monterey Dennis. But was the one in the scrap heap the missing one?
Three more bronze Dennises were cast from the same mold made by Wah Ming Chang, who directed in his will that the mold be destroyed after his death in 2003. The other three are at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, the Pebble Beach backyard of Ketcham, and the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando. But the latter is also missing: it disappeared in the late 1990s during a Disney renovation of the playground where it stood.
So the one found in the scrap metal yard could be the Arnold Palmer Dennis, not the Monterey Dennis. The Monterey Playground at present has another Dennis statue, cast from a mold made from one of the other sculptures. So there are five Dennis statues altogether, and one of them is still missing.
Here’s a picture of the one that was found (and pictures of the Archie Andrews cast, for an explanation of which, wait for the next posting.)