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Mr. Dressup to go off the air

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 14, 2006 | 4:08 PM ET

The tickle trunk will be closed for the last time in September, as CBC officially retires Mr. Dressup.

As of July 3, the show moves from every weekday at 11 a.m. to Sunday morning only and the last broadcast of the much-loved children's show takes place Sept. 3.

Ernie Coombs with Casey and Finnegan — no more reruns for the much-loved show.
Ernie Coombs with Casey and Finnegan — no more reruns for the much-loved show.

The late Ernie Coombs began the show in 1967, delighting children with puppets Casey and Finnegan and a tickle trunk full of costumes and intriguing objects.

The last episode of the show was made in 1996 and it has been rerun ever since. Coombs died in 2001 of a stroke.

The gentle pace of the show may be falling out of favour with Canadian children. Ratings have been in decline, said Jeff Keay, CBC's head of media relations.

"The thinking is that 11 years of reruns is enough. We have to think about other things to do with our children's programming," he said.

The show enchanted 500,000 preschool children daily in the 1970s. Coombs and puppeteer Judith Lawrence wrote and performed the show until 1990.

Coombs, trained as an artist, led children in arts and crafts, accompanied by two puppet companions, the inquisitive orange-haired Casey and Finnegan, his grey, floppy-eared dog. Finnegan never spoke except to "whisper" in Casey's ear.

New puppet friends Granny, Annie, Truffles and others joined the show in 1990 when Lawrence retired.

Episodes will continue to be available on DVD.

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