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Mr. Cartoon celebrates his 90th birthday

Herald-Dispatch file photo  Jules Huffman in costume as Mr. Cartoon.
Herald-Dispatch file photo
Jules Huffman in costume as Mr. Cartoon.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — In all the world, there’s only one Jule Huffman.

The retired television icon will celebrate his 90th birthday in grand fashion as the Masonic Temple in Huntington is hosting a birthday bash today.

That celebration will be complete with an appearance by Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, who is declaring Monday, March 31, as “Jule Huffman/Mr. Cartoon Day” in the city.

Organized by the Knights Templar Huntington Masonic Lodge & Scottish Rite, the party will pay tribute to Huffman, who is still in good health as he turns the same age as former president George H.W. Bush.

“He’s had a couple falls and had a couple mini strokes, but then he’s bounced back and is doing his thing,” said his son Marvin Huffman, one of Jule’s five children with his wife, Gladys. “Dad is like the station wagon in the first National Lampoon ‘Vacation’ movie. He takes some knocks but just keeps going.”

Marvin said he appreciated the Scottish Rite and the mayor honoring his father, who is a member of the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame as well as the Huntington Wall of Fame, for his life’s work first in radio and then in television.

Although Huffman had success in both radio and TV, his greatest impact perhaps was in his role as “Mr. Cartoon,” a role he relished from 1969 to 1995.

This past November, the Ashland Christmas parade made Huffman grand marshal, an honor he received 25 years ago during that city’s first Christmas parade.

Dave Kinder, who now works with the Kanawha County Ambulance Authority, said he’s really glad the city is honoring Huffman. Kinder worked for eight years wearing the costume of Beeper, Mr. Cartoon’s sidekick.

“I don’t know where I would be without that man, and not just me but so many people in the region. I don’t know that he understands what a big impact that he was,” Kinder said.

Kinder said he started the job as Beeper right out of Barboursville High School at age 18, and that Huffman’s daily instructions to the children as they were going off the air has stuck with him to this day…

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