Just when you think you have figured out a pattern for Muffler Men, one will turn up that breaks the rules. International Fiberglass’ Muffler Men were often customized for the customer. Some people believe that the Frankenstein statue at Haunted Trails near Chicago was one of these made-to-order statues. However, I don’t believe that this statue was produced by International Fiberglass.
The Frankenstein at Haunted Trails Family Amusement Park in Burbank, IL bears a strong resemblance to Muffler Men. His general stance and the wrinkles of his pants are a dead match. His hands are also positioned with the right palm up, left palm down like the classic Muffler Man. However, that’s where the similarities end. The Frankenstein head , shoulder pads, tie, and bloody axe are unique. The statue also has an iron bar stuck through his neck.
This statue’s history varies depending on who you talk to but it seems that he first appeared at Haunted Trails in 1977. Originally, Haunted Trails was known as “Happy Trails” and used a clown mascot. I have not seen any photos of this clown but I believe it was smaller than a Muffler Man and stood on the Happy Trails sign. Shortly after the park changed its name and adopted a monster theme, the Frankenstein statue arrived. According to one source, it cost the park $5,000.
We can already rule out that International Fiberglass made this statue since that company had folded by the early 1970s. It has been reported that the statue came from Wisconsin. The logical conclusion is that Creative Display made the statue. That fiberglass statue manufacturer and precursor to FAST, was located in Sparta, WI at the time. Since the statue’s pants, proportions and general stance closely mirror the typical Muffler Man, we have to assume that Creative Display got its hands on a mold or made one from a statue and then customized to make this Frankenstein.
Although this statue was apparently created as a one-off and was built much later than the others, I still refer to it as a Muffler Man. He was the last statue that we visited on our Illinois roadtrip in the summer of 2012. The American Giants Episode #8 video will close out this trip. The series will now move on to some of our most recent adventures.
Thanks to Debra Jane Seltzer (RoadsideArchitecture.com) for her input and editing help.