If you are a child of the ’70s and ’80s, you may remember the psychedelic and slightly freakish Serendipity Book Series, written by Stephen Cosgrove and illustrated by Robin James. That was some real hippie shit. With over 60 books, popular characters included Flutterby the insecure unicorn, Serendipity the soul-searching pink lochness monster thing, and Muffin Muncher (too easy).
In 1974, the world was introduced to a huge, hairy orange blob…The Wheedle on the Needle:
Unlike the other sweet, vulnerable characters, Wheedle was one grumpy bitch:
Wheedle is a large, round, furry creature who lived in the Northwest. Bothered by the whistling of workers first settling the city of Seattle, the creature was unable to sleep and became irritable, eventually moving to Mount Rainier to escape the noise. The Wheedle slept there peacefully for many years, his red nose blinking, until the region’s growth brought people- and their whistling- to his doorstep once again. In an effort to silence the noise, the Wheedle gathered clouds in a large sack atop Mt. Rainier, returned to Seattle, climbed atop the Space Needle, and threw them into the sky to make it rain. With their lips wet from precipitation, the city’s residents were unable to whistle, and the creature once again had some peace and quiet.
So basically, Wheedle was responsible for Seattle’s shitty weather, and a hardcore environmentalist railing against the encroach of urban development. Wheedle also basically summed up the philosophy of Seattlelites: We’re glad you like it here. Now please get the hell out.
Shortly after the book’s publication, Wheedlemania was in full effect, and the Seattle SuperSonics employed Wheedle’s curmudgeony ass as a mascot during the championship era of 1978–1985. Wheedle also became a mascot for local news station KOMO-TV in 1993.
In 2004, the compilation Wheedle’s Groove: Seattle’s Finest in Funk and Soul 1965-75 was released, and currently a group of musicians from these original bands perform under the name Wheedle’s Groove.
But has the Wheedle’s position as Seattle icon and cranky king of The Needle been overthrown….by Angry Birds? Earlier this week, to promote the launch of the Angry Birds Space game, the Space Needle was turned into a 300-foot tall slingshot, brought to you by T-Mobile and Rovio.
photo: Rod Mar via Rovio
The only thing I know about Angry Birds is that it’s insanely popular, I suck at it, and I have a memory of being manhandled by a grown ass dude wearing an oversized Angry Birds t-shirt (unfortunate yet appropriate attire).
I’m not sure where Wheedle is right now, but this pretty much exemplifies his whole gripe with society. I hope he’s out breaking off a chunk of Mt. Rainier to clamber up The Needle and pop that stupid ass bird with.
Wheedle 4EVA, son!
More enthralling Wheedle history here.