Philadelphia has lost a dedicated Mummer. Mr. James Happold, a member of the Old Timers Hall of Fame, has passed away at the age of 88. Mr. Happold began marching up Broad Street in 1931, when Herbert Hoover was President of the United States and gasoline in today’s dollars was just 17 cents a gallon. Jim experienced a lot in life and gave much as a Mummer. “Hap” took part in the annual New Year’s Day happening for three-quarters of a century, before retiring. He not only carried on the tradition, but also enjoyed teaching younger Mummers how to entertain up Broad Street. In 2006, he performed in the Handsome Trim category in “A Tribute to New Orleans” with Al Smida, who was strutting in his first Mummers parade. Hap started out with the Wheeler Club, which became Golden Sunrise Fancy Club in 1960, and at the time of his passing was the oldest member of Golden Sunrise. In 2005, Jim dedicated his performance of “Neptune’s Rapture” in the King Jockey category to his wife Mary, who had recently passed away. The images you see in this story are from his performance “Under the Big Top” in 2004 and “Toyland” in 2002. It is comforting to know that every parade going forward and every smile brought out by a Mummer will always have a little of Jim Happold in it. My condolences to Jim’s family, to Palma and John Lucas and all in Golden Sunrise.
Posted on April 14, 2010 by stevehighsmith