Johnny Monsarrat April Fools

Stop! Costume Time!

Johnny Monsarrat Chewbacca
Chewbacca: Mike
Johnny Monsarrat costume

Playing Super Mario for the day.

Wearing a costume is not really a prank, unless you turn it into a prank. I like to wear costumes to work, especially if it's Halloween, or any time -- why not? I've worn Cookie Monster to class at Harvard, the MIT Beaver to class at MIT, and here's Super Mario at Turbine, a company I founded. Here's an extreme example when things didn't exactly go to plan.

January, 1997. Having spent my entire adolescence waiting for new Star Wars movies, they were finally re-releasing the original Star Wars. At Turbine, my computer games company, pretty much the whole company was planning on going to opening day at the Cheri theater in Boston.

Somehow I was thinking ahead and managed to reserve the Chewbacca and Darth Vader costumes from a local costume shop. Secretly I brought them into Turbine and Tim Brennan and I suited up. We had some fun running around the offices surprising people.

Star Wars only comes around every 20 years or so. So I rented a projection TV and we had a party to watch the original movies. (We also saw the "Star Wars Christmas Special" from 1977, great fun, but a low quality production I'm sure George Lucas is trying to forget.)

On the opening day of Star Wars, I decided to take a chance and wear the Chewbacca costume on the subway. Here the joke was on me, because when you ride the subway, you share an enclosed space with the drunk and the derranged. There were only three or four among the hundreds of people I commuted with, but every one of them wanted to personally hound Chewbacca. One fellow wanted to stroke the beard on the costume. Another wouldn't stop singing.

Stop Costume Time
Wielding some sort of gun

My advice to you is this: don't wear a Chewbacca costume on the subway.

Anyway, I got to the theater and hooked up with Tim, still "Darth Vader". It turned out a number of people had dressed in costume for the event! Most of the costumes were homemade, and very impressive -- obviously a lot of work had gone into them. My costume was just a rental.

But everybody loves Chewie. I gave them a good roar. On the way out of the movie, the crowd eagerly lining up for the next showtime gave Chewbacca a big cheer and a round of applause!

Monsarrat costume
I threw a projection TV party
Johnny Monsarrat Darth Vader
Chewie & Darth storm Turbine