It’s not uncommon to see people dressed as Nintendo’s superstar video-game character Mario on Halloween, but it’s rare to see someone dress up in overalls and a red hat on any other day of the year. It would be even more surprising to see that happen at a golf course. But that’s exactly what happened in 1982 when a young man named Kirk Tanner went golfing with his wife and got a photo snapped of them to memorialize the event.
Kirk had never heard of the then-nascent character known as Jumpman from the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong. He just wore what felt comfortable. Little did he know that something called the Internet would be used years later to share embarrassing youthful photos.
So it came to pass that after this photo made it onto Facebook, one of Kirk’s coworkers at Fishbowl decided to write a faux-legal letter to Nintendo of America claiming that Kirk was the original Mario that the company had based its character on. A Nintendo representative with a great sense of humor promptly responded with equal amounts of seriousness and silliness. She informed us that while Kirk is definitely not the inspiration for Mario, he is quite possibly the first impersonator of Mario. And he did it completely by accident. She even complimented Kirk on his fashion sense.
To commemorate Kirk’s accidental claim to fame, my coworkers and I (who work with Kirk) put together a hilarious presentation about this sequence of events. We shared it at the Fishbowl Christmas Party last month. My contribution to the presentation is a little song. I put words to the famous Super Mario Bros. tune and sang it for all the world to hear while dressed in a Mario costume partly of my own making for all the world to see. My part of the presentation begins at about the 5:27 mark of the video. Prepare to enjoy a good laugh.
Here are the lyrics to my Kirk-Mario Song (I flubbed one part near the end while singing it):
Kirk is the … original Super Mario impersonator.
The best part … is he didn’t even know about it ‘til much later.
He just wore the most comfortable outfit … he could think of to play golf in:
Cutoff overalls and a bright red hat, well … that’s no sin.
Little did he know he would one day … work at a real nice place
Full of people with good humor and … a total lack of good taste.
So now we’re … celebrating Kirk’s status as a twin Mario
And we would … like to give him a present to be a small memento.
It’s a real … Mario costume
That we got for you, and we all presume
You should wear … it around Fishbowl
And when you go out to play 18 holes.
(Game Over tune)
Kirk, we hope you enjoy this silly gift.