Mr. Cartoon honored at party
HUNTINGTON -- The comical, almost childlike balloons that adorned each table were appropriately symbolic in celebrating the 90th birthday of a man who spent more than 25 years entertaining the public as Mr. Cartoon.
Nearly 50 people gathered to honor Jule Huffman, the longtime WSAZ weather man and show host, at the Masonic Temple in Huntington on Monday.
Mayor Steve Williams was there to share his personal memories of Mr. Cartoon, as well as proclaim that March 31 would, from now on, be known as Jule Huffman/Mr. Cartoon day in the City of Huntington.
"Jule Huffman, as we all know, touched so many lives of youngsters throughout the Tri-State," Williams said. "But ... he also served as a mentor to so many of us. Now, it's been a number of years, but our lockers (were) next to each other at the Y. He was always available to just offer some advice and a smile."
Williams said Huffman will always be remembered for his dedication to helping children.
He and others shared more personal stories throughout the celebration event.
Huffman said he always tried to teach kids things they did not know before, and encouraged them to keep a positive attitude while they learned.
"I just wanted to see happiness in the face of a child," Huffman said. "I always said 'just try,' and they did."
As Mr. Cartoon, Huffman impacted so many children that some still find it difficult to distinguish between the real Huffman and his TV persona.
The whole purpose of Mr. Cartoon was to help and engage children, and a room full of people agreed Monday night that Huffman succeeded.
In fact, when it came time to sing "Happy Birthday," the crowd stumbled over naming the person being honored. About half the room said Jule, while the other half wished Mr. Cartoon a happy birthday.
Toward the end of the ceremony, Huffman was presented a basket filled with letters and birthday cards from fans who wished Mr. Cartoon a happy birthday.
Then everyone in attendance lined up to shake the hand of the man who dedicated more than a quarter of his life entertaining and educating children.
Even though Mr. Cartoon has been off the air for nearly 20 years, Huffman continues his mission.
He called out to the crowd, telling them to always help and guide children.
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