Right Palm Up, Left Palm Down
In 1984, a ten-year-old boy encountered a mysterious 20-foot-tall fiberglass statue named Louie in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Eight years later, he spotted an identical statue in Tucson. A third sighting outside a run-down convenience store made it a trend. Thus began a scavenger hunt to discover the origins of Louie and his brethren. Only one rule applied: No searching for them on the Internet!

Right Palm Up, Left Palm Down

The Log of a Cross-Country Scavenger Hunt by Gabriel Aldaz

Meet the Characters

This page is devoted to the Muffler Men in the order that I encountered them in my scavenger hunt. The names of most statues are widely accepted, and the numbers roughly correspond to the book chapters. The map and descriptions were accurate in 2009, and are being updated in 2023 with your help! Click on the numbers on the map or the names on the right to learn more about each one.
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Alfred E. Bunyan

Seaside Heights, New Jersey

Alfred E. Bunyan

According to Steve Dashew, former president of International Fiberglass, the head was “original equipment.” The owner of several miniature golf courses on the East Coast commissioned the awkward statues of Mortimer Snerd for his franchises. To most people, including me, they looked like MAD magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman. This example found its way to the Seaside Heights boardwalk, where it looms over a Kohr’s ice cream stand on a rooftop mini golf course.

Location: Casino Pier, 800 Ocean Terrace
Type: Mortimer Snerd
Accessories: None
Spotlight: Seen lurking in the pages of Roadside America: 365 Days (2003)
Damage: It has a weird Mortimer Snerd head (intentional)
    Alfred E. Bunyan

Alfred with a fresh coat of paint and Casino Pier badge (2009).

2023 Update

I have learned that the statue I called “Alfred E. Bunyan” was originally named Bill, held a golf club, and wore a yellow shirt and straw hat. On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall over Seaside Heights, devastating Casino Pier. The extensive damage included the Jet Star rollercoaster getting swept into the Atlantic Ocean. Amazingly, Bill remained standing among the devastation.

Alfred E. Bunyan 2023
In the following years, Casino Pier was rebuilt, and the statue has remained at the renovated rooftop mini-golf. Photo courtesy of Angelo Gallotta.