Here's the first push puppet. His name is Ossie Oyster. He seemed like a happy enough little fellow, so I kept him. Then the quest began to find out more about Ossie and this "Sea Host" entity.
Since information regarding Sea Host is very sparse, I'll throw out what I know and hope that others can share information and piece together the mystery.
Here's what I know -- Sea Host was a seafood restaurant chain, locally owned and nationally franchised. It was a subsidiary of Proteus Foods & Industries.
The only dated materials I've located are the push puppets which are dated 1969. Was Sea Host around before 1969? How long after 1969 did it remain in business? Are there any Sea Host restaurants still around? I'm plagued with more questions than answers.
I'll add the fact that I've never seen a Sea Host restaurant, never dined in one and have no fond memories of it at all.
Now, on to the fun stuff! Sea Host's crowning achievement was not their lobster bisque, but rather their legacy of fun but obscure spokes-creatures. In fact a group of six characters represented the restaurant chain, led by a fish named Sylvester C. Host.
- Sylvester C. Host -- a fish in a chef's hat and leader of the gang
- Ossie Oyster -- a tiny oyster who wore a beret
- Mr. Big The Shrimp -- an older shrimp with a large mustache
- Turtle The Turtle -- a turtle with the least imaginative name
- Smiley The Crab -- a blue crab who wore glasses
- Clem The Clam -- a happy clam who wore a rain hat
A full set of six push puppets was created, and here they are.
The Smiley The Crab push puppet is quite spectacular, though I'm partial to Clem The Clam as my favorite Sea Host character.
The next and last find was this give-away comic book which is undated but probably from the late 1960s.
As the comic story goes, Ossie asks Sylvester to help find Clem who they think has been "clam-napped". It turns out to be a ruse to bring Sylvester to his surprise birthday party.
I'll have to wrap up the Sea Host story with that. I've not found any other memorabilia or information about the chain. I do know that Sea Host, Inc. was located at 477 Madison Avenue in New York City.
Blog Readers -- Let me know what you think about these characters and please contribute any information you have about the restaurant or other collectibles. Which of the six sea creatures do you like the best?
Gotta run! A few more pictures are on my Flickr site here.