The Ugliest Artifact I’ve Ever Seen

Museum artifacts can be beautiful.  Museum artifacts can be plain.  Plain museum artifacts can sometimes represent ugly ideas.  It is rare, however, to come across a museum artifact that is, in actuality, literally ugly.  Ah, but we’ve found one!  Thanks to staff member Dale Bacon, who is our go-to-guy for all things weird, spooky, or paranormal, and his sleuthing, the Society is now the proud owner of one of the ugliest artifacts I’ve ever seen.

Curious??  Then take a look below.

 

Why yes, that is a hair growing out of the mole on her face!

Why yes, that is a hair growing out of the mole on her face!

Is she even prettier in profile? I'll let you decide.

Is she even prettier in profile? I'll let you decide.

This lovely bit of clay work is called “Mother-In-Law” (we’ll call her Mom for short) and Dale recently presented a Brown Bag program at the Nebraska History Museum that informed us all about Mom’s origins. 

Mom was part of  the Gregore show which began its run on Omaha’s KMTV in 1958.  Gregore was a locally produced, low-budget, late night program that featured bad horror flicks along with a character named Gregore who would tell jokes, make fun of the movies and perform skits before and after the movie and commercial breaks.   Gregore was played by accomplished actor and radio announcer Gregg Dunn with production staff filling in wherever needed.

Greg Dunn as Gregore

Gregg Dunn as Gregore

Gregore Movie Ads 

One of the running gags on the show was that Gregore had the head of his Mother-in-Law in a cabinet which he would open, without revealing the contents, thereby unleashing an annoying chattering.  This would be followed by a Mother-in-Law joke such as, “I bought my Mother-in-Law a chair for Christmas, but she wouldn’t plug it in (ba-da-ba).”  Finally, toward the end of the show’s run KMTV employee Ken Philo gave form to the cabinet dwelling in-law using clay, earrings, and, in impressive attention to detail, rotten teeth obtained from the Creighton Dental School.

Mother-In-Law detail for blog 2

In case you couldn't see the rotten teeth well enough in the other photos.

Although Gregore was quite popular with KMTV viewers and even had its own fan club, the show ended in 1961. 

Gregore Fan Club 1

Since then Mom has been living in the closet of Benny Benschoter, one of the directors of Gregore, until he transferred her to us last week.  She served a noble purpose as disciplinarian while at the Benschoter household as Benny would threaten to send his kids into the closet with the creepy head if they misbehaved.  From what we’ve heard, the Benschoter children are happy to see her gone.

–Deb Arenz, Senior Museum Curator & Dale Bacon, Assistant Curator

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4 Responses to The Ugliest Artifact I’ve Ever Seen

  1. Cody says:

    Very cool article. Funny and interesting!

  2. Brooke Ann Benschoter says:

    Yes as one of the Benschoter children, Gregore’s mother who I think we actually thought WAS Gregore for many years….until we were tall enough to see the earrings and lace collar(When you were little, all you could see was her eye) was scarey to say the least. I often tell my children about her awesome powers but somehow seeing was believing.

  3. greg p cavalieri says:

    my mom was in a few plays with greg dunn
    any chance that there is any info on these plays
    thr little world of don camillo

    please let me know
    my mom was on the gregore show also

    • Tom Mooney says:

      The Library/Archives has a Nebraska Theater programs collection, so if you know what theater the plays were performed at, our staff could look to see if we have any information in that collection. You can contact the Library/Archives directly at or 402-471-4751.

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