The crew at Improv AZ decided to relive their childhoods and create a living version of Where’s Waldo at Tempe Marketplace. Nearly 100 people donned red and white striped apparel and gathered outside Dave and Busters on Saturday, April 23, 2011. Like the pictures in the Where’s Waldo books, we had one true Waldo in the official Waldo costume, and dozens of red and white lookalikes.
The group began to assemble just before 1pm. Security was concerned by the abundance of red and white striped shirts and it took some reassurance from the organizers that it was a short, innocuous prank in order for us to proceed. For about 20 minutes, the group chatted and mingled while stunned shoppers looked on. Many of the onlookers instantly got the joke, while others took some prompting. A few of our cohorts moved through the crowd of onlookers with a flyer showing a picture of our “real” Waldo and asking the strangers if they’d seen our friend. Anyone who didn’t understand what was going on before instantly smiled, giggled, and got the prank.
We had all kinds of Waldos – Dog Waldo, Gnome Waldo, Steampunk Waldo, Jester Waldo, Musician Waldos, Baby Waldo, and more! In preparation for this event, many participants flocked to stores in search of red and white striped shirts. One participant said that the clerk at their thrift store remarked that asignificant number of people had come to the store that week on a similar quest. Others opted to make their own shirts by applying red tape to white shirts or vice versa.
You can check out Flickr to see all the great Where’s Waldo flash mob pictures!
At the end of the prank, we took some group photos and dispersed. Many ventured in to Dave and Busters for a drink or a bite. The wait staff was completely oblivious to what had just transpired outsideand looked bewildered at all the red and white shirts in the dining room. When we explained what occurred, they couldn’t help but laugh.
After all, who doesn’t love Waldo?