We would like to present you with an exciting, innovative proposal — one that would benefit both Punxsutawney and Punxsutawney Phil. Please… make the compassionate decision to use an animatronic Phil and retire the live groundhogs who are used for Groundhog Day activities to a sanctuary.
…Performances such as “Walking With Dinosaurs, the Live Experience” — a theatrical show in which animatronic dinosaurs roar, stomp, and chase each other around an arena — have been taking audiences by storm… We think that an animatronic groundhog would similarly mesmerize a crowd full of curious spectators in Punxsutawney.
That’s from last week’s letter from PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — to the organizers of the annual Groundhog Day spectacle in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
You’ve got to hand it to PETA when it comes to self-promotion. And they make a pretty good point: “These normally shy animals — who are constantly on alert when they are out of their burrows — become stressed when they are exposed to large, screaming crowds (and) flashing lights from perhaps hundreds of cameras.”
Whether a robot groundhog could “mesmerize” anyone is another matter.
It could work, if several groundhog robots were to “roar, stomp, and chase each other” around Phil’s stump until all but one were mangled and destroyed, with the victorious robot winning the right to declare six more weeks of winter (or not). That’s a hit cable TV show right there.