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article imageVideo: A visit from 'Purple Panda' sends preschoolers screaming

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By Leigh Goessl     Apr 12, 2012 in Odd News
California - What was shaping up to be a fun day for one class of Pennsylvania preschoolers suddenly did a turnabout and ended with a group of crying children.
David Newell, who plays Mr. McFeely, from PBS' Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, was visiting a Pennsylvania preschool, Pennsylvania Center in the Woods.
A video, posted by BuzzFeed, shows a group of preschoolers gathered for some special guests.
The group of preschoolers appear to be excited over the visit, and then Mr. McFeely begins to say something and the kids shout out, what sounds happily, "Purple Panda."
"Oh, is he coming?" Mr. McFeely asks the teacher, as he gets up and joins her at the door. Enter Purple Panda, a character that hails from Planet Purple and speaks in a monotone, robotic voice, reports UK's Metro.
"Oh there he is," Mr. McFeely said, keeping the excitement rolling, "Look, here's a panda!"
Purple Panda enters the classroom, and he's barely in the door when suddenly chaos breaks out. The kids all get up in almost perfect sync screaming, and begin to run off in different directions.
Mr. McFeely tries to calm the situation, even trying to explain to the kids that the Panda is just a costume, but to no avail.
He tried to reassure the children, stating, "He's just pretend... wait - he's just somebody pretending!"
But the children aren't remotely interested in listening. By this time they have all scattered off the carpet. An abundance of crying can be heard off-camera; some adults can be seen walking around and picking up children on the video footage.
Australia's News Digital Media points out, "Looks like panda failed to make the transition to live appearances."
Jacqueline Burt writes in The Stir, "When are people going to realize that kids are freaked out by the whole "costumed character" thing?"
She's got a point, consider how many kids begin to wail at the prospect of sitting on the lap of the Easter Bunny or Santa. Big overwhelming costumes and young kids do not necessarily go well together.
Guessing "Purple Panda" is probably not going to be making an encore visit at this preschool.
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