Thursday, May 30, 2013

Offbeat Seattle Attraction: Archie McPhee

Do you like the tacky, the bizarre, the tasteless, the incredible? No?! Suck it up because when you are in Seattle, a trip isn't complete until you've visited Archie McPhee.

Seattle joke shop

The biggest, baddest joke shop in Seattle, here you can find all things zany. This is the place to ask why not, versus why.

  • Looking for a gag gift for a friend? Bacon body wash.
  • Need a white elephant for the office party? Unicorn tree topper.
  • Something for your Jewish in-laws? Hanukkah Candy Canes.
  • Want to terrify the children? Show them the Wallingford beast.

Archie McPhee

The Real Archie McPhee & Creations of the Store

The inspiration for the store was an unusual globe-trotter named (you guessed it), Archie McPhee. Mcphee left his home in Bismark, North Dakota in 1924 in the strange pursuit of bringing jazz to Asia. He booked his band, the North Star Music Makers, ocean passage as the ship’s musical act. Departing from the Port of Seattle, the S.S. President Madison successfully carried the band to Asia where they played in places from Shanghai to Manila to Yokohama.

That spirit of adventure clearly ran in the family as Archie’s great-nephew-in-law, Mark, took his long-lost relative’s name for his strange new store. Starting off in the 1970s, Mark sold classic comedy props like rubber chickens by mail-order out of his home in Los Angeles. He eventually packed his strange inventory into a U-Haul and set-up shop in Seattle’s Fremont district. Among its most popular items are its extensive kitsch collections of all things bacon or mustache, Librarian Action Figure, and - of course – the Wallingford beast.

What’s the beast?

Perhaps the store’s most disturbing feature, the Wallingford beast is said to have roamed the streets of Seattle with an appetite for cats. Staff of the store shared reports of early sightings and even captured glimpses of it on security cameras, but the beast was almost as elusive as Bigfoot. An employee named Pete is credited with finding and befriending the creature and bringing it to live in the shop. Today, you can gawk at its bizarre features and even buy its very own line of merchandise.

The shop has moved a few times, but has (hopefully) found its permanent space in Wallingford. No longer just a local favorite, the shop has since been featured in Scientific American's "Technology and Business" review and included in Time Magazine's fifty coolest websites.

Archie McPhee
Archie McPhee
rubber horse head
Yes, that is a horse head and giant underwear

Archie McPhee

Address: 1300 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103
Telephone: (206) 297-0240
Hours: Mon - Sat 10am - 7pm; Sun 11am - 6pm
Store Tumblr:


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We're Back in Berlin Ja!
ebe & ian at Yak-toberfest 2008