UMaine unveils new shrunken-head ‘Bananas’ mascot

BananasThe University of Maine on Saturday unveiled the latest version of its mascot, “Bananas T. Bear,” during the home football game against Rhode Island at Alfond Stadium.

At first glance, the new Bananas appeared to have fallen victim to a witch doctor, judging from the shrunken-head configuration (comparatively speaking).

Yet the more you look at it, the more Bananas’ head is closer to being anatomically correct in proportion to the body.

However, the style is a departure when compared to his three most recent predecessors.

In 1984, UMaine rolled out the blue Bananas with the loveable face.

What ensued where two contorted, cartoon-style heads. Beginning in the early 1990s Bananas went back to black and sported a somewhat goofy look. I think he may still be my favorite.

Around 2000, Bananas was fitted with a sneering face that must have been quite unsettling for young UMaine fans. The key feature for this model was his ability to sport different kinds of hats, including a mortarboard for commencement appearances.

In evaluating Bananas 2015, the head of the costume appears to have been crafted to more closely resemble the UMaine Black Bears athletic logo, which features a growling, blue-eyed bear with an open, blood-red mouth.

At first, I thought the new version was certain to strike fear into the hearts of the under-10 crowd. But the more you look, it could instead be viewed as having a toothy smile of sorts.

It might take a while for UMaine sports fans to get used to the new-look Bananas, who is front and center at many Black Bear athletic contests and other community events.

Ultimately, it is going to be the “acting” ability of the Alpha Delta fraternity brothers who wear the furry black costume that determines how the new Bananas is received.

Pete Warner

About Pete Warner

Pete is a Bangor native who graduated from Bangor High School, Class of 1980. He earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He has been a full-time member of the Bangor Daily News Sports staff since 1984. Pete lives in Bangor with his wife of 32 years, Annia. They have two adult sons, Will and Paul. Pete is fluent in Spanish and enjoys visiting his in-laws and friends in Costa Rica. His hobbies including hunting, fishing and listening to jazz.