It started with a press release.
Oklahoma City, March 19, 2004 — For the first time in seven years, Six Flags is launching a national advertising campaign and introducing a mysterious new icon representing family fun.
The surprisingly spry, bald-headed character featured in the television spots travels in a colorful retro style bus bringing his signature music – “We Like to Party” by the Vengaboys – and an irresistible invitation to leave the boredom, stress and pressures of everyday life behind, to families across America. He quickly has Dad dropping the rake, Mom putting down the garden hose, and Junior abandoning the lawn mower in an easy decision to take the short trip to Six Flags and a day filled with sheer enjoyment.
And that was all that the Six Flags Corporation said.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of TV watchers have desperately attempted to find out the secret to who “Mr. Six” (the crazy bald headed dancing man) from the Six Flags commercials actually is. But at every turn, they have been met with a brick wall of denial.
That’s where I came in.
I set out about six months ago (ironic, I know) to find out exactly who the man behind the mask was, and can now finally announce that I have determined who it is. At first, of course, I questioned whether or not I should even reveal the true identity to Mr. Six, simply because I feared retribution on the part of Six Flags Magic Mountain. But you know what? With Deep Throat finally being revealed, and the press given to such an event, it seemed to only make sense that if I had the information of who Mr. Six was, that the public deserved to know.
I started in the typical of places…Six Flags Corporate. I gave them a call and informed them who I was and they couldn’t care less. I told them I was investigating the identity of Mr. Six and would love to speak with him off the record. Their reponse from the Six Flags spokesperson (Debbie Nauser) was something like this:
“Six Flags cannot reveal the identity of Mr. Six, our exuberant master of fun and our man of mystery. We cannot put you in touch with the individual who plays the part.”
I followed up by telling them that I was based in Los Angeles and would be more than happy to meet the individual anywhere for a quick, easy interview. Their response was somewhat basic, but had a hint within:
“Like I just told you, sir, Six Flags will not put you in touch with the individual, nor will he ever be available to meet with you in Los Angeles.”
“Nor will he ever be available to meet with you in Los Angeles.” The words rang in my head like a fishing boat’s ringing bell in a sheet of fog atop the ocean. The simple-minded communications liaison had let a small detail slip. Mr. Six was not based in Los Angeles.
It seemed as if Six Flags was going to make finding out the identity of Mr. Six pretty tough, and in doing so, had probably chosen an individual for the part who would never ever attend a Six Flags park except for the filming of the commercial. This way, of course, there would never be a chance of the public spotting him.
I quickly did more research, determining where Six Flags parks were throughout the continential United States. Those states included California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington (and Canada and Mexico as Non-US locales). Mr. Six could not be from any of these states or countries.
My next step was to get in touch with those involved in the advertising industry — people talk behind the scenes and I had to determine if anyone had spoken out accidentally. I contacted Roger L. Gray, president and CEO of GKV Communications — an advertising firm in Baltimore, MD who had previously worked with Six Flags but didn’t get the opportunity on this campaign (which I thought maybe would cause him to let the cat out of the bag due to sour grapes). He, too, declined to tell me the answer, but did say:
“When that guy does that crazy dance I can’t explain it, it just hits an emotional button.”
The clues were piling up. Mr. Six (behind the mask) was male, did not live in a variety of states listed above, definitely did not live in Los Angeles, and was an emotional individual (i.e., someone who probably was in touch with their feelings). While GKV’s Roger L. Gray wasn’t going to hand me the answer, he provided me at least some extra clues to go on.
Minutes after I hung up with Gray, I got a suspicious e-mail in my in box with a link to this article. In a nutshell, a piece describing how Arizona officials were going above and beyond the call of duty to confirm that there would never be a Six Flags park in Arizona.
But why? What was the reason for Six Flags being so adamant about Arizona? My mind continued to spin — their multi-million dollar Mr. Six campaign had brought them so much business, they couldn’t afford for his identity to be revealed. Such a revelation would ruin their business as people would no longer visit the park hoping to find out the answer.
Mr. Six was in Arizona.
I scoured web sites and phone books to find listings of dance classes (Mr. Six is a great dancer) and amateur acting classes (Six Flags spokesperson Nauser refers to him as an “actor”). There was one city, one location in all of Arizona that happened to specalize in a wide array of acting techniques that includes classes on dancing as well. It was none other than the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona.
Mr. Six was male, an actor and a dancer living in Mesa, Arizona.
Now I simply had to find out who he was. He would be an individual who would probably mention Six Flags but only in a touristy-fashion. He would pretend, somewhere in writing, that he had never been there before. He would act like he was just like you and me.
And then I found Adam Hooker.
A corporate employee working a normal job in a normal city, there were things about him that were suspicious. There was the over-the-top, “I’ve never been to Six Flags before” touristy post. There were the tons of posts about dancing. There were the suspicious references to celebrities like Helen Hunt which Mr. Hooker pretends have never happened by referring to them as “dreams” — an obvious cover-up for the fact that as, Mr. Six, he’s met these people before. Then, the final nail in the coffin, was the fact that this Mr. Six was thoughtful, intelligent and extremely sensitive (i.e. “emotional”). Every sign was there. I had found him.
I immediately sent an e-mail to Mr. Hooker, asking him to fess up that he was Six Flags’ Mr. Six. No response. In fact, after four e-mails (which never got bounced back), I still received no response.
And then I got a call from Six Flags’ Debbie Nauser who simply left an answering machine message to tell me that she’d reconsidered my request and that if I wanted to submit questions to her via e-mail, she’d be “happy to get the answers from Mr. Six.”
Mission Accomplished. I had found him.