By Elizabeth Perry
The winner of Gazette 2.0’s “Out Boo Your Neighbor” contest is the Chartiers Avenue Extension house in McKees Rocks owned by Patience and Charles Bronson.
Or as fans have called it, the “Courage the Cowardly Dog” house.
Charles, a former prop master who has worked on films like “Jurassic World” and “The Hunger Games,” said the theme came out of mutual love of cartoons he shares with his wife.
“That's how we got together,” Charles said.
In their front yard is a 3-D UFO, constructed by Patience, along with a hand-crafted, 3-D robot and wooden cut-outs of the characters from the cult cartoon show “Courage the Cowardly Dog.”
“The robot is actually just a very large TV box and fiberglass resin,” Charles said.
Other decorations were “bashed together” out of items from the Dollar Tree.
Charles graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1999, then moved to Los Angeles where he and Patience worked in film prop production for 12 years; Patience on the payroll side. Now he works in new product design at a local technology company and Patience is a peer support counselor. The pair have two children, Jasmine, 19, and Justice, 14. Jasmine is also an artist and is hoping to attend a special effects school in Nashville, Tennessee.
Even though she doesn’t have a professional background in art like her husband, Patience created the spaceship which has landed in their front yard. “I feel like I’ve got to keep up,” she said.
To create the spaceship, she used a broken umbrella, inexpensive bowls, a plastic tub from Wal-Mart and “a million cans of silver spray paint.”
“I love being economical,” Patience said.
Charles said he enjoys decorating as an outlet for his creative energies. Christmas is another big event in the Bronson front yard. Usually, they do a “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” display.
The garage is his workshop and there is no room for a car. Recently, the couple purchased a carport on their property – also not for cars. It’s to store decorations.
“Where (else) are you going to put a giant robot?” Charles asked.
Next year Charles plans to build on to the “Courage the Cowardly Dog” decorations with an even bigger display.
“This is whimsical, everybody seems to like it. It's fun,” Charles said.
Anyone who would like to bring in a ringer for next year’s contest and commission cut-out decorations for their own yard should contact Charles Bronson at email@example.com.
Jill Houser, whose elaborate display on Grand Avenue in Neville Island came in second place. The extraordinary, “Camp Carnage,” features werewolves feasting on unsuspecting campers.
Frank Varas comes in third with a fun display that makes the most of the space at his Locust Street home in Kennedy Township. Enormous, glowing spiders crawl across the roof along with other spooky and charming decorations all over the front porch.
• Glen and Tracy Johnson on Coventry Way in Robinson for their alien/spider invasion
• Rudy Himmelreich for his Herbst Road display in Kennedy Township featuring a creepy coffin
• Vincent Masciola for his Fleming Avenue graveyard with a life-sized Grim Reaper guarding the gate
• Sandy Saban for her McKees Rocks fairy garden decorated for Halloween
• Jeff Deglmann and family for their Stowe Township yard filled with killer clowns and zombies
• Melissa Scherling for her Fruit Way hillside cemetery in McKees Rocks.
Thank you to our participants, and The Bloomin’ Bar by Muetzel’s in Robinson and Black Forge Coffee in McKees Rocks for providing prizes for this fun and community-focused contest.