‘Elf’ Comes To Life, As Man Meets Dad For First Time Dressed As Film’s Wacky Star ‘Buddy’

Bruce Haring
·1-min read

It was a pre-Christmas miracle. Or maybe a reminder of the line from the classic song Santa Claus is Coming to Town, to wit: “You better watch out.”

In a moment straight outta Hollywood, Doug Henning wore a Buddy the Elf costume like the one actor Will Ferrell’s character wore in the 2003 film Elf while meeting his father for the first time.

In Elf, Will Ferrell plays a human who is accidentally taken to the North Pole and raised by elves. Eventually, Buddy, who towers over the rest of the elves, is told the truth about his origins, and decides to seek his real Dad, a high-powered publishing executive in New York City.

In real life, the meeting inspired by the film happened last week at Boston’s Logan Airport, and Henning went full-Elf for the meeting, even replicating Buddy’s song from the film moment he met his long-lost father, Walter, played by James Caan. “I’m here, with my dad. And we never met, and he wants me to sing him a song!”

Henning, 43, of Eliot, Maine, told Boston.com that he understood if his father thought he was insane, particularly since he hasn’t seen the film. Still, Henning insisted, “It was a really good way to break the ice.”

Perhaps he was right. His father gave him a big hug.

Henning was raised by adoptive parents, but found his biological father through cousins on Ancestry.com. As in the Elf movie, Henning’s father had no idea he had a son.

Henning is married, but unfortunately for him, not to Zooey Deschanel.

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