The Magic of a Mrs. Roper Pub Crawl

A curly red wig, a caftan, and some chunky accessories are all one needs to conjure the surprisingly beloved Helen Roper.

Chris Owens
Human Parts
Published in
5 min readNov 20, 2023

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Last Saturday I participated in the inaugural Mrs. Roper Caftan Crawl in Dayton, Ohio. It was magical fun, for reasons that defy logic. After all Mrs. Roper, a minor character on a 70s sitcom, should have become a footnote in television sitcom history by now.

Mrs. Helen Roper (portrayed by Audra Lindley), the sex-starved and often randy wife of landlord Stanley Roper, beamed into to US living rooms from 1977 to 1979 as part of the US television show Three’s Company, starring John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, and Suzanne Somers as three roommates living under false pretenses in Stanley Roper’s building. A sign of the times, Stanley’s conservatism wouldn’t allow him to rent an apartment to males and females unless they were married. Ritter’s character, Jack Tripper, pretended to be gay to skirt the issue. The series had a pretty remarkable run, largely due to the slapstick-style physical comedy and hilarious misunderstandings that often drove the plot. The show enjoyed sustained popularity, in spite of Somers’ eventual departure and replacement. In season four, the Ropers moved on and management of the building was handed off to Mr. Ralph Furley (Don Knotts).

My partner Dan brought Mrs. Roper to life a couple of years ago for Halloween, and since then we’ve discovered that Mrs. Roper pub crawls were popping up all over the US. A curly red wig, a caftan, and some chunky accessories is all one needs to conjure the surprisingly beloved Helen Roper.

Dan and I found out about one happening in Columbus, but we were going to be out of town that weekend. Then while at a friend’s Halloween party, we found out there was going to be one in Dayton. We each whipped out our phones and, after a few screen taps, all had Mrs. Roper outfits delivered in time for Saturday’s festivities.

Registration for the Mrs. Roper Caftan Crawl began at noon at Little Fish Brewing Company, the first stop on our crawl. I drove from Columbus, my caftan, wig, necklace, earrings, and glasses stashed in a canvas bag on the passenger seat. I almost got dressed at home and drove there as Helen, but having driven to a Halloween party as a slutty nun, I learned that high fashion can be distracting when, enamored by my fake fingernails, I ended up on the rumble strip twice. Once…

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Chris Owens
Human Parts

Chris is a signed language interpreter, product manager, musician, and writer living in Columbus, Ohio with his partner Dan and their collie, Cooper.