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You’ve seen him. You’ve feared him. You’ve loved him. You’ve respected him. 

The Inflatable Tube Man aka AirDancer aka SkyDancer aka Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man is a man of honor, dignity, and salesmanship. His charms have likely persuaded you to buy a car, sign a petition, or just drop your jaw in wonder. But where did this symbol of human-kind’s ingenuity, something that brings out the best in all of us, come from?

Great Big Story has the secret origins of the Inflatable Tube Man, and they aren’t just blowing hot air. Caribbean artist Peter Minshall, known for his “larger than life” puppet work, and Israeli artist Doyon Gazit designed the ITM for the opening ceremony of the 1996 Summer Olympics. Originally called the Tall Boy, he soon grew into a Tall Man defined by the inflatable tube body that has become his namesake.

Now used mostly to put a smile on the face of consumers every where, the Inflatable Tube Man’s legacy continues to be as noble and memorable as his humble beginnings.