Children screamed his name anytime they saw him, even if it was just a glimpse of his floppy ears or stubby tail.
Everyone’s favorite rabbit was back.
Tim and Laura Allured, creators of “The Harvey Rabbit & Friends Show,” delighted hundreds of Livingston Parish Library patrons last week with their one-hour comedic educational act of ventriloquism, puppetry, music, magic, and audience participation.
The couple — known as “The Harvey Rabbit People” — visited all five LPL branches as part of the library’s Summer Reading Program, of which Tim and Laura Allured have become staples.
Children arrived early to the shows, hoping to catch a seat on the floor directly in front of the action. Each show began with Laura dancing in an attempt to loosen up any shy children.
Then the real star came out.
Harvey Rabbit — the sly, fast-talking, joke-cracking rabbit that Laura, an award-winning ventriloquist, controls to comedic effect — has amused audiences for decades, ever since the Allureds took an “early retirement” from teaching to pursue full-time entertainment.
They spent five years on Carnival cruise ships out of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, as well as steamboats out of New Orleans, before returning to schools and libraries in a different capacity as entertaining educators in the early 1990s.
Now, Harvey Rabbit has become a fixture during the summer for libraries across Mississippi, southeast Texas and Louisiana — including in Livingston Parish, where enthusiasm surrounding the furry puppet reaches new heights with each summer tour.
Along with Harvey Rabbit were his friends, Cecil the Orangutan and T-Boy the Alligator. The Allureds also introduced a new puppet — the bulldog Spike — as well as new characters Nanny Doodlehead and Bad Boy Butch.
Harvey Rabbit and Friends is supported in part by a Decentralized Arts Funding Grant from the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge in cooperation with the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, and Louisiana State Arts Council.
Tim and Laura, 1983 graduates of McNeese State University in Lake Charles, currently live in Lafayette and recently celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary.
They have three cats who accompany them on tours: Scooter, 9, whom they found at 3 weeks old on a highway; Peanut, 15; and Charlie, a 3-year-old cat who lost a leg to a gunshot wound.
Aside from school and libraries, video clips of the Allureds’ act have been shown on national television. They’ve also hosted a local cable show called the "Harvey Rabbit Cartoon Hour" and have produced five videos, which are in schools and libraries from coast to coast.
The Allureds’ show focuses on the Golden Rule, choosing to be drug-free, alcohol-free, and tobacco-free, showing good character and a positive attitude, and taking a “No Bullying” stance. During summers, they also promote participation in the summer reading program, a love for books and rules of the library.