PLANO, Texas — The Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum — an aging collection of the despised insects dressed in tiny outfits — isn’t much to see. But the creepy exhibit draws curiosity-seekers from across the country.
“What’s interesting is that people are afraid of seeing cockroaches running across their kitchen at night, but their guard drops when they see them wearing a tutu or a bikini,” said grinning exterminator Michael Bohdan, the hall’s cheery “curator.”
Although his exhibit is featured in off-the-wall tourist site listings, he advises potential visitors against traveling long distances to see the museum, located in a strip mall. After all, this isn’t the Smithsonian.
But for those who come, “we’ll pull out these little suckers and have some fun.”
Liberoachi and H. Ross Peroach
In between sales of pest-control products at his suburban Dallas shop, Bohdan leads “tours” of decaying Styrofoam-based scenes featuring roaches in celebrity get-ups.
The displays, which take up a small space under a glass countertop, include the white-caped “Liberoachi,” seated at a tiny piano, and “H. Ross Peroach.”
Bohdan, 58, received widespread press attention during the 1980s after launching a publicity stunt to find Dallas’ largest cockroach. That led to a job traveling the country to judge a roach dress-up contest for an insecticide company.
When the contest ended, the dead roaches were to be tossed out. But Bohdan gave them a new life, of sorts.
“I said, gosh, let me make a tribute to them,” he said.
Bohdan has a long-standing love-hate relationship the nasty home invader. After all, he estimates he’s killed “hundreds of thousands of them.” But they also propelled him to minor celebrity status, including an appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.
“I’ve had my 15 minutes — but it’s lasted longer than 15 minutes,” he said.
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