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Bethany Wesley, Forum News Service, Published June 26 2013

Billy Crystal sports Bemidji Woolen Mills sweater at 'Monsters University' premiere

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Billy Crystal may never have visited Bemidji Woolen Mills, but he now has worn its clothing.

The actor voices the character Mike Wazowski in Pixar’s new animated “Monsters University” movie, a prequel to 2001’s “Monsters Inc.”

At the premiere of the new film, Crystal wore a Bemidji Woolen Mills sweater, personalized with a “Monsters University” insignia on the left breast.

“(Pixar) kind of did it so he’d be in character since the actors are just voice actors,” said Bill Batchelder, owner/operator of the Bemidji Woolen Mills. “We do a lot of things for a lot of different people.”

Images from the premiere show Crystal, wearing the sweater, with the film’s two animated character stars, Wazowski, wearing a Monsters University cap, and James P. Sullivan, wearing a varsity jacket.

Bemidji Woolen Mills manufactures the sweater, a navy-colored sweater with three, white stripes on the left elbow.

The Varsity Room, a retailer in Solana Beach, Calif., sells varsity jackets and varsity-style sweaters, mainly for local schools, and carries the Woolen Mills sweaters.

Greg Baumann of The Varsity Room said he has done larger group orders, in the 25-30 range, and fielded a call awhile back from Pixar’s story department. As he tells it, the staff there wanted about 30 sweaters to help them stand out at the “Monsters University” wrap party.

“We got a call about two weeks later, saying they needed one more sweater,” Baumann said.

He learned then the sweater would be for one of the “talent” stars for the movie’s premiere.

“Billy Crystal was going to actually wear it,” Baumann said.

Initially worried that the rush order might prove difficult, Baumann said he was pleased to find he had one in the right size in stock. He also was able to get the rush order back to get the “Monsters University” M logo added to the sweater in time for the premiere.