There are some awesome puppeteers out there!

In 1976 the Dragons Are Too Seldom Puppet Theatre packed up our bags and puppets and our excitement and headed to the East Coast.  Leonard Running, Claire Scholz, and I were on our way to the bi-centennial  Puppeteers of America Festival. This was the wonder of wonder event that gathers puppeteers of all levels of skill and all levels of dedication to learn from one another and realize we are not alone.  The puppetry community worldwide is very small.  This event allowed us to meet and learn from the best.  Jim Hensen, Frank Oz (Miss Piggy), and Carroll Spinney (Big Bird) were there.  Burr Tillstrom (Kukla, Fran and Ollie), Margo Rose (her husband did Howdy Doody)  Bil Baird (one of the greats) and his son Peter. The list goes on and on. I am not easily star struck but wow! It was one of the best weeks of our lives!  One of the funnest things were the meals.  The food was mediocre but the company was superb! The catchphrase became “You Can Make a Puppet out of Anything!”  We spent every meal proving it.  A fork and a glob of mashed potatoes made a great talking trash heap.  Peas in a row came alive to do the “chicken dance”. Napkins, olives, sliced pickles and pickled beets created a lady of the streets. 

When I saw this video on YouTube I knew this young man was not only an exceptional puppeteer but that he also subscribed to the “You Can Make a Puppet out of Anything” mantra whole hog!

Comments 4

  1. Whoa – I was there! I know I was there . . . I lay awake and dragged some names and events out of my flagging memory but still couldn’t remember the name of the young man who manipulated the 12-inch high porcelain puppet and sang ‘Hills of Shiloh.’ He also performed ‘The Rat of Immense Proportions.’
    But the most memorable puppet show for me was Ken Moses’ (?) interpretation of Stravinsky’s opera ‘Pulcinella’ in Italian. There were four strikes against it from the beginning: Snooty Ken Moses; Stravinsky; opera; and Italian. I remember we were rolling in the aisles. (I also remember being hardly able to remember.) LL

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