File puptcrit/puptcrit.0509, message 65

Date: Tue,  6 Sep 2005 15:07:53 -0400
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Early UNIMA

Dear friends,

Since I started this thread, I should provide Alan Cook's helpful response. He 
tried to email it, but his ISP was giving him grief... thus, only his follow-
up him regarding Llords got through. I will paste my question in below, and 
then Alan's response.

Q: I have two questions related to the international UNIMA that have come up 
during my recent research into Felix Mirbt's influence on Canadian puppetry: 

1. Is Baird being strictly accurate when he writes that UNIMA was originally 
“an international marionette organization” (Baird 174) born out “of the Fifth 
Convention of Czech Puppeteers [...]"? Specifically, was it originally for 
marionette artists only? 

2. In McKay's _Puppetry in Canada: An Art to Enchant_, he writes that Lampoon 
Puppettheatre won a UNIMA *Diploma* for _Clowning Around_ when it performed 
"at the Vth International Puppet Festival in Bekescaba, Hungary, in 1977" 
(78). What exactly IS a UNIMA Diploma? Are they still awarded? I couldn't find 
any info on their (if I may say, rather poorly organized) website.

A (by Alan): 
In the beginning UNIMA seems to have been European in focus since that is 
where it began. To my knowledge it was NOT LIMITED to string puppets; the 
early logo showed a group of traditional hand puppets such as Punch, Kasper, 
Guignol & others (all European in origin). As you probably are aware, 
considerable confusion exists in the use of the generic English word PUPPET 
and the generic use of the French term MARIONNETTE, both of which include all 
puppet types; In English, MARIONETTE is strictly STRING PUPPET 

More than once, African ROD puppets in books have been called Marionettes as a 
result of this ongoing confusion. 

I could be wrong, but my impression at the UNIMA FESTIVAL in Bucharest 1965 
(the only one I've been to) every performing group got a "Diploma" which they 
could wave around upon returning to their home country. 

In Bucharest there were FIVE prizes or awards handed out to the most 
outstanding presentations, one of which went to Luman Coad's SOLO program. The 
Moscow Puppet Theatre with a group of what seemed like 50 people did DIVINE 
COMEDY which was of interest to me, but they did NOT get one of the 5 prizes. 

There was an evening in which the five prizes were awarded in a theatre---a 
bit like Academy Awards on a small scale. There, the LONGEST speech was given 
by a prominent Rumanian ACTOR who presented the Soviet company a piece of 
paper acknowledging their presence among the Festival performers 

In 1965 Rumania seemed the most successfully independent Soviet satellite  of 
them all. The Country had only been open to tourists from the USA TWO WEEKS 
before the Festival. Before that, SPECIAL and very limited Visas were required 
from the US State Dept for the two previous Bucharest UNIMA Festivals, 
attended by Romaine Proctor (a former PofA President from Springfield, 
Illinois) and Marjorie Batchelder McPharlin of Santa Fe NM. 

Bil Baird was a member of the Awards Jury in 1965 at the 3d Bucharest event 

While I was in Bucharest in 1965, I visited a large department store which had 
a stamp collector section where I got a set of postage stamps issued by the 
Rumanian Post Office (I think it was for the 2d UNIMA Festival in Rumania). 
You may perhaps still find a set from Stamp Dealers. Even Japan issued UNIMA 
FEST stamp sets in later years, tho we didn't get that in Washington DC in 

There had been a history of Soviet attempts to dominate UNIMA as part of their 
worldwide propaganda efforts, using all sorts of groups for their purpose. It 
seems ridiculous now, but that's how it was in those days. It is one of the 
reasons UNIMA-USA was formed, because our voice in UNIMA was silent, tho our 
dollars were then welcome. 

At one point it was under consideration to make all PofA members also members 
of UNIMA-USA, but that was opposed by such members as Vivian Michael, editor 
then of PUPPETRY JOURNAL for fear of belonging to a "communist organization". 

Since the fall of the Soviet empire and the Berlin Wall, UNIMA has 
"normalized". And UNIMA_USA members are no longer in danger of communist 

Ah, history!!!---ALAN COOK 

Alan's follow-up (now that the context has been established): Daniel Llords 
was PofA president when the proposal was made to include UNIMA membership for 
every PofA member. This proposal was rejected.---ALAN COOK 


Jamie Ashby

PhD Candidate
Graduate Centre for Study of Drama,
University of Toronto

Co-founder, PuppUTopiate: the *only* puppet company at the Univ. of Toronto

Quoting Robert Smythe <>:

> Bill,
> Happy to hear that you designed the hand: when I was on the UNIMA board I
> was told that Paul Vincent Davis had done it.
> I'm intrigued by your website address. My wife's family has a story about
> "basingstoke" as the punchline to a joke that everyone has forgotten. Do
> you
> know the origin of the name, or, possibly, the joke?
> Thanks in advance.
> Robert Smythe
> On 9/6/05 2:42 PM, "Bill Jones" <> wrote:
> > at the request of Mollie Falkenstein... I designed the UNIMA logo...
> > (the red, white & blue hand...)
> > ...and was involved in those early days...
> > I'd forgotten all about Daniel Llords!
> > what an interesting character he was!!!
> > 
> > LOL
> > Bill
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >> 
> >>>  Daniel Llords was PofA president when the proposal was made to include
> >>>  UNIMA membership for every PofA member. This proposal was
> >>> rejected.---ALAN COOK
> >>> 
> >> Romaine Proctor was the founder of UNIMA-USA about 1957. Among others,
> Nancy
> >> Staub and I were charter members..(I was younger.)   Daniel Llords
> argued
> >> that
> >> PofA should be the official organ for puppeteers in America.   He found
> some
> >> justification preceeding his presidency that PofA had paid dues to the
> >> International Body, and thus was already a member.   You are right,
> >> the proposal was
> >> rejected.    Jim Gamble
> > _______________________________________________
> > List address:
> > Admin interface: 
> >
> > Archives:
> _______________________________________________
> List address:
> Admin interface:
> Archives:

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