File puptcrit/puptcrit.0612, message 32


Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2006 16:10:26 -0500
To: puptcrit-AT-lists.driftline.org
Subject: [Puptcrit] Douglas Christopher Burnham's CARMEN on e-bay


On page 230 of ART OF THE PUPPET by Bil Baird is a photo of Frank 
Paris with his CARMEN. If you have a copy, take a peek.

Over the years, his Carmen had 4 or 5 different costumes.The last 
puppet recostuming Frank did was for this same puppet.

He had asked Carmen Miranda for permission to do a marionete portrait 
of her, and her costumer gave Frank a watercolor costume rendering 
for reference. That is in our collection.

When the portrait was finished, Frank showed the puppet to Carmen 
backstage at the Pantages Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles. She asked 
her orchestra conductor in Portuguese what he thought. The Conductor 
answered in Portuguese, "it flatters you". Frank had worked in South 
America and understood those phrases. In English, Frank said "it was 
meant to" (flatter you).

Frank's Carmen has CLOTH ARMS. Douglas Christopher Burnham's Carmen 
according to the curent seller, has wood body parts  and is shorter 
if my memory is accurate on that point.  It is the same puppet 
exhibited in the Studio City restaurant where Doglas last performed.

The attached photos may help, but the b/w photo is from Bil's book, 
half-tone dots and all. I don't have ready access at this moment to 
my copy of the original 8x10 photo (copies of which have shown up on 
e-bay).

The seller is being pig-headed. I note that seller mentions that some 
early puppeteers had duplicates, even with different facial 
expressions. Well some contemporary puppeteers do too, but that has 
NOTHING to do with either Frank Paris' or Douglas Burnham's versions 
of Carmen Miranda.

I have seen both versions and handled both versions, and I handed 
Frank's Carmen to him from stage wings on many occasions, including 
Puppeteers of America Fesivals.

Frank's audiences included many celebrities, but he was most nervous 
when his sister was in the audience as she was at th PofA Fest in 
Lubbock TX (where I handed Frank the "next" puppet and received the 
puppet he had just operated.)

Even watching him from that close, his performance was magical. I 
knew I was in the presence of a real Master Puppeteer. Afterward, 
Nancy Staub commented that"he still had it" and she was absolutely 
right.

And his sister Jane told me, "I don't know why he was so nervous with 
me in the audience...I've seen it before."

Well, I have a sister too, and she may have seen one or two of my 
exhibits, but they were not as high on her priority list as puppet 
exhibits are on my priority list.

There is a little information about Douglas Christopher Burnham at

<http://www.ci.sat.tx.us/art/website/PDFs/Southside_rtf.pdf>www.ci.sat.tx.us/art/website/PDFs/Southside_rtf.pdf

You will need to scroll down several page to "Yurri-Edmunds Mill", 
paragraph #4.

Douglas maintained his puppet studio in an historic San Antonio Tx 
neighborhood for about 2 years after his stint with the Krofft 
Puppets at Hemisfair came to a close.

Steve Abrams tracked down a credit for Douglas Christopher Burnham as 
a dancer in "Around The World in 80 Days (the Todd A0 Movie.

One thing continues to bug me---Frank Paris' obit from the Los 
Angeles Times has NOTHING to do with Douglas' Carmen, but that framed 
obit has accompanied Douglas' puppet as "evidence" that Frank made 
Doug's puppet. I personally sent Frank's photo and biographical 
information to the Los Angeles Times, and I do not appreciate seeing 
it MIS-USED in this manner.

All this is an annoying reminder that MOST puppet "information" is 
skewed on e-bay Buyer Beware!

ALAN COOK

[ For the two photos mentioned above, see:
  http://www.driftline.org/puptcrit/Frank_Paris_&_Carmen_100dpi.tiff  and
http://www.driftline.org/puptcrit/Douglas Christopher-Burnham Carmen.jpg  ]
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