File puptcrit/puptcrit.0705, message 124

Date: Wed, 16 May 2007 06:43:42 GMT
Subject: [Puptcrit] Dolls as puppers

A frequent translation of Bunraku is "Doll Play"

Brick Brothers Circus was performed at puppet festivals with REAL BRICKS which were moved about in the performance space by PUPPETmongers Powell.

One translation of "puppets" in Mexico is "Munecos Animados" or "animated dolls".

In German, Puppen can mean puppet or it can mean doll, but puppenspiel is a PUPPET play

Table top puppet shows have utilized stuffed animals, dolls, pure puppets, and miscellaneous objects (Object theatre or puppet show? It is how the PERFPORMER/PUPPETEER CONCEIVES it)

When I first saw Paul Zaloom in NYC (decades ago) performing with salt shakers & plastic GI Joe "action figures" (the term for dolls played with by contemporary boys) I found it interesting but was not entirely convinced it was a puppet show. At some point Paul saw Bruce Schwartz and his subtly animated puppets (they ACTED), and Paul's objects for me became part of a puppet show from then on. Paul Zaloom told me that Bruce was a big influence on his work--"Now I know what to DO with the objects". So I think the thought process of the performer has much to do with whether it is a puppet show or not.

A side note on stop-motion puppets and Ray Peck: Back in the early 1960s I met Ray at Clokey Productions in Glendora, California and it was then that he told me about being a New York actor who went to work for Sue Hastings Marionettes. Ray said the Hastings training was a very helpful background for stop-motion puppetry.

 Sue Hastings was not the only company to hire actors. Nick Coppola had a group of actors available as puppeteers too. A LOT of NY actors do not work full time and many have welcomed puppet jobs.

Sid Krofft frequently said back in the POUPEES DES PARIS 1960s that he preferred to hire dancers rather than puppeteers. Well, it is about movement, but in my humble opinion, the best Krofft puppeteers WERE puppeteers. Pady Blackwood, King Hall, Van Snowden, Stan Kramer are examples in my memorybank.

I thank Greg B. for pushing my buttons on this subject/discussion.

As for cartoon animation, one prominent animator, Chuck Jones has mentioned in TWO different books how working with Harry Burnett and the Yale Puppeteers on Olvera Street, Los Angeles c. 1930 helped with his animaton drawing work for Warner Brothers" Bugs Bunny, etc.

AND for Disney's PINOCCHIO, a small version and a larger verion of a full, 3-D Pinocchio were built for the animators to study. Blueprint Plans were reproduced in Popular Mechanix or similar magazine for home craftsmen to duplicate. In the early 1960s we were fortunate to borrow the big Disney Pinocchio for a puppet exhibit in Hollywood along with Edgar Bergen's Charlie & Mortimer. Bob Jones, Wah Chang and Charles ("Chris") Christodoro, (all puppet makers) contributed to the making of the Pinocchio feature cartoon.

Every puppeteer I knew when the Disney film first was released, SAW the movie. The influences were a wide 2-way street. 

Wayne Barlow produced a marionette version of SNOW WHITE when Disney's first feature was released, performed at J.W. Robinson's downtown Los Angeles department store. A young puppeteer named Bob Baker worked on the show That show is the first puppet show I remember in some detail.

Walt and Roy Disney saw Frank Paris perform marionettes including a Disney-sty;le Pinocchio and a Fantasia style Ostrich .  Years later Frank performed at the Disney Company Christmas Parties for employees in Burbank, CA. (I was there to hand puppets to Frank from the theater wings).

Bob Baker told me that the Disney artists saw Ralph Chesse's Los Angeles WPA Federal Theater production of SNOW WHITE which preceded the making of the movie.

There are many examples of mutual nurture between cartoon animation and puppetry.


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