File puptcrit/puptcrit.0707, message 53

Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2007 21:02:51 -0400
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Thanks for kind words

Alan, your work and contribution are amazing. How sad and frustrating
that it is difficult to find funding to preserve and archive an
essential aspect of american entertainment/art history.

I am not familiar with the type of filing system Paul McPharlin used,
but the puppetry program at UConn has an extensive library, thanks to
Bart Roccoberton, our director.  He has a large filing system in
progress with information on various puppeteers and companies.
Additionally, students are required to research puppeteers (such as
Don Sahlin, George Latshaw, etc.) for our Trends:  History of American
Puppetry course.  If the puppeteers are living, Bart really encourages
us to seek out personal interviews.  The student research papers are
kept on file at the lab as well.  Another great source for puppetry
history can be found at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry.
The have a library as well.  Just an FYI for others out there trying
to pull together additional sources.

On 7/5/07, Alan Cook <> wrote:
> I do worry about getting things about puppet history into some recorded form before it disappears. One of many regrets is that we did not have a long interview with Martin Stevens or Olga Stevens---both had great stories, most of which are now lost, leaving us the poorer.
> Bob & Elise have taken interviews seriously and got some excellent information onto video from George Latshaw.
> I hope that some of you WILL interview puppeteers in your own areas. It is easier now than it used to be--recording equipment is cheaper.
> I find it helpful to do more than one visit with an interviewee. you should be able to find new questions from earlier interviews.
> Don Sahlin would have been a great interview--of all the puppeteers I have met, he seemed better able to work in more different styles than anyone I ever knew.
> He was a significant contributor to the Muppets, he worked wih Bob Baker's Hollywood glamour puppets, with Burr Tillstrom, with Martin & Olga Stevens, early on did school tours along with George Latshaw, and so much more. One reason he liked working at Bob Bakers, he enjoyed the Southern California life which included soaking up sunrays at Santa Monica beach.
> As a native of Los Angeles, I often forget the mystique of our area for people from other places. Don was here at the golden time before clogged freeways. I don't know how much mystique remains, but a great amount is gone, gone, gone.
> Well, the next-best thing is to interview people who knew Don Sahlin---too many are already gone.
> I agree with Robert Rogers that "Lili" is a great little classic film and all puppeteers should see it. Paul Walton, Michael O'Rourke, Wolo, and George Latshaw, all brilliant puppeteers in their own right, worked together beautifully on the film.
> For those who read my drips & drabs, you can thank Nancy Staub who nudged me onto puptcrit.
> It would really be nice to have proper funding for preservation of puppets and their great history. The folks at the MacArthur Foundation don't know I even exist.
> I can see why there would have been no Puppeteers of America if founder Paul McPharlin had not lived at home with his parents til he was 40 years old. He ate regularly beneath a roof--something of a luxury so he could do research I depend on regularly---but so far, nothing has replaced his efforts to the same degree.
> Puptcrit & Puppetry Journal and the UNIMA-USA publication help, but no-one is continuing a remarkable file system Paul McPharlin used.
> I continue to hope that new puppeteers will understand the importance of community and participate actively in Guilds and PodA and UNIMA.
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