File puptcrit/puptcrit.0801, message 56


To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2008 09:30:30 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] School Tours


Dear Steve,
I could be wrong, but it sounds like you saw Rufus Rose. Ask the  
experts -- Fred Thompson may know.

Rolande

On Jan 6, 2008, at 8:44 PM, Steve Millward wrote:

> All this talk of school tours has brought back great memories and a  
> question
> to me.  Somewhere around 1955 or 56, I saw a wonderful marionette  
> show by a
> traveling puppeteer (whom I suspect was with a national school  
> assemblies
> program) at Alameda Jr. High School, in Pocatello, Idaho.  I had been
> interested in puppets since I was very young, but this was my first
> experience with a live marionette show.  I wonder if any  
> puppetcritters
> might know who this artist was.  I obviously don't recall his name,  
> but I
> vividly remember the following about him:  He had a trapeze clown, a  
> great
> Elvis, and  a Minnie Pearl marionette.  Elvis was pretty new then,  
> but this
> puppet's "Hound Dog" stole the show with his gyrating hips.  I still
> remember one of the jokes the Minnie Pearl figure used:  "Here is  
> household
> tip for you.  Have you ever gotten  postage stamps stuck together so  
> badly
> that you can't use them?  The next time that happens to you, simply  
> run a
> hot iron between them.  You can then mail that iron to anywhere in the
> country!"    Funny how I still remember that over 50 years later  
> (especially
> since I often forget where I laid my glasses 5 minutes ago)  Anyhow,  
> if
> anyone has any idea of who this performer was, I would really  
> appreciate
> hearing from you.  Thanks, and Happy New Year
> Steve Millward
> Pocatello, Idaho.
>
> On Jan 6, 2008 5:42 PM, Jim Menke <jim99jr-AT-gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> No one can imagine what it is like to do those school assembly  
>> tours until
>> they have done one. I did 4 years of them back in the 50s and early
>> 60s.Twowere in Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, one was in the southwest -
>> Florida, Georgia,
>> N & S Carolina and Virginia and New York State (I was drafter in the
>> middle
>> of this last tour. All were with a full marionette stage and a  
>> partner.
>> They
>> were 45 minute story shows - Hansel and Gretel; Snow White and  
>> Sleeping
>> Beauty.
>>
>> The agents had no concept of what it takes to do a full marionette  
>> show
>> with
>> the setting up, doing the show, taking down and then travel to the  
>> next
>> school. We would be booked for 2 or 3 schools in a day, some times  
>> with a
>> 75
>> mile drive between shows. One agent told me that if we were running  
>> late
>> to
>> simple stop the show, go out in front of the stage and tell the  
>> audience
>> how
>> the story ended. I simply could not do that. The shows were done  
>> live - no
>> tape recording except for music - so I worked up a short version of  
>> each
>> show to fit the schedule.
>>
>> It was wonderful training for a performer, but was difficult on the  
>> body
>> and
>> social conditions. We were seldom in one town for a day. After the  
>> last
>> show
>> of the day we drove to the next town to be ready to get to a school  
>> at
>> 7:30
>> or 8 AM for the first show of the day.This made a social life  
>> impossible.
>> The only rest was on a weekend and ofter we were booked into  
>> somspecial
>> circumstance on a Sat. or Sunday. This would go on from September  
>> through
>> the following May with a week and a half off at Christmas - 12 - 15  
>> shows
>> per week.Travel was difficult especially in bad weather. There was  
>> one
>> time
>> when the grear shift handle (it was a manual transmission station  
>> wagon)
>> broke off and we had to drive to the next show in first gear with no
>> backing
>> up. I got to a garage where the man drilled a hole in what was left  
>> of the
>> shift handle and stuck a rod in it until we got to the show and  
>> then a
>> repair shop.Anoother time in Florida we speent the weekend in Ft.  
>> Walton
>> Beach while a hurricane blew around us. The agane insisted that we be
>> there
>> for Monday morning in case the school opened.
>>
>> Because of the physical hardships and hotel arrangements (we often  
>> got to
>> a
>> hotel and only one room would be available), it was not practical  
>> to have
>> a
>> female as the other puppeteer.
>> This was the 50s and 60s so sharing a room was unthinkable.
>>
>> Of course working that closely and being with each other constantly  
>> led to
>> some verbal fights and then we would have to do a show as if things  
>> were
>> wonderful.
>>
>> Finally, I decided that I wanted a home life and no real travel. It  
>> was
>> training I could not have gotten any other way so don't really  
>> regret it,
>> but living at home was wonderful too.
>>
>> --
>> JIM MENKE PUPPETS
>> open your mind
>> fantasies unwind
>>
>> www.jimmenkepuppets.com
>> _______________________________________________
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