File puptcrit/puptcrit.0801, message 96

Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2008 15:43:20 -0600
Subject: [Puptcrit] Johnny Faust

Hi Alan,

The recent tales about Johnny Faust sent me to my files.  I had first 
considered JF as a subject for my dissertation -- he had grown up in 
nearby Ripon and, according to McPharlin, had a varied and promising 
career. In addition to nightclub performing,  Johnny and Marion created 
the "Alice in Philcoland" shows which were emceed by Peep Squeak (the 
little mouse you saw on Johnny's business card, Alan) and were performed 
at hotels in Atlantic City and Baltimore and toured the south and west 
of the United States 1948-52.  They also did the Rancho Philco T.V. 
series which was filmed at the Alexander Filmed Studios in Colorado 
Springs in 1950 and 1951 -- another lead which vaporized in the air as 
the company closed and everything was dispersed or destroyed.  I carried 
on a vigorous letter campaign trying to track down primary evidence but 
was thwarted at every lead.  Over the years of trying to tackle the 
histories of various puppeteers  I have found thatl everything possible 
happens to primary and secondary evidence -- flooded basements lead the 
list of destructive causes followed by heirs and other unknowledgables 
throwing out "stuff."

In January of 1972 I met Marion Faustman Cowan (remarried) at her home 
in Appleton, Wisconsin.  There were a few photos and newspaper clippings 
she could share with me because they had been in her mother's things, 
not in the trunk in the flooded basement in of Marion's Chicago home.  
She also said that after Johnny died, she took all his plaster molds out 
in the backyard and smashed them.  There were a couple of  JF's 
marionettes in the Ripon, Wisconsin Historical Society Museum; Marion 
brought those to Oshkosh when she advised students on manipulation in a 
summer 1978 workshop at UWO.  Marion became a charter member of the 
Wisconsin Puppetry Guild in 1983 but, I'm sorry to say, I don't remember 
when she died

Alan, did you meet Marion when you brought the puppet exhibit to UWO in 
1979?  If I recall correctly, you have several of Johnny's heads in your 
collection -- the Axis trio: Hitler, Mussolini and one more?

I have three publications by Johnny.
"Producing the Marionete Play " 'The Haunted House' " by Dart Bearn, 
including directions for presentation"
"How to Make and Operate Marionettes:  Marionettes, a complete set of 
illustrated plans for the beginner, with a preface by Tony Sarg"
"How to Make and Operate Marionettes.  A Complete Set of Plans, 
interestingly written an illustrated for beginners, by John C. Faustman, 
manager for the Pixie marionettes, including facts about the Pixie 
marionettes"  Autographed by Johnny

Perhaps you can advise me, Alan, about the diposition of these books. 

In January of 1971 I received a nice reply to my inquiry regarding 
Johnny's work with Bil Baird.  Bil wrote, " Johnny came backstage to 
visit my show . . .at the 1934 World's Fair in Chicago.  he kept in 
touch with me and in 1930-40 I sent for him and he took out one of my 
truck theatres, traveling the five summer months for the Shell Oil Co..  
After that he stayed in N.Y. and went into night club work . . .Married 
and established his own company in Baltimore. Johnny had all the 
requisites to become a great puppeteer -- imagination, humor, and a good 
spatial sense and devotiom."

Cheers, Alan,


List address:
Admin interface:


Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005