File puptcrit/puptcrit.0803, message 416


To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 17:01:03 GMT
Subject: [Puptcrit] impromptu puppet shows in trenches WW 1


This is mainly for Anne Shaefer.

Take a look at DOLLS & PUPPETS by Max von Boehn which was a standard reference. I think Dover reprinted the second half on puppets. (The first part, is srictly on dolls and in the original German version was in two volumes, combined into one rather thick book in the first Engish language editions).

Towards the back of the PUPPETS part is a chapter on trench puppets of WW I, which was left out of at least one reprint version.
These trench puppets entertained the Kaiser's troops.

While in army uniform, Paul McPharlin had a GI marionette. A number of American puppeteer served in Special Services, performing with puppets to boost morale in WW II and the Korean War. At least one puptcritter might share experiences perhaps.

After WW II in a refugee camp in Europe, a group of Estonians somehow managed to create puppets from pieces of clothing and other scarce materials in wintertime.  I'm told that every so often they'd hurry to the wood metal stove to warm their cold hands enough to continue making puppets. Those puppets I think still exist somewhere in New Jersey. They printed a thin pamphlet about the history of this puppet adventure.

If a puppeteer's life sometimes seems hard today, it has been much harder in the past.

The Athens Puppet Theater, a  Greek civilian enterprise which began during WW II by artists determined to provide something positive for children of that day, lasted long enough to celebrate their 25th Anniversary. There too, puppets were made from scarce materials during the war, and the Old Man of the Woods and a mouse in my collection are very much on the gray color scale, but they made a brave and positive statement in a very dismal time.

In 1979-80 at The Library of Congress I got to look at some rare photos acquired by Allied Troops in Germany in WW II, showing a German puppet exhibit being vsited by Nazi officers. (Those puppets had been made of readily obtained materials in contrast to those by Greek and Estonian puppet makers.)

While I was at  Camp (sometimes Fort Chaffee) Chaffee, Arkansas I planned to talk about puppet making to a local girl scout group, so I made a hand puppet head out of an old tennis ball, but was transferred a week or two before that scheduled event and only have a photo of the puppet that misse its engagement with local folks.

I am pleased at reports that puppets are being sent to Iraq. Every positive action is welcome in difficult times.

ALAN COOK  



-----Original Message-----
From: Anne Schaefer
Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 7:35 AM
To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Losing a BIG contract


On Mar 25, 2008, at 6:57 PM, Mathieu Ren=EF=BF=BD wrote:
>
> Surprisingly to most people who know me, I once was in the  
> "cadets", a form
> of army for younger people, kind of like the boy scouts, but with  
> all the
> army equipement, including the senseless insults and shouting.
> As a bonus, the whole thing was a model of disorganisation. Couple  
> that with
> weapons training, and it's a wonder no one's ever been shot...
>

Hee hee - sorry, M - was not intending to impugn your manliness or  
anything.  Visions of impromptu puppet shows in the trenches just  
wandered through my mind...
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