File spoon-archives/puptcrit.archive/puptcrit_1999/puptcrit.9902, message 58

Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 11:09:19 -0500
Subject: Re: PUPT: "Marionette Mouth Control"

Hartz wrote:

> Do some of you marionette experts have another way
> of operating the marionette's mouth other than a string
> tied to an eyelet on the control bar?  I operated the original
> Howdy Doody......and the mouth string was just attached to
> an eyelet on the 'airplane' bar.  Do any of you use some sort
> of lever system.  Thanks for you answers.

Conrad - where the mouth string is attached onto the marionette control
is strictly for the convenience of the puppeteer, and where it is placed
on the control is determined by the length and reach of the puppeteer's
finger that is going to activate the mouth.  We have sometimes attached
a toggle to the control (usually directly underneath where the head bar
crosses over the main control where it is out of the way) and then
attached the mouth string to the end of the toggle.  A toggle is:  a
thin piece of wood approx. 4" to 6" long and about 1/8" to 1/4" thick
X  3/4" to 1" wide.  A hole, large enough to take 4 thickness of
marionette string is drilled in one end and a hole large enough to take
one thickness of marionette string is drilled in the other end.   (if
you like, both holes can be the same size - your choice!)  Where ever
you decide to put the toggle insert a small screw eye, loop four
thickness of marionette string through the screw eye and larger hole of
the wooden toggle.  Tie it off leaving just enough slack to allow the
toggle to move freely.  The reason we use string to screw eye as opposed
to screw eye to screweye is that screw eye to screw eye sometimes 'lock'
and string to screw eye does not.  Attach the marionette mouth string
through the other end of the toggle adjusting the slack so when the
marionette looks down there is just enough loose string so that the
mouth doesn't open.  You can also use a wire lever  (that will be
covered in the next chapter, if you like). As already stated above -
where you put the toggle/screw eye is simply for the convenience of the
puppeteer to easily move the mouth with one finger of the same hand that
holds the control leaving the other hand free for activating hand/leg

So much for a simple answer.  This is all you will ever need to know
about where to place a mouth string on a control and why.

David (the elder)

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