Blog : Puppet History


Wa3d3611_879cafd54f7342c19d8d7628b437c9ca.jpg_srb_p_600_835_75_22_0.50_1.20_0nt to be part of the largest showcase of British puppetry in the world? Apply to Beverley Puppet Festival now!

We have had some fantastic submissions for ?#?BevPuppetFest? 2016 so far, but still have openings for adult and family shows. Puppetry companies – follow the link below to find information on how to submit a proposal to be part of next years festival.

Please note that although in a perfect world we would love to host companies from around the world, due to funding we cannot pay for travel costs from across seas. If you are a foreign company please only apply if you are prepared to cover your own travel, or are touring in the UK at the time of the festival.

Washington Trip Part 3

Continuing my trip to the Smithsonian I came across the work of Basil Milovsoroff. I didn’t know anything about Basil, so when I got home I searched the internet and was actually surprised I hadn’t heard of him until now. Here is the Wikipedia’s “historic” findings 🙂

Basil Milovsoroff (1906-1992) was an accomplished Russian-American puppeteer. He was born in Siberia, close to the Mongolian border and emigrated to the United States when he was very young. He received a BS and Masters degrees from the Oberlin College, and in 1957 he joined the Department of Russian Studies at Dartmouth College.

In 1931 he married Georgia Taylor and together started The Folktale Puppet Theatre. He was widely recognized as one of the best puppeteers in the United States, and in 1983 he received the President’s Award of the Puppeteers of America (a year before Frank Oz received it)

His puppets can be best described as surrealist compositions of pieces of wood that preserved their original shapes, with their voices having a resemblance to the sounds of the forest.

I have looked everywhere for a recorded performance of Basil’s work but unfortunately cannot find anything 🙁

Correction: The Puppeteers of America sell a video found HERE– perhaps i’ll just have to purchase a copy :-))

Video Tour of Puppet Arts Institute

I found this amazing video of a tour of the Puppet Arts Institute located in Independent Missouri. Diane Houk (the tour guide) takes us on an amazing historical journey and is a delight to listen too. Her love for puppetry can be felt from the get go; she is an amazing historian. I love this tour and have added it to my life’s “something I HAVE to do” list!

Video 1    Video 2   

Video 3     Video 4 

The Puppet Arts Institute is an non-profit organization, so if you have some extra money (lol) feel free to donate to:

Puppetry Arts Institute
11025 E. Winner Rd
Independence, MO 64050

I also recommend checking out their NEWSLETTER

Puppeteers Unite!

UPDATE: I apologize but the website the petition was on asked for donations- I felt this cheapened the cause so I took off the petition. I will try to find another site that will host the petition without asking for $ 

I watched the audio commentary for STAR WARS: Empire Strikes Back and was amazed to find that George Lucas tried to get Frank Oz nominated for Best Supporting Actor for the Oscars. The Academy denied his request stating Puppeteers are not actors…WHAT?!  I started a petition for people to sign. I will submit the list to the Academy to recognize the work of Puppeteers. It probably will not really make a lick of difference, but we can at least show a united front towards this issue. 

Get you and your friends to sign the petition

Yoda was a prime example of a master performance. If Frank Oz performance was not believeable EMPIRE STRIKES BACK would have probably been the worst (or second worst…Episode 1) Star Wars instead (in my mind) the best.

Cora and Bill Baird

The March of Dimes has made available a 1955 PSA about the fight against polio. Bill Baird and his wife Cora performs a number using frogs.  Check it out HERE

Bil Baird (originally William Britton Baird) worked under the puppeteer Tony Sarg for five years then produced his own puppet shows from the mid 1930s. He and Cora Eisenberg married in 1937 and began to create original puppets, scenery, and music for their shows. They produced a series of television shows in the 1950s and opened their own marionette theatre in New York in 1966. Bil wrote The Art of the Puppet (1965) and trained puppeteers such as Jim Henson.

Bill’s career spanned over 60 years, performing at many venues and gained world wide fame. One performance that made Bill Baird world known was the famous “Goat-herder” sketch in the Sound of Music.  If you are in the Iowa area, check out the Charles H. MacNiderArt Museum  for Bill Baird work.

Check out Bill Baird’s timeline HERE!