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THE PUPPETS

Shown here is the entire cast of characters that enchanted audiences of all ages (adults and kids alike sat spellbound) in schools, libraries, community centers and clubs from New York to Arizona, where they performed from the 1960s through 1990s. The entire production was a family operation, with the puppets and stories springing from the imagination and creativity of my mother and the technical details, from the stage used in the performance of the shows to the special effects, scenery, lighting, and audio recordings all created by my father. The voices of the characters were provided by my parents, myself as a boy, and family friends.

Although I planned to clean up and digitize the recordings, which last time I checked sounded as though they had gotten muddied, presumably due to the age of the tapes, but I never did get around to it. Unfortunately, both the sceneries that were used with the shows (like a 3-dimensional cave, the witche's house in the forest, and a castle) and the stage itself are no more. For anyone interested, I think still have the plans I made to recreate the original stage that my father made, which was left behind in a move from New York to Arizona. The stage he designed, and which I recreated from measurement and memory, consisted of two side and one front panel made of 2x4s (or in my case, 2x2s) and covered with a heavy green, sort of sequin-looking fabric, and had interior and exterior lighting, sceneries that hung from the sides, and backdrops tht were suspended in the back. Inside, a bench provided seating for two puppeteers.

Sadly, my favorite puppet - the witch, was stolen during a show that my mother and a friend performed at one of the schools in Kingman, now mamy years ago. How this could have happened I do not understand, but it did. At any rate, my mother made a new witch, "which" I think is hideous; I mean the features are vaguely remeniscent of the original, but this one has a pudgy head made out of some sort of paper mache that to me looks like a shriveled fig, whereas the original had somewhat grotesque but finely sculpted features like the others.

Which I suppose brings me to the point of my valuation of these puppets; to me they are simply priceless. Yes, I've seen other remarkable puppets (and a lot of gawdawful ugly ones), but I think these rate right up in the top 10% of any I have ever encountered. In the years since I inherited them I have struggled over what to do to find them a suitable home. I considered giving them to the family of one of my relatives in Germany, but not only couldn't decide which one, but these precious performers would probably have spent their remaining existence either sitting in a corner somewhere (as they have been with me) or becoming children's toys, which they are definitely not made for. I though of donating them to a puppet museum, but also I didn't think that was a fitting finale for this little band of performers. Hopefully, they will find a new puppet master who will let them perform once more, and I am more than willing to provide whatever help I can to that end.

The price reflects the fact that I want this set to go to a good home. If you spend the same amount on a dog, you get a presumably pedegreed animal that may or may not chew up your shoes, will cost you a lot in both time and money to keep in good health and properly fed, and in most cases will be with you for about 15 years. Like a breeder who cares about where his pup go, I've priced these puppets high enough to ensure that whoever gets them really wants them and isnn't likely to just buy them on a whim.

The price is $1500 for the set. This includes the thirteen handmade puppets shown here, the original scripts and recordings created for the shows in which these characters starred, any existing copies of the scripts, recordings, and related materials, and a reel-to-reel tape recorder. As mentioned previously, I believe that the magnetic tapes have degraded due to their age, and would advise that they be copied to digital media so that they can be brought back to their original sound quality and preserved. Some of the recordings have been copied to cassettes, but these, too, are subject to degradation and should be cleaned up and digitized.

I haven't looked at these materials in some time, but would say that there are at least half-a-dozen completed plays with complete scripts and recordings. I believe there is also a VHS video of one of the later shows which I will try to locate and copy onto a DVD to include with the set.

The Mother

The doting mother of Heidi and Peter (or of Kasper Lari-Fari in some stories), mom spends most of her time making the family house a home, until the kids' adventues get them in trouble and she has to come to their rescue.

The Son Peter

Peter is a somewhat urbanized version of Hansel, a typical wholesome boy who likes to explore and who tries to look out for his sister and help his mother, who is evidently raising the kids alone.

The Daughter Heidi

Heidi is basically Peter's equivalent to Hansel's Gretel. Like her brother, she likes to explore when she can and help out at home anytime she can. Being young and naive, Heidi sometimes gets into trouble, like when the wicked witch turns her into a sunflower.

The King

The head of the royal family, the king has his hands full keeping order in the kingdom and routing out miscreants like the crocodile and the devil..

The Prince

The prince is sort of the older, wiser, and more noble version of Peter, trying to balance his duties in the royal family with his more conventional interests.

The Princess

Like the prince, the princess is more or less an older, wiser, and more influential version of Heidi and like the prince - to whom she may or may not be related, tries to balance her royal duties with everyday life.

Kasper Lari-Fari

Kasper is the free spirit who is part jester, part clown, and part blockhead (think Gilligan from Gilligan's Island). His favorite pastimes are singing, dancing, and eating the delicious dumplings that his mother makes. When Heidi and Peter aren't in the play, he is the son.

The Dwarf

The dwarf is part impish gnome who likes to play tricks on kids, and part astute professor who can perhaps help those same kids solve their dilemas so they can get home in time for supper.

The Crocodile

The crocodile appears in some stories as one of the leading thugs, always looking for a meal, and when there's no one around to eat he's usually working on some get-rich scheme.

The Devil

The other thug in the stories is the devil, who is hell-bent on making himself rich and tricking people when he can, and on occasion he conspires with, and usually gets into arguments with, the crocodile.

The Witch

The witch is pretty stereotypically modeled after the witch that appears in Hansel and Gretel stories, living in her cookie house in the forest and looking for kids to keep in cages while she fattens them up for cooking and so forth.

The Sorcerer

The magician or sorcerer iin many ways parallels the dwarf; he is a powerful wizard, but not above toying with folks just for fun, and he seems to be trying to improve his lot any way he can, from helping kids who were enchanted into sunflowers to striking deals with - or trying to trick, those stuck in the mortal world.

The Fairy Godmother

As in all fairytales, the Fairy Godmother is the essence of goodness and wholesomeness. Whenever she appears, she watches over the vulnerable ones and provides help and avice to those who need it.


A Kingman Daily Miner article about the puppet creator