Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Captain Kevin Show Part 4

And parting is such sweet sorrow - - made sweeter still when it is only 3:38.
It's Part 4 of the Captain Kevin Show Trilogy. Please stick around for the epilog - - it's the long lost (In Color!) farewell moment when the good Captain signs off after 34 years on the air. Historically it's right up there with Clarabelle talking, Bill Jackson's clip-trip down memory lane, and making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, please take it, Captain Kevin (there won't be a dry seat in the house.)

Friday, May 29, 2009


Part 4 of the CAPTAIN KEVIN SHOW trilogy will be up this weekend. Hope you'll check back to see if the Butler did it. . .

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Little Pady Story by Olga

PADY BLACKWOOD never toured with me during my magic-time with Nicolo Marionettes, but we finally got to work together at Bil Baird's Theatre. One of my favorite Pady stories is when we were in the middle of performing THE WIZARD OF OZ.

We were on the bridge with LIVE mics. I was wearing this blouse . . .
. . . which buttoned up the back. I'm totally involved in performing Dorothy, when Pady strolls over on the bridge and starts unbuttoning my blouse! I couldn't say anything because the mics were hot, so I'm moving my mouth and yelling in mime "stoppit! Pady!" Then the blouse slowly- -falls - - doooooooooown over my hands, onto the controls! I couldn't stop performing. Meanwhile, the whole cast is convulsing with laughter. Including me! I was hysterical at the funnyness and totally embarassed at the same time. Soon Pady's better nature took over (unless that WAS his better nature?) and he calmly returned to my side , slid the blouse up over my shoulders and rebuttoned me up. The audience didn't notice a thing, but it became indelibly etched in my head. I love Pady Blackwood!

Monday, May 25, 2009

The incomparable PADY BLACKWOOD

I used to go to the World's Fair in Queens just to visit the Chrysler Show-Go-Round. Not that I cared at all about cars (when I finally learned to drive @ age 23, my friend asked what kind of car I wanted, and I said "orange.") No, the Chrysler Show-Go-Round was home to THE BIL BAIRD MARIONETTES.

I would watch it over and over, get back on line, and watch it again. But that's another post for another time.

(pictured: Carby Carburator, more often than not manipulated by Rod Young)

Then one day I discovered there was another puppet show on the Fair grounds - - LES POUPEE de PARIS (pronounced Paree)

It was created by Sid & Marty Krofft, several years before they hit it super big in TV with the clunky HR PUFENSTUFF et al.

The show was an extravaganza - - filled with celebrity puppets and spectacle and glitz. It was really pretty great. After the show they would let us go backstage! You'd enter an auditorium door SR, they'd lead you across the backstage area, then out you'd go into the Fair SL. But not me. I was backstage and I wasn't leaving. I saw an artistic-looking fellow in black, and I caught his eye and blurted out "I'm a puppeteer too." He said "I bet you are." "I even make my own puppets" I said. "That's what a real puppeteer does" he replied in a way that I never forgot (no, duh.)

Then he asked if I "would you like to watch the next performance from back. . ." "YES!!!!!" ". . stage?" He showed me where to sit (if I remember correctly through these rosy bifocals) it was on a raised platform off-stage left. Ocassionally during this amazing production, he would come over to make sure I was alright, that I could see OK, etc. It was thrilling. After the show, this puppet artist who made such a great impression on me, shook my hand at the stage door - - (once the audience had filled past yet again) - - and said "My name is PADY BLACKWOOD" and off I went, walking on Air-Thru-The-Fair, thinking about Pady Blackwood. Somehow - - I found myself on line once again at the Show-Go-Round.

Next post, Olga reminices about many a Pady shenanagin at Baird's theater. . .

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Pictured is one of the true prizes in my Mutual Media Broadcasting System memorabilia collection: the ORIGINAL BOAT MODEL used in the ORIGINAL CAPTAIN KEVIN SHOW OPENING (you can see it in action in Part 1 which I posted earlier).
Now without any adieu of any kind, here it be, gang. Part 3 of the CAPTAIN KEVIN SHOW, brought to you by Roy's Brown Stuff, and, as you'll discover, The Captain Kevin Dress-Up Kit (please leave a COMMENT if you had one.) BTW? If anyone knows the wearabouts of that kid from the commercial, let him know that film archivist and Mutual Media historian Howard Bacaaazeo would like to interview him. You're also going to see a promo for THE COACH KENNY SHOW ("With the taste kid's love.")
So "Ahoy, for God's Sake!" Click below, and enjoy. . .

Friday, May 22, 2009


I'm sorry. Pictured: Mutual Media producers $hel Marino (l) + Roger Zeebach (R) in what we're told is a typical pose.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


A loooooooooooong time ago, before there actually was such a thing as High Def Radio (way back in ought-five) we did a parody of the concept in our kidult series THE HAMPTOONS. SAM SIMIAN invented it; music was written and played by New York City's late lamented psychedelic rock band EARTH STOOD STILL, and the visuals were created by MIKE CAMPBELL and me.

PS: The dancing blobbing flashback-inducing florps are actual artifacts performed and filmed back in the day by the man himself - - my friend Josh White and the JOSHUA LIGHT SHOW!

Monday, May 18, 2009


In 1974 I had my own half-hour TV special on WABC-TV Boston. It was way fun.
That's me on the far right. See the Abbott & Costello puppets?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


When Olga Felgemacher joined the Bil Baird Marionette Theater, it rejuvenated Bil. "Finally" he said. "A female puppeteer who can not only act (she graduated from Northwestern University), manipulate marionettes, design and sew costumes - - but - - she also has the perfect toy voice!" Bil signed her to a long-term contract. He also gave her this amazing picture.
Olga became Leading Lady in the Bil Baird "A" Team: Bil, Frank (Sully) Sullivan (who was Olga's mentor), Byron Whiting, Carl Harms and off course, the legendary Pady Blackwood (more about Pady next post.)

Her first show with Bil was Winnie The Pooh. She played Christopher Robbin, Tigger, and the Coddleston Pie Mouse (Sully was Winnie, Bil was Eeyore.)
Olga also played PETER in Peter and the Wolf. . . . . . DOROTHY in The Wizard of Oz, and NICKIE in DAVY JONES LOCKER.
Baird's was a very exciting place to work. Of course all the puppets and marionettes were the product of the idiocyncratic vision and genius of Bil Baird himself, whom I call THE OLYMPUS OF PUPPETRY. Olga said if you were skilled, though, the puppeteers could also have a hand in the building process (there never really was a "shop foreman.") Sully would one day be making molds while Olga was sewing costumes and Bil was painting faces and Pady was laying celastic (they were very close.)

Then one day Bil told Olga they were going to do a show "just for her." It was PINOCCHIO!

Written by JEROME COOPERSMITH (The Apple Tree); Music by MARY RODGERS (Once Upon A Mattress); lyrics by SHELDON HARNICK (Fiddler on the Roof), Pinocchio, with Olga in the lead, won the New York State Council of the Arts GOLD MEDAL.
By now, several new, world-class puppeteers have joined the company, as Sully retired from the bridge to build puppets and supervise the productions. This is when JONATHAN FREEMAN came upon the scene, forging a life-long connection to Olga (and me!) in the make-believe arts.

(from left) Sean O'Malley, Olga, Bill Tost, Jonathan Freeman, Byron Whiting, Peter Baird, and Carl Harms

Pinocchio, being the rousing success it was, prompted Bil to tackle another classic. This time, ALICE IN WONDERLAND (see earlier post.) It opened at the theater to rave reviews, and soon, Olga was on the road again, touring Alice across America. Olga played ALICE (live on stage and as the puppet,) the RED QUEEN, and TIGER LILY. All the marionettes were wonderful to work. Of course - - they were BAIRDS!


A child loved the show, saw it several times, and came back once to meet Olga - - dressed as Alice!

Olga wanted Bil to sign her copy of his book, THE ART OF THE PUPPET. He said OK but held onto it for several years. Whenever she'd ask about it, he would shine her on. Then one day in 1975, Bil, smiling impishly, handed her the book. Olga ran and hid, and in the privacy of under the stage, she sloo-o-o-wly opened the book and cried. She could not have been happier with what she discovered!

Saturday, May 9, 2009


As promised (or threatened) here for your viewing pressure comes: Paul Kidd & Art Stuffs, a Gentleman Caller "just-in-time-for-Mother's Day" promo, and, the infamous ROY BROWN'S STUFF COMMERCIAL and CARTOON. Inhaling is advised. Maybe required.

Friday, May 8, 2009


When we started working together, we TradeMarked our company

Our first TV job was a pilot for a series called "ROARING DONUTS."

Me 'n O with one of the stars, GOONEY BIRD (center).

ROARING DONUTS starred STUBBY KAYE (Marryin' Sam in the film Lil' Abner) and was produced by DON KIRSCHNER (Yes, the Don Kirschner of Don Kirshner's Rock Concert fame. He liked us and was very supportive.)

Then we got a call from a fledgling network that wanted marionettes for a new series. Some of you might have heard of the network? It was called NICKELODEON, and the series was PINWHEEL! This was very exciting because there really was no one else doing marionettes on TV at that time, so it was opportunity to introduce our things-on-strings to a whole new generation of viewers.

Hello to all you Pinwheelers - - we loved doing the show for you!! Here are a few seminal moments . . .

A just born LULU THE HOBO BUG meets her twin brother HERBERT when he is alas, just a head.

Me, stringing a newly hatched ADMIRAL BIRD.

Olga, dolling up LULU in Ebeneezer's basement set.

And now, one moment and two seconds of PINWHEEL.

Check back this weekend for the second exciting installment of the Captain Kevin Show.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009



Monday, May 4, 2009


I think Paul Ashley made the best hand puppets in the world! A true inspiration to me.

He designed and built the ROOTIE KAZOOTIE cast. . .
Paul created the first puppet musical version of HMS PINAFORE for the Dumont Network. . .

He made all of CHUCK McCANN's puppet troupe.

And his sense of caricature is beautiful!

Me and the Rootie Crew
(how come they look the same after all these years?)

Saturday, May 2, 2009


OK, gang. Here it is. Part one of the Mutual Media Broadcasting Systems "THE CAPTAIN KEVIN SHOW" as scrounged,edited and introduced by film archivist Howard Bacaaazeo (see previous post Comments Section for a word from Howard.)
Mutual Media was known as "Your Kids Other Home." And boy, they weren't kidding!
Please leave a comment - - you know you'll have one!