Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I always loved BURR TILLSTROM. . .
. . . there was something about one man-out-of-view yet fully revealed. . .
. . . creating his own universe. . .
. . . to which all were invited.

Even DON SAHLIN worked with Burr.
BIL BAIRD was the Olympus of Puppetry, SANDY BECKER was an inspiration, and CHUCK McCANN was my idol. But I always thought of Burr Tillstrom, the creator of the Kuklapolitan Players. . .
. . . as my brother.


  1. What a beautiful tribute and how lucky you were to be able to see them perform live. I loved Kukla, Fran and Ollie as a little girl, but since most of my exposure to them was through the CBS Children's Film Festival, I didn't "know" about Burr. In 2004, I "met" him on the internet, was fascinated by his talent and was delighted by the Kuklapolitans all over again. His Berlin Wall hand ballet made me cry and I was a fan for life. Here is my little salute to Burr and the Kuklapolitans:

  2. Dear Craig,

    In my interview with Paul Ashley..He told me that during a trip

    to Chicago,Ill. he was permitted to watch a broadcast of "Kukla,Fran

    & Ollie"being done live from The WGN TV Studios.

    It was during that broadcast..that was he inspired to create his

    own repetory company of hand puppets and advertise his services

    as a puppteer in The New York White Pages.

    Which..he did and it led to his meeting Mr.Steve Carlin(Then The

    Head of RCA Victor's Children's records Dept)..who needed someone

    to help him create a new children's tv puppet show for NBC TV.

    The result was "Rootie Kazootie"..and as they say..the rest is


    Thanks For Sharing these rare pieces of tv puppetry history

    featuring Ms.Allison,Mr.Tillstrom and "The Kuklapollitan Player



    P.S.Do you know the name of the gentleman in the white shirt and

    black necktie..who is talking with Mr.Tillstrom?

  3. It's surprising to hear me say this, but even though I'm eighteen, I, at one point, have been into Kukla, Fran, and Ollie. I guess I've got a weak spot for puppets, even older ones...

  4. In the late '40's or early '50's Kukla wiped his nose on the stage curtain after sneezing. During the next week the tv studio was sent a good number of handkerchiefs from the viewers. A simpler... sweeter time.