Ah, yes... my past life... It was November 3, 1975. I was only 5 months out of High School, and attending Northeastern Illinois University, still unsure of what I wanted to do for a career. In high school I had spent three years working in the schools' television studio. I really wanted a career in television production, but was unwilling to move away from my family. Chicago, being a major market, was going to be a difficult nut to crack to find a job.
On a lark, a friend of mine had told me that Bill Jackson, a legend in children's television in Chicago, was holding auditions for a puppeteer for his show at my friend's school - Columbia College. He was going to use the studio and the Television Production class as the crew to hold the auditions.
I only had one puppet when I was a kid - a Garfield Goose puppet. I had never picked up a puppet since I grew up. So, why not give it a try?
I did. So did about 22-26 other people (as I recall). I don't remember what puppet I had for the audition, I only remember talking with Nancy Wettler, the other puppeteer before going out to the audition. I remember being on the set, I don't remember anything about the scene that we shot. And for some reason, I remember one girl that was part of the class that was acting as crew for the auditions.
All I know is that I started working as a puppeteer for Bill Jackson on Gigglesnort Hotel on December 13, 1975. I was now attached to a little piece of Chicago children's television history. Looking back, it was the most absolutely joyful time of my life, though I know that I didn't know it at the time.
Oh, and that girl that was in class? I married her September 15, 1979. It was my wife Carol.
I wanted to share just a little bit of things that I have from that time period - there seem to be many people interested in it. So, take a look around...