This collection of entries is from the Category "Puppeteering".
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Last week's (LOOOOooooog) post about my audition that started my short, wonderful career as a television puppeteer really got me thinking about those days and what it was like to puppeteer on a kids television show, and I remembered more things about that "lifetime".
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To begin, let's recap about what you have to do to operate a puppet:
Duckwalk, one arm straight in the air, other arm in the air captured through the character's sleeve, head cocked to the side, watch the monitor, "saying" dialog lines, keeping the head looking in the correct "plane".
A few things came to mind when I was thinking back that really altered the "technique" that really didn't come out during that short audition that showed up during the production of the shows.
First thing was overall height. I have the sneaky suspicion that there was something that skewed the results in my favor at the audition: my height. Nancy was around 5 feet ( I think she was 4' 11", bit I don't recall right now). I'm 5' 3". Bill Jackson, on the other hand, is closer to 6'. Now, when I work with Nancy, height was never an issue. Sometimes with Bill, it is. If he was puppeteering a character, his character may be pretty tall in the scene, so sometimes you really had to stretch or figure a way to come-up on your legs to get more of an extension. But you still had to get your head out of the shot. so you had to crane your neck even further. Let's just say that hurts a LOT.
Second: When I auditioned, Bill recorded all of the character lines for all the scenes that we were running. That way he didn't have to be mic'ed, he didn't have to worry about lines, he could just focus on the performances.
During the shows, Bill would usually only pre-record lines only when he had to appear in a scene with any other character. If he wasn't visible in a shot, he would deliver the lines live. This adds a degree of difficulty to getting the mouth sync correct from take to take, because you know Bill's never going to give the performance exactly the same way as was rehearsed. Or as the last 5 takes.
Third: there's a variation or two when it comes to using a real hand a a character hand. These fake sleeves almost always had a knit glove that matched the opposite stuffed hand of the character. The one exception was Dirty Dragon who had rubber gloves with long fingers that would always flop around and were hard to keep under control and try to act natural. Not only that, they had to have some powder applied to them because, lets face it, under hot studio lights your hands sweat a bit.
Normally you use your dominant hand to operate the mouth. That's because there's a lot of things going on with your hand and wrist and you just have more control with your dominant hand. that means that if you were using the other hand with a dummy sleeve, then you'd use your non-dominant hand for the gesturing. Sometimes this doesn't work, usually because you need to do some complex of fine work with the gesturing hand. That meant that you had to "flip" the way you operated the puppet - you dominant hand was now in the opposite sleeve of the puppet and the "week" hand operated the head and mouth. Talk about screwing you up! It's just like stepping-up to the plate and hitting from the left side when you're a right-hander. The mouth sync suffers a bit as you try and concentrate using your "bad" hand and trying to keep straight and cocking your head in the opposite direction. It's really really really difficult. We really tried not to do that too often. In fact, Bill may break up a scene just so that we can break somewhere in the middle and change hands so the performance wouldn't suffer.
Another variation is when your character needs two hands. we actually changed the technique as we went through the shows. In either case, the solution was using a second puppeteer for the character. We started out having the second puppeteer use their hand opposite the one you use for gesturing. Sometimes, depending on the action, this didn't work out as well. When you carry a prop you may move your hands in different directions than what would be natural for action. We changed that so that the second puppeteer would use both of their hands for gesturing, leaving the primary puppeteer to concentrate on the head an body. This worked really well since only one person was using both hands in perfect synchronization. Looking back, this arrangement made the most sense.
Next is the oddest variation of the two puppeteer technique. We experimented with the concept toward the end of Gigglesnort Hotel, and really put it to use during Firehouse Follies and the Le Hotspot pilot. The difference? It's one puppeteer and one musician. In Firehouse Follies, the musician is a piano player. Bill worked exclusively with him. Bill obviously handled Dirty Dragon and voiced him live at the same time while the piano player worked from underneath and in front of Bill using just his two hands - through Dragon's costume - to play a small upright piano (that was actually built into the back of a prop firetruck that was used in many scenes of the show. By then end, it actually looked pretty good! I think that's what Bill was remembering when he wrote the pilot to Le Hotspot, which was about a dragon that owned a speakeasy and had his own band that performed at the club. That's leads to another variation that I actually did during the pilot - I operated a different dragon character that was the band's drummer. This required me to sort of wrapped around the stool of the drum kit, so the drummer that would sit behind me could play the drum set. His arms went through my character's arms and I had to really move around with the drummer, so that I wouldn't restrict his movement and make him miss the sweat spot of the drums. It also meant that I wasn't far from the big kick drum. It was a really difficult contortionist position to get into. Fortunately, it was only one arm and really no mouth movement, but the character was the drummer, so there was still a lot of action to portray.
You know... this has been really a hell of a lot of fun to reminisce like this. There is still more to say about puppeteering, so I might have to do another entry...
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Thursday, November 03, 2005
It Was 30 Years Ago Today
November 3, 1975. Thirty years ago this morning, I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something that was pretty unlike me. I have never had the courage to try it again (I don't know why), and yet I have cherished every moment it produced.
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I was a freshman in college at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. I was starting to figure out that my major was going to be Computer Science. I was still trying to fit in, trying to find my way in life.
I went downtown to Columbia College, to their building (long gone now) on Lake Shore Drive and Ohio. It was an old building, and I remember having to get to the top floor of the building via elevator that 1) had an operator and 2) felt like a freight elevator.
Part of the top floor was the television facility. There was a class in session - just a plain Television Production class.
The place was pretty crowded, however, and pretty active. There had to be 20-30 students there as well as about 20 "others" milling around. plus a few people in the middle of the studio - the focus of today's exercise.
One of those people is Thane Lyman, the Chairman of the Television Department at Columbia, and instructor of the class.
In the middle of it all was the focus of today's session - a legend in Chicago Children's Television. a gentleman by the name of Bill Jackson.
I had come today to audition to be a puppeteer. A television puppeteer.
Any broadcast television experience? No. Have you ever puppeteered before? No. Do you do any voices? No. As I said - way out of the comfort zone for me. (The voice thing really wasn't an issue - Bill did ALL of the voices for all of the characters. The call today was to replace a puppeteer that had left the show. The person would step in next month to start the second season of Bill's show "Gigglesnort Hotel" that was on the local ABC-affiliate WLS Channel 7.
I couldn't tell you exactly why I did this. In high school I had been involved with the school's television studio/station for almost 3 years. At that time, few high schools in Chicago had a full fledged studio (with classes in television production). I had learned to be on-air talent (being an anchor on the daily news shows that we produced and broadcasted to 2,700 students in their home rooms). I really got hooked on it. But when graduation came, I realized that there wasn't anyplace to go to go further and still stay in Chicago. I love this town. My family and friends were here. I had no reason and no want to leave. I graduation from high school and left television behind.
One of the guys from high school contacted me, told me about the auditions, and coerced my to go. I had nothing to lose. I'd get to meet Bill Jackson. I'd get to see Columbia College.
I don't remember the group of people that were there to audition. There were only 20 (I think it was 22) that were there. I remember some people bringing headshots with them, so they must have been the "pros" that had come. Or maybe actors just trying something else.
The audition process was simple - we would be given one of Bill's characters and we would do one of a few pre-set scenes with Bill and another puppeteer of his - Nancy Wettler. The Television Production class will shoot and record the auditions.
We all gathered together in a corner somewhere where Nancy gave us a few pointers on how the puppets operated. I remember a few things about Nancy that really struck me - First, I was actually looking down at her. I'm pretty damn short at 5' 3", and yet she's shorter than me. I found out later that she was a dancer as well, which would explain the next thing I remember - she was flexible, almost pliable. As she demonstrated how to hold the puppets and move them across the stage (studio), there was a certain fluidity and gracefulness to it.
Up to this point, I had been a bit nervous. I still wanted a shot and to this day I still can't tell you why.
We would each be doing a scene. There were a couple of scenes that we'd be alternating around as we're called-up. I don't remember using any props, but the set was built simply but exactly how any typical set piece is used on the show. There's usually a table that you would be behind. The puppets would move back and forth behind.
It was clear that to run one of Bill's puppets wasn't going to be easy. When you think of hand puppets, you immediately think of The Muppets. Those puppets are basically made of fabric, with heads that are typically - with many exceptions - not much larger than the size of your hand, maybe twice the size. Bill's puppets have heads that are made of latex rubber (that he made himself). The torsos are foam rubber, and then are fully clothed. Each puppet weighed a few pounds. Some were lighter, some were less. The mouths were different from character to character. In most cases their were short rubber tubes glued to inside of the top and bottom of the mouth, so you would slip your fingers into the tubes to manipulate the mouth. In some characters, because of their size and design, the use of tubes wasn't necessary and you could just lay your hand and fingers into the mouth an easily move it opened and closed.
But, as we learned together, the first problem and the primary thing that people get wrong when amateurs pick up a puppet is something very simple. When making the puppet talk, most people instinctively do something opposite than what's required: The close the mouth when speaking a syllable instead of opening the mouth. Think about it - the instinctive reaction is to touch your fingers together with every syllable, when the exact opposite is needed - opening the mouth. Try it. Think about it. Use the simple sentence "How are you today?". When you say "How", the mouth starts closed and then opens. When you say "are". the mouth closes slightly and opens. "You" is the same way. "Today" is a quick close-open-close-open. You open for vowels and close for consonants. So, you must pay attention to your hand and what the puppet says. Oh, let's really make it harder - you don't supply the voice to the puppet, someone else does. Now you not only have to concentrate on the mouth movement, but you must listed to see how the person (in this case, it was always Bill) is playing the voice. Each take could have slightly different pacing - you can't think too far ahead. You have to listen intently and make the correct movements. (What you find out later is that Bill never does a line the same way each take. There is always a slightly different "read" for each take). You couldn't really anticipate what was going to happen - when you do, the error looks worse than being behind the speech.
To operate the puppet, you had to extend your arm straight into the air. It can't "list" in any direction. It had to be straight up and down, without flexing at the elbow.
The puppets had long torsos. Because of their length, many times the end of the body would be near your shoulder. Now the thing that made Bill's characters so great is because they looked great. When you saw them on screen, you wanted to see as much of them as possible, lending more toward thinking that they were actually "little people" instead of hand puppets. When shot, it wasn't just heads at the bottom of the screen - you wanted to see torso - body - as well. To do that, you'd have to get your head out of the shot - that would mean that - while you held your arm perfectly straight, you had to roll your head over onto your shoulder. Now when you looked straight ahead, everything would be a little crooked because, well, your head is crooked.
On top of moving the mouth on the puppet while your arm was straight up into the air and your head swiveled out of the way to get out of the shot, there were times when the character had to move around the set. We were told to duck-walk. You know, crouch down low and try to move your legs, sort of like a duck, to walk around the set. While paying attention to the mouth, keeping straight and keeping your head out of the shot, we now have to worry about balance and falling.
Now, these puppets are actually characters in a scene. They don't just look straight ahead toward a camera - they talk to and interact with other characters. You are an actor, acting through the puppet. Now, you could try looking up - sideways, mind you because you head is tilted toward the side to get it out of the shot - but you will probably be behind a piece of set and you won't know where the cameras are. This is important because sometimes you may have to "cheat" toward or away from the camera to make the angles look correct. The only way to make the shot work correctly with the characters interacting properly is to actually see the camera image on a monitor. So, underneath major set pieces there would be a a small black and white monitor, propped-up so that as you are duckwalking with your arm straight-up in the air, head cocked to the side and probably operating the puppet's mouth, you can watch what your character is doing.
Here comes still another problem that is more difficult than you would initially imagine. We are all aware of what a mirror looks like and what it does. You know EXACTLY how to move when looking in a mirror. What was SHOCKING is that the image in the monitor is actually BACKWARDS from how a mirror works. Your "gut feel" says to move right when you have to go left. Having the monitor is a blessing and curse because you can see exactly what is going on, but you have to interpret what the monitor tells you before you move and do the opposite..
My head had sufficiently started to spin by this time. There was a hell of a lot to remember - stuff that I had never had to do in my life, stuff that didn't make a lot of sense, stuff that, quite frankly, hurt. How could I remember all of this? Not only remember, but execute this simultaneously and seamlessly?
Watching the monitors you'll see another problem that pops-up. Your arm may be straight and the character is straight and not listing, but your character may be looking up high a little too much or down low too much in relation to the other character or camera. So not only do you have to concentrate on operating the mouth with your hand/fingers, but your wrist may have to be cocked slightly tilt the head downward or upward, again depending on what is going on in the scene.
Remember: Duckwalk, arm straight up in the air, head cocked, watching the monitor and interpreting the relative placement of characters and props, and moving the mouth in-sync with the character voice, cocking wrist to make sure character is "facing" the proper direction.
Oh, then the killer. Each of the character's wardrobe has slits cut into the forearms of the sleeves. A "dummy" stuffed hand can be removed from the character's arm. Why? Well, you know, these characters are just "small actors", so they have to be able to interact realistically. That means you have to interact with props and most times, just gesture to make the character come to life. There are sleeves with sewn-on gloves made out the exact same material as the characters costume. The puppeteer would put one of these matching sleeves on their "free" arm and put their hand into the slit on the forearm of the character sleeve and through the cuff. You can then just use your own hand as the character's hand and now you can interact with props or just gesture to emphasize spoken lines. But, remember, that extra arm and hand is now also above your head, attached to the puppet.
Duckwalk, one arm straight in the air, other arm in the air captured through the character's sleeve, head cocked to the side, watch the monitor, "saying" dialog lines, keeping the head looking in the correct "plane"
My head was spinning. I decided to try and pay attention. Pay attention to how the set is setup. Pay attention to the content of the scenes being done. Pay attention to the lines. And then, pay attention to the people in from of me - the competition. I want to see how everyone is handling these Rules of TV Puppetry.
And that's when I realize that nobody is nailing this. Some of the characters are large and are just pretty unwieldy and people had trouble wrangling them. Almost everyone has issues with the voice sync. Using props with the second hand is a mess. Some people have problems with balance. Lots have the characters looking high into the air, not paying attention to the monitors.
My turn starts to come up. I get my character - and to this day I can't remember who I had! I have a sneaky suspicion it was Dirty Dragon. The scene is short - under a minute, probably. Long enough to seem like an eternity. One thing I figured out quickly. When you're behind the set, looking at the monitor - don't rely on the monitor. For me, I have always been a guy that totally grasped spacial relationships. If, when I was in position, I took a second to look up, and size-up where the set pieces were, where all the characters were and - before I duck behind the scenes a quick look around and look at the camera positions. My mind could place them in a virtual scene, and I would "know" exactly where everything is. I could use the monitor - not for movement but to fine tune positioning, like making sure the head is in the correct plane. Balance is difficult. Coordination is hard - I'm totally uncoordinated and this is pushing me. I feel like I have memorized the lines so I can push that "process" back in my head and work on movement, getting the sync correct, getting that head stable and looking in the correct direction.
It went fast. Hardly anyone was left by the time I got done. I left and went home. I don't remember the trip at all.
A month and a half later, I was at WLS Channel 7 puppeteering the 1st show of the second season of Gigglesnort Hotel.
Everything - and I do mean EVERYTHING - that happened while puppeteering and working for Bill I have cherished all of my life. It really was that cliché thing - it was the time of my life. I've been in the IT industry for 25 years and yet it's this time of my life that I felt alive, vibrant, excited, energized, and like I was actually accomplishing something. THANK YOU, BILL.
Oh, and one more oddity from that day. Who was in the Television Production class at Columbia? My wife, Carol. We started seeing each other about 4 months after the auditions and have been together ever since.
Time of my life.
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Saturday, April 30, 2005
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We're home. I'm exhausted, in pain, giddy, alive and sad, all at the same time.
Tonight's awards were held at The Drake Hotel's Grand Ballroom. We got there early enough for cocktails (I hate this kind of cocktail events - where you have to go and pay for blasted "tickets" so that you can pay the barkeep with a ticket instead of cash... of course, I would have much preferred an open bar, but something tells me you don't do that with these television broadcaster types...)
Carol and I met up with Bill and it was a wonderful meeting. Actually, my entire time with Bill tonight was wonderful. We've all aged a bit, and yet Bill still sounds great and he's still got this funny little, sly glint in his eye that I still remember strongly from 30 years ago. That's when you know you've seen a piece of a man's personality that is truly a part of him and not part of a persona.
Had a wonderful time meeting the gentleman that was going to be introducing Bill - Jim Engel. First off, great guy. Fun guy. Knows his history of Chicago's children's TV extremely well. And you know, you got to love somebody who says - first thing out of his mouth - that he's been to this ol' website a few times and likes what I've got here!
It's odd being in a room full of broadcast people, mostly because they're usually filled with "unknowns". Management types, producers... people that you never see on-air, so it's weird when you see familiar faces - and the only reason they're familiar to you is that you've seen them on TV and have them in your household, and none of these people know who you are because... you're one of the many people behind the scenes. Weird.
We were honored to actually by able to sit at Bill's table (all of the honoree's had their own table of 12). Another weird thing of the night is that being at his table means you're in the front of the room and all of those other people that are the "famous" ones you know by sight are behind you, toward the back of the room.
It gets weirder - we wanted to make sure Bill faced forward to see the podium, so Carol & I faced the back of the ballroom. That meant we were 6'-8' feet right in front of the podium, with spotlights hitting our eyes all evening.
The food was... OK. The salad was OK, but I didn't like the chicken entrée. The dessert was served as the activities started, causing a lot of scrambling of the wait staff just as Jim Engel steps up to the podium to start his introduction of Bill, who will be going first this evening.
It was a very good speech, from the heart of someone who has been touched by children's TV in Chicago. They should a quick clip package of Bill's stuff over the years (that - for some reason - I felt didn't show the quality and breadth of the things he did here).
Bill accepted the award and went into his thank you's. To Bill , that also means acknowledging everyone who had worked for him over the years and particularly, every one at the table.
There's a little piece of out-of-body experience and that strange weirdness that seems to rush over me at times tonight, when you hear your name mentioned and are forced to stand-up in from of everybody in the room to be recognized... yes, it was my 3.5 seconds of fame in front of the broadcasters... it was very weird...
Anyway, we congratulated Bill and he returned to the table. We started eating the desserts that were delivered while he was gone, and the we listened and watched the other presenters and honorees.
That's when you really field odd... Again, we're feet from the podium, and during Roger Ebert's acceptance speech, he started talking about interviewing Bill Clinton, and he looks directly at Carol and says something about "he was only about a few feet away from me like from me to you.." Let's just say that made Carol's night because 1) it was Roger Ebert, and 2) he was talking about Bill Clinton and 3) he was talking to her.
Some of the videotape packages were good, some long, some way too long. And there's one emotional one for someone who received the award posthumously, who died of cancer much too young, but had a hand in NBC Network Saturday Children's programming and heading up ABC Family.
After the 5 awards, the evening was over, the room dispersed quicker than I had thought, and we lingered back a while. We were one of the last groups to leave - us and Linda Yu's family.
We said goodbye to Bill and knew we would be in touch again... I want to work on a certain something and I'm going to need a little help from him.
Carol & I left the Drake, picked up my car, drove to the brand new 2 story flagship McDonald's on Ontario for an evening bite (I was still hungry) and finally made it home.
My suit... didn't hold up. Though I was still able to button my jacket - sort of - my pants were another story. I used the restroom at McDonald's and broke off part of my zipper. I was able to get it back up but was unable to get out of my pants here a few minutes ago.
Time for a new suit.
I wore brand new shoes. The drive downtown almost killed me. There's something going on with the back of my right heel. I could barely walk by the end of the evening. I pried my shoe off as I was driving down the Kennedy on the way home to relieve the pressure. I've got a huge blister there now, and you can actually see the stain on theinbside of my shoe. *yuck*
Anyway, there's so much more to say about the evening - who we saw, what we talked about, the whole feeling of the ceremony... but I'm too tired, and I've rambled enough about it anyway.
It was great seeing Bill again - I'd do it all over again, without hesitation.
I've never wanted it to end... and, with any luck, it will still go on...
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Friday, April 29, 2005
What is this feeling?
I don't get it. It's just an awards banquet tonight, and I'm not even getting an award.
Then, why do I feel... nervous?
Maybe it's just excitement. I mean, I get to see my old boss again and I get to see (meet?) some other local TV "stars". I don't know, it's just a weird feeling.
Went out and bought some new shoes last night. Tried on my suit for the first time in a couple of years. It'll barely do for tonight. I mean, the jacket buttons fine, the pants took me quite a few minutes to actually get on. Which means, I'm going to have some major comfort problems tonight. It's just the waist, so I'm hoping I don't have any possibilities of blowing out the seam.
Time to get a new suit.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Bill on the Radio, Bill on TV
As you may know if you either know me or have rummaged around this website, I used to be a puppeteer many, many, many years ago for an icon in Chicago Children's Television - Bill Jackson. As I had mentioned earlier, he is being honored into the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle, honoring individuals who have devoted 25 years or more to the television industry and who have made a significant contribution to Chicago broadcasting.
Bill certainly qualifies.
This past Sunday, Bill was on WGN Radio on the Dean Richard's show and I was able to snag a few minutes of it here (17Mb MP3).
This Friday morning, Bill will be on the WGN Morning News.
And then on Friday night, Bill will be "inducted" into the Silver Circle.
I have never been more proud about anything I've done in my entire life, including my current career, than I have been working for and with this man.
And I am fortunate to be going to that ceremony Friday night at the Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago. I have to be there to honor that man.
Hope I can fit into my suit...
Monday, February 07, 2005
Yesterday morning I get this frantic phone call from my mom. "Turn on WGN," she says. We had the TV on so we went over to Channel 9. No, it was the radio - something that we don't have in the house. I hung-up the phone and dove for my portable radio and my digital voice recorder. It was Dean Richards' Sunday Morning show and he was talking to my wonderful former boss - Bill Jackson. It seems that Bill has been voted into the Chicago Chapter National Academy Of Television Arts and Sciences (you know, the Emmy people) Silver Circle (it's to recognize outstanding individuals who have devoted a quarter of a century or more to the television industry and have made a significant contribution to Chicago broadcasting).
Well, I guess the induction is April 29th at the Drake Hotel, and he'll be inducted along with Roger Ebert, Greg Gumbel, and Linda Yu.
I. MUST. BE. THERE.
I wonder how?
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
29 Years Ago...
I just realized that it was 29 years ago this morning that I auditioned for the best job of my life.
I only wish I knew it back then...
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
I'm mentioned in a book!?!
This past weekend, my sister bought me a book that I've read about and, well, was curious about - The Golden Age of Chicago Children's Television by Ted Okuda, Jack Mulqueen. I mean, I've always thought that I was part of the whole Chicago Children's Television movement by working for one of the major people in the business at that time.
So, I needed to see what it said about my boss.
And there it was. Page 151. Bill actually mentioned me in an interview and there it is in print. Not only that, I'm referenced in the index of the book.
Do you have any idea how much this means to me? This was the best times of my life, something that I don't think I realized at that time. No, I'm sure I didn't fully realized it back then.
And here's Bill Jackson immortalized along with Ray Rayner, Bozo, Garfield Goose... and I get mentioned along the way.
Tuesday, December 03, 2002
My old boss has decided to "pare down" his website starting next month. If any of you out there remember Cartoon Town on Channel 32 in Chicago, go to his website now at DirtyDragon.com to order videotapes because he won't be selling them anymore after the first of the year.
Bill always had a page on his website called Memories where he reminisced about things that have happened with the shows that many people didn't know about. Great stories. A few of them I remember from the days of Gigglesnort Hotel. In his final installment, however, he thanks those that he's worked with... and he took the time to tell the story about replacing a puppeteer that had left...
Finding a replacement proved difficult. Auditions were held at Columbia College, but no one had the experience the show required, nor did they display the heart necessary for the intense training that would be necessary--no one except a determined, diminutive young man with the shortest arms I've ever seen on a puppeteer--arms that appeared far too short to hold a puppet high enough so that the camera didn't catch the puppeteer's head. Michael Lans auditioned with the Dragon, the largest puppet I had at the time, and showed so much energy and desire I decided that if heart could make you a puppeteer, Michael could do it. He proved me right, somehow magically removing his head from his body during shoots. With Nancy as his instructor, Michael trained long and hard and became a superior puppeteer.
I can't help it - I'm all teary-eyed. It was my most favorite time in my life and my childhood and now adult idol remembered and took the time to thank me. I will always be grateful to Bill Jackson for the time and fun and opportunity to work with him. Always.
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
I don't know why, but I went stumbling over to my old boss Bill Jackson's website at DirtyDragon.com. He has a great story about contract negotiations with WLS over the last year of Gigglesnort Hotel. Both Carol and I remember this event, though we never saw it. I mean, how many people would bring a gypsy violinist with them for the negotiation? Bill would. And did.
I really miss that time in my life. I think with my Dad's terminal illness, and the impending baseball strike Friday (I, for some unknown reason, measure the passage of time in my life along the passage of baseball seasons, and the players are screwing up my clock), I'm in a melancholy mood.
I spent the afternoon slapping some pages together and gathering pictures and materials of my short-lived puppeteering career. I have a series of slides that are the only things I really have of my time on Gigglesnort that I have to find a way to get them into a digital format so that I can use them here. Look for the new pages in the next week or so - there's a lot of other pictures I have to scan yet.
I think, though, I'm going to take tomorrow "off" and go to the ballgame. There aren't a lot of day games during the week at Comiskey, and there aren't many days left (potentially) to the baseball season.