beatles

Giant Spider Visits Liverpool!

Anyone who knows me knows I love The Beatles. I love them so much, in fact, I’ve visited Liverpool, their  city of origin. I had a great time and would love to go back again.

In 2009 another visitor was in Liverpool who had probably never heard of The Beatles, but its visit was certainly spectacular. It was an enormous robotic spider, and it looks as if it spent at least a full day creeping along the city streets, much to the awe of the Liverpudlians.

I can only imagine the exhaustion of the puppeteers after a long day astride the spider, but surely watching the faces of the thrilled viewers was a fine reward.

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Pelham Puppets.

With some changes to the atrocious grammar, I took this directly from Wiki as it is quite thorough:

Pelham Puppets were first made in the United Kingdom from 1947 onwards under the title Wonky Toys Ltd. The company changed its name in 1948 to the now better known Pelham Puppet brand. Mainly known for making marionettes, the company also manufactured glove puppets, rod puppets and ventriloquist puppets.

The factory was initially based in Marlborough, Wiltshire and a fire in 1961 created a hiatus during manufacture and led to new ranges being introduced and old lines being stopped. The factory was rebuilt and grew in size on the same location until it was sold and moved in 1985 to Collingbourne Ducis also in Wiltshire and then again sold and moved to Gloucestershire in the early 1990s but went into liquidation in 1993. In 2008 the Pelham Puppet company was revived by a former employee, David Leech of the original factory and now produces a new line of Pelham Puppets some echoing former styles and new characters also. The official website is: http://www.pelhampuppets.uk.com

The name “Pelham” is taken from the creator Bob Pelham who was the founder of the company. After his death in 1980  his wife Ann Pelham  continued with the business until 1986.

There are many ranges in Pelham Puppets but the main ones are The LS range 12 inch puppets with half wooden ball feet, wooden heads and waxed string holding the parts together. The SS range is similar to the LS range but with wooden toggle feet and screw eyes holding the body together. The SL range are made usually with molded heads and held together with either string or screw eyes. The SM range have moving mouths usually made from larger wooden balls for heads, but some have molded heads. There was the JC range, a smaller simpler puppet intended for younger children. The Jumpette range are smaller puppets, simpler and intended for infants and toddlers. The A or Animal range are usually nonanthropomorphic versions of animals. The Minipup a range of smaller animal puppets.

Pelham Puppets also made puppets to order for the professional market and have been used by various companies in their shows.

An adorable cat for sale on Alvin’s Vintage Games and Toys.

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I guess it should’ve been “Foppy Birthday”!

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My friend Smits was here over the weekend for her birthday, and I had made this card for her, starring our favorites of my ModFops, Georgie and Ritchie. 🙂

 

The ModFops, by the way, are getting somewhat of a re-do. No matter who I call, mail, talk to or whatever, nobody in the universe of fake fur land, especially JoAnn(where their GORGEOUS green-spotted fur came from)has any clue where this fur came from, who made it or….what. It would be my most favorite fur I’ve ever found and something I need a lot of. I want the ‘Fops to have their long tails and all their limbs, so to do this I’m going to find a similarly soft, cream-colored short fur and paint their spots on with fabric paint. The one plus side of that is that I can put the spots exactly where I want them, and they can have their un-spotted bellies that they had in my original design. Georgie and Ritchie, since they always work together, will be first, and I’ll  eventually get to the others. I recently found a soft, white-fur blanket at Target that I think is going to do the trick.

Beatles Scarecrows Report!

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Well, Steve and I finally went up to the Botanical Gardens to see how The Boys were doing. Fortunately, I knew what I was in store for since I’ve seen several photos online.

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Considering what they’ve suffered, they look pretty good. We have had torrential downpours and flooding here, and I’m sure once their clothing gets wet, they begin to sag and flop. I think rough handling or their placement on the path might have played a part in their condition as well.

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The four of them are almost right on the path, as in, you might knock into them as you walk by. Add to that that they are in the children’s garden area (which, I think Steve said, was a good choice since the more “fun” entries were all in that area anyway) and you have the situation of what little kids love to do—pull the pants off non-moving things that have pants. I had planned ahead for this, and the scarecrows all have multiple rounds of fishing line suspenders connecting their pants to their shoulders. They look like they’ve been roughed up a bit by the kidlets, like they’ve really given it the college try trying to pull those pants down. HAha! Foiled you!

I was not prepared for the mangled mess that was John. Poor guy, it looked as if he were picked up by his head (which I had put on signs on them to not do) and his legs came loose from his body. Maybe I didn’t glue them in strongly enough; I have no idea. But he fell over and was picked up by me no less than ten times during his construction, and his legs never came off. Who knows what happened? Anyway, the wrong legs had been re-attached–his legs were now on backwards, as you could tell by his shoes. Fortunately, since The Beatles  were so easily accessible on the path, Steve and I were able to carefully fix John back without stepping on any foliage. We tidied up the others–Paul looked as if he had been on his face at some point in time, as he had mud on his pants and jacket. Also, somehow Paul is bent over, but he looked fine, so we left him alone.

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Ringo and George looked remarkably good. Yay for Economy Class Beatles for once! You can see the adorable  little sign next to George’s feet.

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Isn’t it great? What was extra-neat was that people would see my display, exclaim, “Oh, look, it’s The Beatles!”. Then they’d see the sign, and start singing “I Want to Scare Your Crows”, and I would smile every time. Even while Steve and I struggled to fix John, people kept taking photos of them. Occasionally they would say, “I can’t get them all in the photo. Oh, look—we can go back there.”

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To get a good shot of  all four of them you definitely have to go on the next path. Two other people joined me as I took this photo–that was a good feeling.

So although I still look on them with the critical “artists’ eye”, and I was at the mercy of someone else setting up my display, I have to take Steve’s advice. He said, “You really should be proud of them–look how many people are taking photos of them, just in the short time we’ve been here.” I love my husband.

Steve also pointed out as we looked at other scarecrows–what materials were working, what weren’t, etc. And the themes–some folks had some very esoteric themes going on that left you scratching your head, while some were hysterical, and some were very thought-provoking.

All in all,I had a learning experience today, seeing the work of others, as well as seeing how my own stuff is faring. It was a good day.I’m already planning for next year. 🙂

Beatles Scarecrows hanging in there…

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I found this pic in someone’s blog. I think it’s about a week old, and the person listed them as The Blues Brothers.

They’re deflating here and there–they’ve put up with some heavy,heavy rain. I think George is holding up the best with Ringo a close second. John’s guitar has failed miserably, but otherwise he looks pretty good.I still want to do this contest next year, and I might even recycle these guys and make them better. I’ve learned what to do next year:

1) Use the biggest sign possible saying “please arrange us in this order”, maybe just on one of them.

2)  The fabric heads are holding up well for the most part, but need a little more stability. Paul is getting a little mushy. More or firmer stuffing.

3) Prepare their hair separately instead of building up their hair on their heads. There’s a lot of their hair that is individual chunks glued on, and I can tell that after a heavy rain, these are separating.

4) Make the guitars stronger.

All in all, they seem to be surviving pretty well, and everyone’s pants are staying up!

Scarecrows didn’t win,but still good news!

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Photo by Jamie Gumbrecht

My Beatles Scarecrows did not win the contest, and truthfully, I wonder if they had been arranged the way I had asked(on a little card tied to each scarecrow), if they would have made a better presentation. But, even when I voiced my distress to the person in charge of the scarecrows at the  Atlanta Botanical Gardens, she said although there was no way to perfectly arrange the over 100 scarecrows in perfect execution, mine looked “fabulous” and I shouldn’t worry about them. Really,the root of my frustration was Paul being in the middle.

But on the bright side, the Boys were mentioned in an article for Access Atlanta by Jamie Gumbrecht! Thanks, Jamie!

Geez, I hope John’s pants stay up….


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Here’s how they looked right before I put on their ties and added a few bits of decor to their guitars. This was also the pic I put on a  tag on each scarecrow, with a note saying,”Please arrange us in this order”. John’s pants fell down shortly after this was taken!

Progress on Beatles Scarecrows!

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Here they are– bald, shirtless, and ready to get their freak on!

Seriously, though, I decided to go on and stick George and Ringo’s half-finished heads on their bodies and dress them somewhat, to see how things were turning out. I’m quite pleased. The bodies need stuffing and padding,and then re-assembling to actually glue the PVC pipes together, then dressing them is a bit of an olympic event. Since they can’t bend their arms, I have to pop off an arm before I can one’s jacket on him, then put it back on; this build is really giving all sorts of challenges.

George and the others will each be holding a gator-board guitar, and Ringo will be holding some drumsticks provided by my friend Michael. Until they get their instruments,Ringo will just look as if he has to pee.