old friends

More Gifts!

I can show all these now,since they have made it to their owners!

Star Wars Biker Scout stocking for Steve.:)

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David and I at the Jane Henson Workshop.

I’m pretty sure this was the puppetry convention in Talequah,Oklahoma, and although we no longer had Jim Henson with us, his wife Jane seemed keen on keeping the tradition alive and teaching a workshop there.

Of course, this was about sixteen years ago and my memory is fuzzy, but with the help of David Andora, a friend I met in the workshop that day, I’m able to share the experience as best I can:

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Ohmigod, finding old friends!!

I think people are finding me now through this blog!!! This is fabulous! Please, spread the Puppatoons love around! I want to find people I hung out with at festivals and in workshops!

Anyway, I am so thrilled–someone I met in the Jane Henson workshop years ago contacted me, and he has photos(that I’m barely visible in, but you can see my puppet!). I’m going to make sure it’s okay with him to post about our experience and get whatever info he can remember, and then I’ll make a big ol’ post about it!

Frank Oz’s Dad and me.

This is Mike Oznowicz and me. Besides being very involved in puppetry guilds and organizations himself,and twice president of Puppeteers of America, Mike’s other claim to fame was his son, Frank.
Mike was one of the folks high-up and “in charge” of this particular puppetry convention, but I remember him being an incredibly sweet and down-to-earth man. And funny as hell.I sat at his table at lunch a couple of times and nearly cried I was laughing so hard.
I got to talk to him quite a few times during this festival, and it was he who gave me the confidence to go ask Frank for his autograph.I was young and ambitious and very determined back then to meet and greet whomever I could, but I got a little shy around Frank for some reason. In his thick Dutch accent, I can still hear Mike saying, “Elizabeth, don’t you worry, Frank does not bite. You go and you get that autograph— you’ll see he’s a very nice fellow”.

I had my doubts he could still be alive, but nevertheless, it was with great sadness that I found an obituary when I searched for him online:

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Vintage Vitale: Stanley the Flamingo

Stanley was created strictly for the purpose of entering a contest. I was headed to my very first puppetry festival, in Tampa, Florida, and the theme was flamingos. A contest for flamingo puppets was going to be held, and I was determined to enter.
Back then, in the late 80’s, there still was little variety in colors of plush in the fabric stores. I was extremely lucky, I think, to find this shade of pink. It’s the same so-so quality plush you’ll find in any fabric store in the “fake fur” section. Wal-Mart even has the stuff now. I grabbed some pink robeweight velour in pink and in white for the legs and beak(finally realizing that a bird’s beak and legs are not ALWAYS THE SAME COLOR), a dash of black velour,a bit of black long fur, and I was stocked with the fabric I needed.

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My Little Sewing Pal.

This tiny dog pincushion is probably twice my age, if not older. When my grandmother reached the point where she simply could not take care of herself any longer,and we were moving her to an assisted living home, I was given a lot of her sewing items.This is my most treasured of those items, and probably something I would never part with no matter what.
He’s made of a tough plaid material, has tiny googly glass eyes, and his tail is actually a tape measure!

Looking for a Lost Friend

I knew a fabulously gifted puppeteer named Terry Snyder back in my puppet-festival-going days, and he sang this original song onstage one night.I may have a few of the lyrics not quite right, but I still sing it to myself for a giggle.

I believe that puppeteers have a special gift inside
That reaches out through rods and strings
From hearts that open wide
When we perform, we share our gift as we make ’em laugh or cry
That’s why I’m a puppeteer,
An’ I’ll be one ’til I die! (Everybody sing!)

I’m gonna be a puppeteer and shake a dolly on a string
I’m gonna stuff puppets on both my hands and make ’em dance and sing!
I’m gonna be just like (your name here) without a single care…
I’f I could be a puppeteer,
Then I could be a millionaire!!

Alas, I lost touch with Terry, and I think of him when I sing that song. I’d really like to touch base with him again.