Bitter about Litter

Over on our Facebook page I recently shared with our fans where ideas from songs come from.  Sometimes the ideas pop into my head and I have to search for a pencil to scratch it down before it’s lost to time.  Other times ideas are more obvious and are inspired by daily life.

Coleman at our info table at the Taft Museum of Art

Here’s the first verse of a tune that Coleman sings in the show:

Oh it make’s be kinda bitter,

To see all this litter thrown all over the ground-ground-ground.

It makes me wanna scream, to see tires in a stream,

when they should be spinning round-round-round.

This song was inspired by the litter that I pick up nearly every morning while taking my daily walk around my neighborhood.  It makes me sad that the people who throw their trash on the ground do not care about the place where they live enough to keep it nice and clean.

When I was growing up I remember watching TV public service announcements that featured the costumed character Woodsy Owl (another way to say BIG puppet).  Back then children were encouraged to “Give a hoot, don’t pollute”.  Are today’s youth missing that message?

When Coleman introduces his song in the show, he expresses how sad it makes him feel when he finds litter strewn about the forest and picnic grove. I hope that a little bit of his song is lodged in the minds of the children watching my puppet show so they remember that “every litter bit helps”, and help keep our planet a cleaner place.

Here’s Woodsy Owl’s tune that found it’s way into my childhood memories:

Woodsy Owl PSA from Youtube

 

Sharing Joy

On Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of performing for the guests at the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati.  I am honored that the staff invited me to entertain the children and their families and share my love of puppetry with them for an hour of their day.

Wump Mucket Puppets stage at Ronald McDonald House Cincinnati

When I was a young boy I made a few trips to the hospital.  I remember that they can be very scary place for children.   As an toddler I found the open cellar door and rode my walker straight down the cellar stairs.  Luckily I can’t remember this.  My parents told me that I was cut up pretty bad.  As I grew up I had my share of stitches and other common childhood bangs & scrapes, nothing serious enough to stay in the hospital.  Our community is very fortunate to have the Ronald McDonald House available to families who’s children need special care.

Bulletin Board at Ronald McDonald House Cincinnati

The Bulletin Board at Ronald McDonald House with Wump Mucket Puppets photo.

Meeting with the children in the audience after the show was a very heart warming experience.  One little girl told me that she was going to make a sister for Cyril when she went home.  Several of the children let their imaginations wander and pretended to swim around the theatre with Cyril and his tail.  It was a magical moment that I will never forget.

Wump Mucket Puppets at Ronald McDonald House Cincinnati

After the puppets were packed into the Wump Mucket mobile, I took a tour of the Ronald McDonald House with volunteers Rhiannon Jones and her grandmother (who’s been a RMHC volunteer for over 10 years!).  What an amazing place it is!  Not only do they have a children’s theatre that is perfect for a puppet show (and swimming with sea serpents), but there is a library, large lounges to relax or read in, a game room, and guest rooms for the families staying there.  Everyone who volunteers, donates, and helps in what ever way that they can are “fab-tastic” people!  Thanks again to the guests and staff for allowing me the opportunity to share my talents with you.

We ROCKED June 2012!

 

My goodness, what a month June has been for our little puppet troupe.  We performed seven shows to HUNDREDS of smiling faces, made our radio debut on WVXU, and even performed our first “Living Room” puppet show.  Wow!

Wump Mucket Puppets with some young fans at Taft Museum of ArtEver wonder what we use to bring our silliness to the puppet stage?  Let’s review some of our “supplies” in June:

  • 2 bags of Honey Lemon Ricola – the puppeteer “lives” on these things
  • 14 Constant Comment Green Tea bags
  • 327 Wump Mucket Puppets coloring sheets
  • 2 rolls of red duct tape
  • 1 tank of gas for the Wump Mucket Mobile
  • 7 Thank You cards with 7 postage stamps

G'Wazzl with his jar of Play-Doh  -  Wump Mucket PuppetsOh, how could we forget?  One (empty) jar of Play-Doh!

Thank you to everyone who came to see us in June, and to the kind folks who booked our show.  We had a wonderful time and hope to see you again.  Come see us in July!

 

 

Loveland Frog found in the Puppeteer’s Sketchbook

Performing our shows at Julian’s Deli in Loveland, Ohio (next show on 7/15 @ 2 pm!) has inspired me to create a new puppet character based on the one and only Loveland Frog!  What?  You’ve never heard of this strange creature?   The Loveland Frog hasn’t been seen in many years, so I am writing a skit for the show titled “The Legend of the Loveland Frog” and hope to bring this little cryptid some long overdue recognition.

Sketch of Loveland Frog puppet idea

Here are a few sketches that Lara and I have come up with as we develop this new character for the puppet show.

Sketches of Loveland Frog puppet ideas - Wump Mucket Puppets      Sketches of Loveland Frog puppet ideas - Wump Mucket Puppets

And here is a short video with me working out the puppet’s voice with a snippet of a song:

The ball is rolling for this new puppet character, soon we’ll need a name.  Any thoughts?

Send your name ideas to our official Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/wumpmucketpuppets

Ribbit!

Puppets on the radio?

Who ever heard puppets on the radio?  That’s preposterous!  Perhaps, yet somehow it worked for Bob Smith and Edgar Bergen.  Last night Wump Mucket Puppets made the leap from the puppet stage to the air waves on Cincinnati’s NPR radio station WVXU 91.7 FM.

Here is a link to listen to our interview on WVXU’s “Around Cincinnati” program: http://www.wvxu.org/schedule/aroundcincinnati_archiveview.asp?ID=6/17/2012

Thanks for listening to the interview, and thanks to WVXU producer/host Lee Hay for inviting me and “the gang” on the show.  As they used to say, “Stay tuned…”

Wump Mucket Puppets ROCKS the Taft Museum of Art

Short and sweet blog tonight since I am tuckered out.  Rockin’ puppets is hard work, honest.  Our two performances at the Taft Museum of Art were wonderful!  We had 108 people come and see us, which may be a record for this little puppet troupe.

Everything about today’s shows was great.  The audience, the Taft’s staff, and even The Reds helped by sweeping The Mets!  What was really special is that it was on Father’s Day.  My Dad was very supportive of my interest in puppetry as a child, and to pay tribute to him I had Coleman perform a new tune titled “For Dad”.  I hope that in some way he heard it.

In addition to the shows, my interview aired on Cincinnati’s NPR radio station WVXU 91.7 FM.  My puppets really are popping up all over the town!  A heartfelt thank you to everyone who came to see the shows today, we hope that you’ll come see us again real soon.

Terrence Burke and Cyril the Sea Serpent at the Taft Museum of Art

 

 

W-U-M-P in Cincinnati!

Baby, if you’ve ever wondered,
Wondered whatever became of me,
I’m rockin’ with the puppets in Cincinnati,
Cincinnati, WUMP.

Cyril at the WVXU FM studios

Don’t touch that dial!  Wump Mucket Puppets are coming to a radio (or computer) near you!  You read that right puppet pals, the Wump Mucket Puppets will be guests on Cincinnati radio station WVXU (91.7 FM) during the “Around Cincinnati” program that will be broadcast Sunday June 17th from 7 to 8 pm.  Don’t worry if you miss the show, WVXU will have a mp3 archive of the program available on Monday June 18th.

Cyril, puppeteer Terrence Burke, and Coleman at WVXU FM

The puppets and I had a grand time being interviewed by host Lee Hay and hope that you will tune in to hear the program.  Some of you may know that a few years before the puppets came into my creative life, I produced and hosted “Doctor 13’s Audio Lab” on Cincinnati’s community radio station WAIF FM from 1993 to 1999.  It was fun to be back in a radio station again.

Puppets ROCKED at Summerfair 2012!

What a wonderful day it was to be a puppeteer in Cincinnati, Ohio!  The Wump Mucket Puppets made their debut performance at the Youth Arts Stage at Summerfair Cincinnati and it was LOTS of F-U-N!  Many thanks to our GREAT audience, you were a pleasure to perform for.

Not only was this performance fun to do, it adds Wump Mucket Puppets to the list of fine puppeteers who have performed their act at historic Coney Island Park where Summerfair is held every June.  What list is that?  You may have heard of a couple of these folks:  Tony Sarg, Sid & Marty Krofft, Larry Smith, and I am sure many others.  WOW!  That’s practically a “who’s who” of American puppeteers!

Wump Mucket Puppets at Summerfair 2

As Coleman sings in his “Things That I Dream” song, “These are the things that I dream, and somehow they seem real to me”.  I am now living my childhood dream of being a performing puppeteer, and it is very real to me.  May this dream never end.

June is going to be H-O-T!

At last, a bit of time to update our friends and fans before we start our BUSIEST month yet!  Wump Mucket Puppets will be performing 6 shows during the month of June 2012, and we couldn’t be happier.  Well Coleman is a little cranky, and has asked for a second air conditioner for his trailer,  maybe next year “furry guy”.

First a little recap of our May shows!  Free Comic Book Day at Maverick’s Comics in Finneytown was a BLAST!  Thanks to all our super-fans who came to the show to hear Coleman “sing” the Batman theme song.  WHAT!  You missed this historic performance?  Fear not good citizens, we have been asked to return for Free Comic Book Day 2013!  So mark your calendar right now for Saturday May 4th 2013!  Ka-Pow!

Coleman in a pile of Wump Mucket Puppets mini-comics issue 1

Speaking of comics, we are nearly out of the first printing of issue number 1 of our very own mini-comic.  If you would like a copy for your comic collection, send us a message from our contact page.  We’ll let you know how to get a FREE copy.  The comic has been so well received by our fans, issue 2 is in the works.  It tells the soon to be legendary tale of how a certain Sea Serpent and a Sasquatch first met!

While we are on the subject of art,  Wump Mucket Puppets very first fan (really gang she’s been here since the start!) Eleanor Burke (age 7 1/2) has created the concept for our special Summerfair Cincinnati coloring page.  She has been watching her daddy draw his puppets and came up with this very cool (and colored!) piece of artwork!

Art is Fun! by Eleanor Burke

Come see our show at Summerfair Cincinnati  on Sunday June 3rd at 12 noon for a coloring page version of this original piece that is now part of the Wump Mucket Puppets art archives.

Our May performance at Julian’s Deli in Loveland was lots of fun and we had a ball meeting new friends and fans.  We hope that you’ll come see us there on July 15th at 2 PM.  Performing in the city of the legendary Loveland Frog has inspired the “puppet construction department” to begin sketching ideas for a new puppet character to join our little troupe.  What would YOU name a strange frog-like creature?  Ribit!

Finally, work on the video starring G’Wazzl for our artist pal Andy Finkle is making progress!  We think that you will really get a chuckle out of this one and we’ll upload it as soon as it’s finished.

Cyril says PUPPETS ROCK!  We hope to see you in June!

What’s with the strange creatures?

My interest in strange creatures, aliens, and other oddities probably started a few years after I became “puppet crazy” in the early 1970’s.  I remember that my father had an interest in these sort of things.  Dad (Denis E. Burke) used to watch the  TV show “In Search Of” with my siblings when we were young.  Years later, my dad had a radio talk show on WBZ radio in Boston and interviewed M.I.T. scientist & lecturer Robert Rines.  I was spellbound that a scientist was researching The Loch Ness Monster, and my father was interviewing him!  Later in his radio career, my dad interviewed physics professor and ufologist Dr. Harley D. Rutledge.

UFO and Nessie on the wall of Ha Ha Pizza in Yellow Springs Ohio

Around 2005, as I began to get things together for what would become the Wump Mucket Puppets, I was having a bit of trouble how to tie it all together.  I wanted a theme or idea that held the show together.  I was reading books by cryptozoologist Loren Coleman at the time, and had one of those “eureka” moments!  I loved puppets.  I had a very strong interest in cryptozoology, aliens, and strange things.  Why not combine the two?

Cyril the Sea Serpent had been built, and was developing as “the monster of ceremonies” for the puppet show.  I had found a furry little brown puppet from my childhood packed away in a box, originally called “Furry Guy” by my then toddler daughter Eleanor.  It didn’t take too long to rename the puppet “Coleman the Sasquatch”, as a wink to Loren Coleman as well as a fond memory to camping trips with my family and the Boy Scouts (Coleman camping gear -get it?).  I eventually came up with the idea for an alien puppet character.  I seem to remember that the name came first, followed by a sketch, and eventually the puppet we know as G’Wazzl G’Wook (his full name) was part of the show.

G'Wazzl at Julian's Deli in Loveland Ohio

It wasn’t until G’Wazzl was built and ready for the show that I noticed that the puppet resembled a chupacabra a little bit, although G’Wazzl is much friendlier and prefers Play-Doh to goats.

Chupacabra and Jackolope on wall of Ha Ha Pizza Yellow Springs Ohio

So what strange creatures and alien beings are in the future for Wump Mucket Puppets?  Coleman has already made a few references to his cousin Snavely from Pennsylvania during the show.  Cyril talks about his Aunt Bessie during “The Song About Cryptozoology” bit.  A little voice inside my head has suggested creating a Loveland Frog character to perform at our shows at Julian’s Deli, which is not far from the frogman sightings in Loveland, Ohio.  We shall see and leave this a mystery for now.

Mural on the wall of Ha Ha Pizza in Yellow Springs Ohio

In the meantime, beware of the puppeteers in black!

Puppeteer Terrence Burke of Wump Mucket Puppets

For our younger readers & fans of my puppet show, my I suggest the book Tales of the Cryptids: Mysterious Creatures That May or May Not Exist