Yes! We’re still kickin’!

I know it’s been weeks since I have shared anything with our wonderful fans.  I am sorry.  Life outside the puppet booth has been a bit bumpy.  Yet let’s not talk about that.

Wump Mucket Puppets are planning several shows that we are in the process of ironing out the details.  Keep an eye on our SHOWS page for updates.

We also have a new video for artist Andy Finkle in the planning stages.  Andy is the very talented guy who painted this FAB portrait of our orange alien pal G’Wazzl.

Andy Finkle G'Wazzl painting

Take a peek at his webpage at www.andyfinkle.com

Thanks for hanging in there for us gang.  I promise to let you know about all the cool stuff we have cooking for Wump Mucket Puppets in 2012!

Puppets + Pizza = ?

What began as a few sketches on a piece of paper this past Summer is now many zeros and ones on your computer screen. What in the world am I babbling about? Why the promotional video that Wump Mucket Puppets have created for Cincinnati Pizza shop NYPD Pizza of course.

Puppets have been the “spokes things” for products for decades. Burr Tillstrom’s Kukla & Ollie pitched RCA washing machines in the 1950’s. Long before Jim Henson was a household name his Muppets were selling Wilkins Coffee and LaChoy “Chinese” food. I am very proud to have the opportunity of join these legends of puppetry, by having my puppet characters help promote a local, family owned business that I am a regular customer of for many years.

Who knows, perhaps this is the start of something bigger for me and my little gang of puppets?

Now go and order yourself some pizza at www.NYPDpizza.com   -tell ’em Cyril sent ya!

Here’s our 2011 Holiday Sing-A-Long show poster

One of the great things about being “the boss” at Wump Mucket Puppets is that I get to wear many crazy hats.  Over the last few days I have been fiddling with the computer to create this snazzy new poster to help promote of 2011 Holiday Sing-A-Long show on December 22: Wump Holiday 11 Poster

I hope to see you at the show!

Bringing a Burke Family Christmas story back to life

This year’s Holiday Sing-A-Long puppet show will be very special.  I will be including a story that I am re-writing from a childhood memory.  The story that the Wump Mucket Puppets will be telling is titled “Billy the Christmas Moose”.  It was originally told by my late father Denis Burke to my brothers and sisters in the early 1970’s.  I think that my dad made up the story as he went along, he was a great improvisor.  He illustrated the tale on our kitchen blackboard to help us visualize the characters in his story.

Burke Children Christmas in the early 70's

(L-R) Terrence, Susan, Chris, Andy and Santa

The trouble is, all I can remember is the title and a picture of a young moose looking up into the winter sky.  When I first thought about sharing this part of my childhood with my audience, I asked my siblings if they could remember anything about the story.  Sadly, no one could.  So I found myself creating a family Christmas story that already had a title, but no story for my puppets to tell.  After reading  a bit of the tale to my children and wife, I’d say that I am on the right track.  I hope that you will join us to hear my version of “Billy the Christmas Moose” on Thursday, December 22nd at Sidewinder Coffee & Tea at 2 PM.

November 23 show at Northside Farmers Market is canceled

Dear friends and fans of Wump Mucket Puppets.  We are sorry to have to cancel our “Thanksgiving Eve” performance at the Northside Farmers Market on November 23rd.  The reason for this is that I have strained my lower back and need the time to help it heal.

We hope that you will join us at our second annual Wump Mucket Puppets Holiday Sing-A-Long on December 22nd at 2 PM at Sidewinder Coffee and Tea in Northside.  See our Shows page for details.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving

Making a child’s day a little brighter

This evening I had the honor of performing my little puppet show for a roomful of guests and volunteers at Bethany House Services in Cincinnati’s Fairmount neighborhood.  The children were fabulous and laughed, applauded, and even helped the puppets at the end of the show by shouting our signature closing cheer “Puppets Rock!”.

It is my sincere hope that I helped these children have a happier day with my simple gift of puppetry.  Why you ask?  Bethany House Services helps women and children who are homeless and disadvantaged.  I was hired by a volunteer organization to be the evening’s entertainment for the guest’s Thanksgiving celebration.

If you have the means to make any form of donation or perhaps volunteer your time, here is a link to Bethany House Services:  http://www.bethanyhouseservices.org/

 

On a simpler note…this is our 100th blog post!  YIPPEE!!!!

Let the puppet pizza fun begin!

I am very please to say that the video that I have created for our good friends at NYPD Pizza has been shot, well at least 98% of it.  This will be the first time that Wump Mucket Puppets have created something with their brand of silliness to promote a business.  Who knows gang, this could be the start of something big!

G'Wazzl and Cyril Wump Mucket Puppets NYPDpizza.com

G'Wazzl and Cyril playing themselves in the NYPDpizza.com video

After a few delays, such as rain and a puppeteer with a very bad cold, we were able to visit the playground in Parkers Woods in Northside to shoot the commercial this morning.  Many thanks to our good friend Marcelina Robledo who ran the camera, and helped keep the puppets in line.  Check out her blog at marcelinarobledo.com

 

Here is a little teaser for you to enjoy while the video is “cooked” into a tasty slice of puppety pizza fun:

As they used to say on TV, stay tuned for more exciting Wump Mucket Puppets news!

The puppeteer’s sketchbook – Cyril

This past weekend’s performance had me dragging out my old sketchbook to share with the children in the audience.  I was demonstrating how I create a puppet character, and told them everything starts with my imagination, which leads to an idea, that ends up inside the sketchbook, to eventually be made into a performing puppet.

I had a recent conversation with a neighbor, who had brought her daughter to a show.  She asked me how did I become interested in puppetry, to which I replied (what many of our regular readers already know) “Sesame Street”.  Yet, as the conversation continued while I broke down the puppet stage,  I remembered how entranced I was with cartoons as a child.  Heck, I still dig ’em!  I recalled that I somehow had learned at a very young age, to create a cartoon, you had to make many drawings, that were then colored, then filmed frame-by-frame, and eventually added the voice, music, sound effects.  That seemed like far too much work for me.  So, I began to see the connection between puppets and cartoon characters.  Both could tell jokes, tell silly stories, even sing.  Yet it was the puppet that was real.  The puppet could ad-lib, change it’s voice, even pick something up with it’s mouth or hands during the show.  I have yet to find a cartoon character that can do all of that.

So, back to the sketchbook…  Here are a few very early sketches that the Cyril the Sea Serpent (or Cyril the Cincinnati Sea Serpent as I called him early on):

Drawing of Cyril puppet by Terrence Burke Wump Mucket Puppets

This is the earliest drawing I have of Cyril, dated 4-8-2001.

Here is a darker close-up of the puppet’s face:

Cyril puppet drawing by Terrence Burke Wump Mucket Puppets

The note says "Eyes have eyelids".

These sketches were made by my wife Lara Rumizen, who is very helpful in refining my puppet designs into practical, workable puppets.  Lara’s small doodle is much closer to the final puppet than my original sketch.

Cyril puppet drawing by Lara Rumizen Wump Mucket Puppets

Notice the catfish-like tendils that were never used on the puppet.

At last, a recent photo of the puppet that we know and love… Cyril

Cyril the Sea Serpent puppet Terrence Burke Wump Mucket Puppets

Our dear friend Cyril the Sea Serpent.

I hope that you have enjoyed this behind the scenes look into the creation of my puppet characters.  Please continue to read the Wump Mucket Puppets blog for future editions of “The Puppeteer’s Sketchbook”.

 

I am a proud Daddy puppeteer tonight

It’s probably true that most parents are happy when their children take an interest in something that they both enjoy.  Some dads may share their love of baseball (my father was a HUGE baseball fan), or perhaps a mother may enjoy gardening with her children.  Every family has their own shared interests.  In our house, we are into puppets… a little bit.

Today’s puppet show performance was very special to me.  It was the first time that I performed with someone else, that someone was my almost seven year old daughter Eleanor.  She asked me a couple of days ago if she could “do something” in the show.  Seeing that she seemed very interested I told her sure, and asked if she wished to perform.  Earlier in the day she even put on a little “warm-up” puppet show for her brother Tiernan and I to enjoy:

About an hour before I loaded the puppet gear into our car, Eleanor seemed hesitant about performing.  As much as I wanted her to perform with me, I was not going to push her.  “Besides”, I told her, “you’ll be inside the puppet stage with me where no one can see you.”  That seemed to settle her fears, and she was ready to perform with her toy puppet “Pinky”.

Cyril the Sea Serpent Terrence Burke Wump Mucket Puppets

A father and daughter, and their puppets.

As you can imagine, my children have been around puppets their entire lives.  When they were very young, I would perform my puppets to entertain them.  Eleanor would often ask to talk to Cyril, and would seem to have “private” conversations with the puppet -even though her daddy was right there operating the puppet.  Somehow I doubt that will happen when she’s a teenager.  Which is why I am happy that she has the interest in puppetry now while she is young and able to use her young imagination right along with me.  Who knows?  Maybe Eleanor and Tiernan will be the second generation of the Wump Mucket Puppets.

 

The creation of our new Autumn coloring page

I am very happy to tell our young fans that we will be offering a new Wump Mucket Puppets coloring page at our Northside Farmers Market performance tomorrow (Oct. 5th) at 6 PM.

Before I give you a sneak peek, here’s a look at the original idea that was drawn by my almost seven year old daughter Eleanor:

Eleanor Burke's Wump Mucket Puppets Autumn coloring page

Eleanor Burke's Wump Mucket Puppets Autumn coloring page.

 

 

I love how she came up with an Autumn themed coloring page that features all of the Wump Mucket Puppets characters.

 

 

 

Next we have the rough draft,  drawn by my very artistic wife Lara:

Wump Mucket Puppets Autumn coloring sheet rough draft

Lara's rough draft for the Autumn coloring page

 

Lara expanded on Eleanor’s idea of the puppets popping up out of a pile of leaves.  Did you ever do that as a child?  Or perhaps you still do.  Go ahead, admit it, leaves can be fun.

 

 

 

Finally we have the finished coloring page:

Wump Mucket Puppets Autumn coloring page 2011

The finished Wump Mucket Puppets Autumn Coloring page by Lara Rumizen.

 

I added the Wump Mucket Puppets logo so our friends, new and old, will remember our little puppet troupe.  I am very lucky to have two very talented ladies in my family that help make the puppets look great.

 

 

 

We would love to see your completed Wump Mucket Puppets coloring pages!  We’ll even add a few to our fan page of the website to share with the world.

Parents, email a photo of your child’s completed Wump Mucket Puppets coloring page, along with your child’s first name and age to wumpmucket @ fuse.net