Notes from the Road June 2015 – Chapter 2

Wump Mucket Puppets Notes from the Road blog title Notes from the Road June 2015

Notes from the Road June 2015 – Chapter 2

Summertime is puppet time!  Here are a collection of thoughts, observations, and special moments in my adventures over the Summer of 2015 as a touring puppeteer.  Here are my notes from the road for June 2015 – Chapter 2…

June 5, 2015 Friday

No shows – Workshop day
Wump Mucket Puppets  Terrence and Tiernan Burke in worshop Notes from the Road June 2015

I finally have a workbench to build props, puppets, and more!  Yippee!!!  Over the past 14 years we have used our kitchen and dining room tables as our workspace.  Messier projects, such as paper maché or painting, were done in our backyard or front porch.  It was a bother to lug things in and about our house. 

The workbench proved to be a small pain in the back, after a few hours of “assembly fun”, I needed to leave it alone.  I took Eleanor’s wise suggestion to call it a night to finish it in the morning with a fresh pot of coffee.

Now that we have a place to store our ever growing collection of tools, I know that we can build props and puppets much faster.  Tiernan is very excited about the new workspace too!  He wants to help me build a robot puppet, which Eleanor suggested years ago.  I would like to use L.E.D.s for the robot’s “mouth”, which will be triggered by the puppeteer when it speaks via a pistol grip.  I am sure this was inspire by the robot from the “Lost in Space” TV show that I watched as a boy.  Can you believe that I was afraid of the monsters on that show?!  “Danger! Will Robinson! Danger!”  Here are a few YouTube video clips of B-9 the Robot to enjoy.

Lara suggested that we also make space for a paper maché and painting area near the workbench to keep the messy art in the basement.  This is a GREAT idea!


June 7, 2015 Sunday

No shows – Um Um song idea

The phone interview that I gave to the Chillicothe Gazette on Friday ran today.  It’s great to have media attention to help promote our puppet shows.  Here is a link to the interview:  Chillicothe Gazette interview with Terrence Burke

While helping my children brush their teeth before bedtime, I came up with a jingle idea for a silly “product” that the puppets could pitch in the show:  “Um Um Gum Gum!  It’s Yum Yum for your Tongue Tongue!”  Now I only have to remember the melody.


June 9, 2015 Tuesday

Performed at Campbell County Public Library Newport KY

Wump Mucket Puppets at Campbell County Public Library Newport KY Notes from the Road June 2015
Our first library show of the Summer was a HUGE hit!!!  Around 67 children attended, with about 30-40 adults filled the Newport library’s meeting room.  Our host, librarian Miss Joanie was very friendly and really into puppets!  She even wore dinosaur slippers!

Wump Mucket Puppets at Campbell County Public Library Newport KY Notes from the Road June 2015

Eleanor helped out today, and as usual, got BIG laughs from the kids while performing the Little Rock with Unka Unka the caveman.

G’Wizzl is quickly becoming the star of our Summer shows.  Unka is “finding” his pirate voice, so his puppeteer (me) doesn’t lose his voice -ARGH!

The new props, pirate asteroid rocket ship and potatoes, are holding up well.  We need another truck to carry them around in as they are carted all over the place.

Wump Mucket Puppets at Campbell County Public Library Newport KY Notes from the Road June 2015

Today’s post-show meet & greet was FAB!  We took lots of photos with our new fans, gave our a few buttons, and many coloring pages.  The little girls LOVE G’Wizzl, and wanted to hug her.  I am very pleased with this puppet.  Lara did am amazing job building her from my doodles.  We make quite a team.

Wump Mucket Puppets at Campbell County Library Newport KY Notes from the Road June 2015

Our time in Newport ended with meeting a boy named Jack and his father.  When I asked him what his favorite part of the show was, he replied, “Well, the whole show was AWESOME!”  Jack went home with a Wump Mucket Puppets’ fan club button and a few stickers that he said he will put on his “big boy bike”.  Jack knows that Wump Mucket Puppets ROCK!

Notes from the Road June 2015

Wump Mucket Puppets Notes from the Road blog title     Notes from the Road June 2015Notes from the Road June 2015

Summertime is puppet time!  Here are a collection of thoughts, observations, and special moments in my adventures over the Summer of 2015 as a touring puppeteer.  Here are my notes from the road for June 2015.


June 1, 2015 Monday 

Performed at Ronald McDonald House Cincinnati

Today I performed with my daughter Eleanor at the Ronald McDonald House.   I have been donating performances there four years now.  Every show brings joy to children and families that need laughter and silliness in their lives.
 Wump Mucket Puppets at at Ronald McDonald House Cincinnati  June 2015 Notes from the Road June 2015

We had six to seven families in the theatre and we used the house lights to brighten up our stage, it looks great!  Eleanor had never seen the stage with lights on the scrim.

Our Unka and Little Rock bit get’s big laughs as usual, and we can see families gathered on the second floor balcony watching our show.  The puppets love a big audience!

G’Wizzl makes her first public appearance at the end of the show, and is brought on stage by Eleanor.  The young girls in the audience are very interested in our new girl alien character.  This is very special, since it was Eleanor who had suggested that we create her.  While Eleanor is not ready to perform a speaking character just yet, she continues to show interest.
Wump Mucket P uppets GWizzl and Eleanor at Ronald McDonald House Cincinnati Notes from the Road June 2015

I accidentally bump my left thumb, which was crunched at a show on May 15th.  OUCH!

Our post-show meet & greet is a magical time.  We took a few photos with the families who enjoyed the show, passed out coloring pages, and chatted with the children.  Cyril and Coleman met with a little girl named Molly and sing “Please and Thank You” for her.  They then joined her in singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider”
Wump Mucket Puppets outside Ronald McDonald House Cincinnati  June 2015 Notes from the Road June 2015

Magic happened on this night.


June 4, 2015 Thursday

Performed at Little Red School House Greendale, IN
Wump Mucket Puppets  Terrence Burke and G'Wizzl outside Little Red School House June 2015 Notes from the Road June 2015

This was our second performance at this school this year!  I love happy clients!  We always have an excellent audience in Greendale, Indiana.

While loading in, two little girls were peeking out of a classroom and said, “Hi puppets!”.  Today was the intergalactic premiere of our newest skit “Super Space Princess and the Pirates from Zwonk”!

Coleman can ramble (or is that his puppeteer?) and went on about crazy picnic food.  This got sillier when he almost got Cyril with suggesting that he bring potato chips with his picnic lunch.  Cy was expecting a crazy Sasquatch recipe, it got laughs along with a silly joke about ants.  My son Tiernan provided a knock-knock joke about candy, which also brought laughter from the children.
Wump Mucket Puppets at Little Red School House Greendale Indiana Notes from the Road June 2015

The segment changes were a little bumpy and need to flow more.  This will happen as the show rolls along.

The Super Space Princess skit goes well, and the audience really likes G’Wizzl.  We have a new star in the cast!  Out first girl puppet!!!

The meet and greet is great!  The children, ages 4-8, are very interested in my puppets and ask great questions about design, voice characterization, and puppet construction.  About ten kids hang around to look backstage, see the props, puppets, etc.  One little girl asks where my daughter is?  I guess she’s seen us perform together elsewhere, since Eleanor has not performed at this school.

While packing the gear into my car, several children run up to the fence that encloses the playground and shout, “Bye puppet guy!”


To Be Continued…

Wump Mucket Puppets on WVXU

Wump Mucket Puppets on WVXU

Baby, if you’ve ever wondered
Wondered whatever became of me
I’m living on the air in Cincinnati
Cincinnati, WVXU

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Wump Mucket Puppets returned to the Cincinnati airwaves on WVXU 91.7 FM to be guests on Around Cincinnati on Sunday April 26, 2015.  Missed the broadcast?  Live outside the WVXU area?  Fear not dear fan, for here is the link to enjoy the interview.

Many thanks to host Anne Arenstein and producer Lee Hay for having Coleman the Sasquatch and Reg the Loveland Frog, along with their  puppeteer, as guests.  This was the first time that Reg had been on the radio, so be sure to listen to his silly bit of singing, with apologies to the rock superstar Prince -who Reg is a big fan of.  Ribbitt!

Listen to previous WVXU interviews here

What a week Wump Mucket Puppets

What a fantastic, puppet rockin’ week it has been!  Wump Mucket Puppets are becoming regular guests in Cincinnati media.  We love all the kind attention that we are getting.  Thank you to the producers, anchors, and editors that have helped me share this adventure in puppetry with their viewers, listeners, and readers.  You ROCK!

We return to WVXU
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Our media “blitz” this past week began with an email from WVXU 91.7 FM, Cincinnati’s NPR affiliate, to invite me to come to their Central Parkway studios and be interviewed to promote our May 9, 2015 performance at Northside’s Art in the Park.  Producer Lee Hay has been very kind to our little puppet troupe, making this our fifth appearance on Around Cincinnati.  Be sure to tune in Sunday April 26, from 7 – 8 pm or listen to their stream.  We had a great time chatting with host Anne Arenstein, plus Reg The Loveland Frog makes his radio singing debut!  Here are a few of Wump Mucket Puppets previous apperances on WVXU to enjoy.

Promoting Cincinnati puppetry on FOX19
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How do you follow up a radio interview?  How about a LIVE morning television segment!  As the president of the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild, I am very grateful to the folks at FOX19 to invite myself and our vice president Ryan Moore on as guests.  Anchor Frank Marzullo is fun to talk to.  WXIX has a long history with Cincinnati puppetry, as it was the TV station that our founding guild president Larry Smith helped sign on the air in 1968, and remained one of the top rated shows.  I look forward to future guests spots with Frank and his co-hosts at FOX19.
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Here’s our segment on FOX19 Morning Xtra to enjoy:

Day of Puppetry

As the week drew closer to the Day of Puppetry, my wife Lara and I found the time to get our growing cast of puppets together for a few photos that Cincinnati Magazine has requested for their June 2015 issue to promote Wump Mucket Puppets performance at the Taft Museum of Art on Sunday June 21, 2015.  You must pick up that issue to see our fantastic photo.

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The Day of Puppetry at Happen in Northside was a big hit with all the children and their families who attended.  Thanks to Happen Inc for being our host for three years in a row!  And thank you to puppeteers Ryan Moore and Richard Brown who performed along with me and share the joy of puppetry with our city.


Wump Mucket Puppets Celebrates Five Years

Wump Mucket Puppets Celebrates Five Years

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Today we celebrate the fifth anniversary of Wump Mucket Puppets as a performing puppet troupe. Yes, this silliness finally got it’s act together on the cold morning of March 18, 2010 to perform for a classroom full of cheerful preschool children.

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I remember that I worried about having at least ten minutes of material to perform in my show.  I also recall how much my arms and hands ached after holding up two puppets for ten whole minutes.  These days I am changing up six to seven puppets for a 30-40 minute show! 

Yet, I will never forget the laughter that came from the youngsters, they were giggling at the silly ideas that began to take shape back in 2001 and slowly grew into a puppet troupe.  It was my daughter Eleanor who said to her teacher “My Daddy is a puppeteer”, that gave me the final push needed to get my puppetry out of our house, and in front of an audience once and for all.

And what an audience you are!  In the past five years I have had the honor to hear thousands of children laugh, sing, clap, and talk to my puppet characters.  A  grandmother has told me that she felt like a little girl while watching my puppetry.  While performing at the Duke Energy Convention Center this past Thanksgiving, a gentleman in the audience shouted, “Man!  You ARE Larry Smith!”.  For those of you outside the Cincinnati area, Larry Smith is a legendary Cincinnati puppeteer who still has many fans who remember his puppetry fondly.  Being compared to him is quite a compliment. 

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While I may not have the chance to meet with everyone who comes to see my puppet shows, please know that your applause, laughter, artwork, and messages mean the world to me.  Thank you very much for being a part of my life for the last five years.  Puppets ROCK!



Wump Mucket Puppets first PSA is here!

Wump Mucket Puppets first PSA is here!

Recycling with Mayor Cranley from CitiCable on Vimeo.

The wait is over!  Wump Mucket Puppets first PSA is here!

The first of five public service announcements (PSA) that were produced by staff and students of Cincinnati State College for the City of Cincinnati Public Services department is ready for your viewing pleasure.
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It was a fantastic experience to work with the crew, and help Cincinnati’s Public Services department encourage the citizens of our city to recycle in a fun way.  Cyril got a chuckle of seeing himself in a video with Mayor John Cranley. 

Be sure to recycle no matter where you live to help keep our planet green and clean.

2015 is rockin’ already!

2015 is rockin’ already!

So much is happening at Wump Mucket Puppets HQ!  Our August New England tour is beginning to fill in, and our 2015 Tri-State (OH, KY, IN) shows are looking great too!
Plus we have several new tunes, skits, and puppets in the works!

Do you know about the TV pilot that Terrence Burke will be puppeteering in?  Oh boy!  It’s a television show that teaches yoga to children called “Stretch of the Imagination”.  More details as soon as we can share ’em.  It’s a very cool production, we promise!

How about a Puppets n’ Pizza Party? 

Wump Mucket Puppets are teaming up with The Kitchen Factory in Northside to perform our zany puppet show for children while they enjoy kid-size slices of yummy pizza.   Saturday February 28th, 2 – 3 PMChildren ages 3 to12 may enjoy pizza and a healthy drink while watching our puppet show for only $7.00. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Adult menu available.
Call Kitchen Factory at (513) 591-3333
if you have any questions.

RSVP on our Facebook Events Page

We promise to share more exciting Wump Mucket Puppets’ news soon. Thanks for your interest. Puppets ROCK!

2014 FAN-tastic Contest!

2014 FAN-tastic Contest!

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What a fantastic year 2014 has been for Wump Mucket Puppets!  We have performed for so many great people and made lots of new pals.

What better way to show our thanks to our fans than a FUN contest with really GREAT prizes!

Here’s all you have to do:

1.  LIKE our the official Wump Mucket Puppets Facebook page <<<click here
If you already have, THANKS!

2. ASK your friends to LIKE the Wump Mucket Puppets Facebook Page.  When they LIKE it they must leave a POST on the page’s wall that YOU sent them.
Example:  Hi this is Pete Puppet!  Marion Nette suggested that I should LIKE your page.

3. WIN!  We want to reach 1000 LIKES on our Facebook Page by December 31, 2014.  The more people you get to LIKE our page, the better chances YOU have of winning these GREAT PRIZES!

Our 2014 contest is open to anyone, yet we can ONLY ship prizes to postal addresses in the USA.  Cast and crew of Wump Mucket Puppets and small rodents are not eligible.

Tallies of NEW referred likes to our page will be kept weekly and posted on our Facebook page.  Winners will be notified on January 1, 2015.  Prizes will be shipped within two weeks of notification.

GRAND PRIZE  Palisades Muppets Clifford collectable figure!

Winner is our FAN  who got the largest amount of their friends to like our page. THANKS!
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SECOND PRIZE Rose Art Sesame Street 35th Anniversary Game

Second place winner got the second most amount of their friends to like our page.

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THIRD PRIZE     Leap Year Muppets 500 pc. Puzzle

Third place winner got the third most amount of their friends to like our page.
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Each of these FAN-tastic prizes are from Terrence Burke’s personal collection of fun stuff, and have NEVER BEEN OPENED!

Each winner will also receive a Wump Mucket Puppets Pack O’ Fun, which includes a postcard, a bumper sticker, and five badges with our cast smiling at you!
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So go out and get your friends to become our FANS and YOU CAN WIN!  Our fans know that PUPPETS ROCK!

Puppet Rockin’ in the Queen City Day 5

Wump Mucket Puppets on location in Clifton, Cincinnati, Ohio

Puppet Rockin’ in the Queen City Day 5

November 12, 2014 – At last, our schedules and weather synchronized to allow the cast and crew an afternoon to shoot the fifth and final PSA for the City of Cincinnati Department of Public Services.  Had we really been working on these for a little over a month?  Somehow the entire production seemed to fly by!
 photo 006_zps752ee1d8.jpg For the final shoot we found ourselves in the Clifton neighborhood of Cincinnati.  It was a quick commute from the Wump Mucket Puppets headquarters in Northside.  The puppets cast in this spot were Cyril and his alien buddy G’Wazzl.   How was I going to have two of my puppets in a scene?  This was made possible with lots of help from Amanda Checco and Beth Dickerson, who “puppet wrangled” G’Wazzl in the background while I performed Cyril.  I think they had fun, just look at their smiles!
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In the PSA Cyril meets his neighbor Mark Bertram, who has just discovered that someone left their UFO in his trash pile along the curb.  Mark and Cyril then explain to the viewers how to have their waste picked up, even alien spacecraft!  There will be a surprise ending that you will have to wait for.  I promise you this, it’s OUT OF THIS WORLD!
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After shooting the scene featuring Mark and Cyril, I had to switch puppets and perform G’Wazzl to deliver his lines.  I was really impressed with the UFO prop that was made for this production, even G’Waz wanted to take it for a spin around the block.  And then, with the shout “that’s a wrap!”, we were finished.  The Wump Mucket Puppets are soon to be that puppet stars of five different television PSAs for the City of Cincinnati’s Department of Public Services.

What started as an email from Gerald Checco back in July will soon deliver important messages, in a fun way, to the citizens of our city.  It was a fantastic experience for me.  Thanks to:  Gerald Checco, for reconnecting with me (we were on the radio together in back the 1980s) and for choosing my puppets to share his department’s messages.  Ann Newsom, for her kind words of encouragement and use of her blanket while puppeteering on the sidewalk.  Paul Grundy, for keeping this entire production team together, while schedules and weather had other plans.  Bobby Gayol, who’s laughter to my puppet’s silliness only made me want to be sillier. I also enjoyed our chit-chat about Cincinnati rock scene from years ago.  Zo Wesson, a great fan of puppetry who knew what to ask the puppets to do, and inspired their puppeteer to rock even harder.  Beth Dickerson, for being such a kind wrangler of G’Wazzl and very helpful during the recording of our voice-overs.  Anastasia, Cory (I apologize for not remembering your last names), for helping Cyril get his cape on and for helping me take my mic off.  Of course we must give shout outs to all our co-stars; John Ervin, Markeesha, Ed Grant, Ann, Marcus Potter, Mayor John Cranley, and Mark Bertram!  You were fantastic!

So what’s next?  Paul Grundy has told me that once the five PSAs are edited and approved, we may be presenting them at a Cincinnati city council meeting in early 2015!  I wonder if I can convince Coleman to wear his tuxedo? 

Eventually the PSAs will be provided to Cincinnati television stations and social media, to help inform the public about the new rules and changes to trash collection in Cincinnati.  I had a great time working with everyone involved with this production, and hope that you had fun working with me and my cast of zany puppet characters too.  It is my dream that the Wump Mucket Puppets will be cast in future television productions or advertisements, after all…puppets ROCK!
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Puppet Rockin’ in the Queen City Day 4

Puppet Rockin’ in the Queen City Day 4

November 3, 2014 – We neared the end of the production, with all but one of the televisions spots recorded.  It was time to re-record my puppet character’s dialog in the recording studio.  Although I was using a microphone on the shoots, the audio recorded was for reference, a “scratch-track” in you will.  I was happy to spend some time in the studio at Cincinnati State College.   This is the dialog that will be heard in TV spots.

Terrence Burke voicing his puppet characters in the recording studio at Cincinnati State College.

It had been many years since I was behind a microphone in a recording studio.  Long before puppetry was my creative focus, I was the producer and host of a radio program called “Doctor 13’s Audio Lab” on WAIF-FM in Cincinnati.  The funny thing was, as soon as I put on the headphones and stepped behind the mic, I was read for my puppet’s voices to rock!  Sort of like riding a bike I guess.

Now some of you may wonder, do I need the puppets on my hands to be in character?  NOPE!  These characters are very much a part of my imagination and can be called upon at my will.  Cyril did make the bus trip to the studio with me, but only to make certain that I behaved myself.

I do plan to bring the Wump Mucket Puppets into a recording studio one day, to record all of my original tunes that are heard in our puppet shows.  That should be fun!

Here’s a peek inside the studio as I record the dialog for Cyril and Coleman:

I have often told people that I consider my puppetry “live action cartoons”, and feel that their are a number of similarities in the two art forms.  Let’s see…  Funny looking characters?  Yup.  Exaggerated  voices?  Got ’em.  Silly songs?  We sing many.  Overall zaniness?  With some to spare!  Need I go on?  These thoughts go back to my childhood in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when I was soaking in as much Saturday morning TV as my young brain could handle.  I was interested in three things back then:  Puppets, cartoons, comics.  I remember asking my mother how cartoons are made.  She explained that a cartoon was a series of drawings that were filmed, and when projected very fast created the illusion that the cartoon character was moving.  I made a few flip-books and became discouraged that an animation studio was out of the financial means of a imaginative seven year-old boy.  By that time I had a good idea how to put on a puppet show for my family. I could do almost everything with a puppet that a cartoon character could do, and perform live!  It was probably around this time in my life that my future was set.  A creative spark had started a fire inside me, my life would eventually lead to puppetry.

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Cyril checks in on his puppeteer during the recording session.

During the session I recorded all of the puppet’s dialog within several takes.  Getting into “voice” wasn’t the trouble.  It was my fumbling a couple words that needed to be fixed.  For some reason “mayor” was sounding like “mEyer”.  No trouble, it’s all digital now!  All fixed.  I am sure that great voice actors have some great out takes and friendly pranks in their careers.  Being the playful guy I am, I hid beneath the music stand while the folks behind the glass window attended to something.  I then brought Cyril up to the mic to announce, “Burke stepped out.  I’ll be doing all the work now!”.  This got a few laughs from the control room, which was what I was going for.

Silly voices.  Puppets.  Fun.  Our recording session was done.  The Wump Mucket Puppets ROCKED the mic!

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