Happy Birthday Andy!

Today is my youngest brother Andy’s birthday!

Happy Birthday Andy from Coleman and Wump Mucket Puppets

Did I ever tell you about my brother Andy?  He’s a puppeteer too!  Not only is he a puppeteer, but he often works with very large parade puppets.  And if puppets weren’t enough to keep him busy, you can sometimes find him walking on silts or playing drums.

Andy Burke and his One World Puppets

My brother Andy Burke with a few of his puppets

In celebration of Andy’s birthday, I am dedicating today’s blog to him.  We’ve had our differences over the years, as many siblings do, yet as our hair gets grayer and our backs ache a bit more we find that it’s best to agree on the things that we agree on, and button our lips when we need to on other topics.  Let’s stick to things we agree on, most importantly… PUPPETS!

Andy Burke's puppet Kuumar

Andy Burke's puppet character Kuumar

How we both ended up puppeteers as adults I am not sure.  We both watched many of the same television shows as children, so that may have something to do with it.  Regardless, it’s great that Andy creates his own puppets and performs them at fairs, festivals, and concerts.  Keep rockin’ the puppets Andy!

Have a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDY, from you big brother Terrence

For more info about my brother’s puppetry check out the One World Puppetry and Performance Art Facebook Page

Gerry Anderson, your shows were FAB!

Wump Mucket Puppets pays tribute to Gerry Anderson

Wump Mucket Puppets Terrence Burke and children

Gerry Anderson fans Eleanor Burke (hiding behind a Stingray DVD), Terrence Burke, and Tiernan Burke

Our world begins 2013 (so much for that Mayan calendar!) without a man who’s puppet and science fiction television programs made many boys and girls happy in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  British television producer Gerry Anderson passed away on December 26, 2012.  His programs featured fantastic futuristic vehicles, realistic looking aircraft, and some cheesy humor too!  I became aware of the show Thunderbirds some time in the early 1970’s when I was a boy growing up in the Boston area.  I don’t recall exactly how I learned about it, yet I do remember that the television station that broadcast the show (WSMW TV-27) was too far away from where my family lived to watch the show with any form of clarity.  Being the A/V club member that I was back then, I figured out that our cousins lived in the broadcast area of TV-27.  FAB!  When we would visit I would attempt to convince my mother that I “had” to watch this show.  Sometimes I was able to convince her of this need, sometimes I would be told to go outside and play with my siblings and cousins.  From the bits of the program that I could view, I could determine that something remarkable was being broadcast, and it had puppets!

The future, as seen in 1975

Several years later, in which I was firmly a sci-fi fan,  I got word on the playground that a cool new television series was going to be on the air featuring two of the actors from Mission: Impossible (another show I loved).  It was 1975 and I was eleven years old when Space: 1999 was launched.  I recall that my brothers and I went crazy for this show.  We were fans of Star Trek, Voyage To the Bottom of the Sea, Batman, almost anything sci-fi related.  Space: 1999 was exactly the show for us, it had lots of spaceships, laser guns, explosions, plus a woman who could change into animals and monsters too!  WOW!  We would often pretend to be members of Moonbase Alpha in our backyard.  Lucky for us, and many other kids, there were a number of toys made to promote the series.  Of course, it was a “Space: 1999 Christmas” at our house that year!  I do wish I still had those toys. Sadly only a tiny part of my Eagle spaceship has survived from my youth to middle age.

Thank Goodness for DVD

Good thing that the future turned out a little different from how it was depicted on Thunderbirds and Stingray, on those shows everything was saved on magnetic tape!  With the invention of digital media adult fans of Gerry Anderson’s programs could now “stand by for action” once again and re-watch the shows that they loved as children.  For me many of his older programs were completely new since I was only familiar with Thunderbirds, UFO, and Space: 1999.  I have since enjoyed watching the children’s shows on DVDs with my children, who in their own ways have become fans of Stingray (Eleanor) and Thunderbirds (Tiernan).  We’ll have to wait a few years before we watch UFO and Space: 1999, as these were adult programs with adult themes and situations.

Wump Mucket Puppets G'Wazzl with UFO toy

G'Wazzl wonders if Commander Edward Straker ever encountered a UFO like this

So thank you Gerry Anderson, and all the puppeteers, designers, actors, model makers, and crew who created these FAB-ulous visions of what the future may have looked like.  You’ld be happy to know that the shows you made are still entertaining children, and their geeky daddies in the 21st century!

Happy New Year!

Wump Mucket Puppets wish everyone a very HAPPY New Year!

What a fab-tastic year 2012 has been for me and the puppet troupe.  All of the activity has proven to me that there is definitely a place in the puppet universe for my style of silliness.  Thanks to everyone who booked my show, laughed and clapped in the audience, interviewed me on television and radio, chatted on-line, rubbed elbows at puppetry guild meetings, or even recognized me around my neighborhood and elsewhere as “that puppeteer”.  YOU made my year a great one.  Let’s do it again in 2013!  Puppets ROCK!

Wump Mucket Puppets creator/puppeteer Terrence Burke

Wump Mucket Puppets creator/puppeteer Terrence Burke at Wump Mucket HQ

What a Year! 2012 remembered

2012 was a remarkable year for Wump Mucket Puppets.

I performed the final show of the year last night for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati.  It’s one of my favorite places to perform.  Why? Read on…

Wump Mucket Puppets Coleman the Sasquatch at Ronald McDonald House

I was about to bring all of my puppet gear into the children’s theatre when all of the guests and staff were exiting the building. The fire alarms had been set off inside due to smoke in the kitchen area,  luckily no one was hurt and the situation was under control quickly.  I am glad I was still wearing my Oscar the Grouch hoodie.

Wump Mucket Puppets stage in holiday show mode

When everyone was allowed back inside, I set up the puppet stage and prepared to perform the show.  Guests gradually entered the children’s theatre to see the show.  Then it was showtime!  Everything went well, the guests sang along to “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, joined in for a few knock-knock jokes, and had some fun.  During our post-show meet & greet the puppets met a few of the children in the audience and passed out coloring sheets (with a few extras for later).

Wump Mucket Puppets with a young fan

I then began to pack up the puppets, sound equipment, and stage when a volunteer brought three children into the theatre.  She told me that they were with a sibling who had just been admitted to Children’s Hospital and had driven from Portsmouth, Ohio, about a two hour drive from Cincinnati.  The volunteer asked if I would bring the puppets back out for these children.  I didn’t miss a beat and brought out Cyril for some friendly chit-chat and a tune. Coleman then shared a couple of his knock-knock jokes and talked about the Bengals with the two boys and The Reds with the young lady.  Finally G’Wazzl barked “Jingle Bells” for the kids and wished them a good night and happy new year.  They left the theatre with some of our coloring sheets and smiles on their faces.

Wump Mucket Puppets Terrence Burke with Coleman the Sasquatch

Wump Mucket Puppets Terrence Burke with Coleman the Sasquatch at Ronald McDonald House Cincinnati

This is exactly why I am a puppeteer.  To bring a bit of happiness and joy to children through my puppet characters.

As I think about 2012, I have so many happy puppetry memories, here are a few:

  • The puppets performed to HUNDREDS of children and their families.
  • We brought the puppet show to the inner city and out to the country.
  • Two Cincinnati morning television shows and a radio program has us on the air as guests!
  • The first issue of Wump Mucket Puppets Comics was published and given away on Free Comic Book Day.
  • G’Wazzl and Coleman “launched” a U.F.O. from Fountain Square and Cyril sang a version of the WKRP in Cincinnati  theme during the same show.

Best of all, I had a fantastic time sharing my love of puppetry with so many happy people.  Thank you for an amazing year,  come see the  “puppets rock” again in 2013!

Wump Mucket Puppets puppeteer Terrence Burke with his puppets

 

Good Morning Cincinnati TV appearance

The Wump Mucket Puppets return to the Cincinnati television airwaves Thursday September 13th around 7:15am to appear as guests on Good Morning Cincinnati on Local 12.2.

Local 12 Good Morning Cincinnati

Cyril and Coleman will be chatting about our big show on Fountain Square this coming Saturday, September 15th at 3pm and 5pm as part of the Live It Up Downtown event. The event is family friendly & FREE and open to the public.  We hope you can join the fun!

Live It Up Downtown logo

If you are one of our many out of town fans, we hope to have a recording of our television appearance available for your viewing pleasure.

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

 

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…”

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.