Rest in Peace Larry Smith
I wish to share my thoughts about the passing of Cincinnati puppetry legend Larry Smith.
So many children grew up in Cincinnati loving his numerous TV shows and live performances. I regret that I don’t share their memories, watching his signature characters Hattie the Witch, Snarfie R. Dog, and Teaser the Mouse, to mention only a few. I am sure that I would have loved his shows.
When I was getting my puppet act together in the early 2000s, I was welcomed with open arms by the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild, which Larry founded in the 1970s. I met him at various guild meetings and events, and would sometimes bump into him around Cincinnati. As I think about him today, I really wished that I got to know him better.
Several years ago, while I was performing in Downtown Cincinnati, a man in his 60s approached me from the audience after my show with a big smile on his face. He looked at me to say, “Man! You are Larry Smith!”. I consider this as a very kind complement, as Larry spent most of his adult life performing puppets.
Rest in Peace Larry Smith. You made children happy by bringing joy and laughter to Cincinnati.
Wump Mucket Puppets Celebrates Five Years
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.
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.
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!