Q: Do the original puppets and stages still exist?
A: Yes, I have the original puppets, marionettes and stages stored.
Q: How many puppets were there?
A: I never counted them but there were probably more than several dozen at the height of the shows.
Q: Are you giving any puppets away or selling any of the puppets, stages, etc.?
Q: How do you make a puppet?
A: The “puppets” forum on the muppetcentral.com web site is a good resource to start with. They have lists of material suppliers and lots of tips for beginning puppet builders there. There are also some good puppet building books available online from Amazon.
Q: How did you learn to make puppets?
A: I saw a show in the late 60s about how Muppets were made that gave me the basics. From there it was just using whatever materials I could find at the local cloth stores or had access to at the time and making lots of puppets.
Q: How old were you when you started making puppets?
A: About 13. The last puppets I made for mom and dad were probably done around 1976 or 1977 or so when I was about 20. I’ve recently (September of 2005) created a new puppet. You can see him on the puppet page by clicking here.
Q: Do you make puppets to sell?
A: No, not at this time.
Q: Did you sell puppets in the past?
A: Yes. In the early 70’s we made about 300 small hand puppets that we sold at some local arts and crafts fairs. People loved them and we sold out of them at the second fair we were at. However, the bite that the taxes took out of the sales was so enormous that we never did anything like that again, it just wasn’t worth it.
Q: Where did the puppet names come from?
A: Almost all were named after friends and family. I had the dubious “honor” of having the skunk puppet named after me. Hmmm.
Q: How did Ron and Mary Kay transport everything? In a truck or van?
A: Pop had a plain white 1965 Chevrolet Biscayne station wagon. This thing was stripped to the teeth and had a 3 on the tree with a 6 cylinder engine. He used that Chevy before, during and after the puppet years. People who know us will remember that car well. Pop put over 250,000 miles on it over the years. He loved that car! One of my biggest regrets is not having the room to store and keep the Chevy. I still miss it. I found the images below online so they are not of the actual car but look just like it; white with a turqouise interior.
Q: What were the live puppet shows like?
A: They always did 10 minutes of puppets, 10 minutes of singing with the audience, and a final 10 minutes of puppets. The audio for the 2 puppet segments was recorded in advance and usually consisted of short little skits between puppets that segued into a song. There were 2 to 3 songs in each 10 minute segment.
Q: Did Ron and Mary Kay do their own music for the puppets?
A: Yes. Pop played most of the instruments (guitar, 5-string banjo, bass, etc.) and both mom and dad sang. Pop usually wrote the music and mom usually did the lyrics. They recorded the music at home in the den.
Q: Do the audio recordings, music and scripts still exist?*
A: I have the shows on reel to reel tapes and will transfer them to CDs eventually. I have not been able to locate any of the old scripts.
Q: Are there videos, DVDs or CDs of any of the puppets?
A: I have some 3/4″ video tapes that I have transferred to DVD. If you want to see some puppet video, click here. These consist of out-takes, PSAs, ads, the raw footage and final edit of The Great Museum Mystery and the pilot for Friends From A to Z. Unfortunately I do not have any of the live shows filmed or taped. That all happened long before camcorders were available. I plan to transfer the audio tapes to CDs in the near future. I am looking into possibly making some of this available for people to have but it will take some time to look into.
Q: Are you going to do any new shows with the puppets now?
A: No, although I would consider using them on TV again if asked. I suppose it’s also possible we might recreate the puppet segments of the live shows using the original audio tapes and puppets for a new video, but that’s only a thought right now.
I’ve recently been through all the old puppet and Hilarys audio tapes I have and I’m missing a lot of original tapes (probably close to 20 or so tapes). These would have been mostly 7″ reel-to-reel tapes in boxes, many of them the old Radio Shack “ConcertTape” brand, some Maxell and there may be others. There may have been a few 5″ reels as well. The boxes would be labeled with handwritten titles (i.e., “75-1”, “76-4”, “77-3”, “TV-1” through at least “TV-12”). Mom gave a bunch of tapes to Goodwill back in August of 1994.
If these tapes still exist, they may be in someone’s closet most likely here in the Albuquerque area. Anyone who might have any information on them please contact me at the email address below! These tapes would mean a lot to the family now so any help locating them would be appreciated.