Strange and Unusual Puppets of the Past
Director: Wango Weng

A collection of innovative - and bizarre -- puppet films from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s that paved the way for Jim Henson.
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Strange and Unusual Puppets of the Past
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Format:  DVD-R
sku:  ALP 7926D
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DVD-R Details

  • Run Time: 1 hours, 30 minutes
  • Video: Black & White & Color
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
  • Released:
  • Originally Released: 1938
  • Label: Alpha Video

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Performer: , , , &
Directed by

Description by OLDIES.com:

With the advent of sound, motion pictures became a new medium in which puppeteers could ply their trade. Practiced at working on stage, those skilled performers were faced with the challenge of bringing the immediacy of the puppet show to the big screen. These early efforts paved the way for the work of Jim Henson, Burr Tillstrom, and many others.

JERRY PULLS THE STRINGS (1938): Jerry Spencer can't convince his prospective father-in-law, coffee magnate Matthew Atwell, that his chosen occupation of puppeteer is a viable one. So he stages a puppet pageant retelling the history of coffee for the gruff old tycoon. Jerry Pulls The Strings was produced exclusively for screening at the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair. Its primary purpose was to promote vacuum-packed canned coffee and was, at the time, the longest puppet film ever made. It was made by Margo and Rufus Rose, who later created characters for The Howdy Doody Show (1947-1960).

PARTY LINES (1946): Party Lines features the puppets of famed husband-and-wife team Bil and Cora Baird. It was meant to demonstrate proper etiquette in using a party line, a long-forgotten part of telephone history. Because of the way telephone lines used to be strung in certain rural areas, it was once possible to inadvertently listen in to your neighbors' conversations. This could lead to potentially disastrous results, as comically illustrated by Bil and Cora's puppets.

RUMPELSTILTSKIN (1949): A puppet adaptation of the classic Grimm's Fairy Tale about an imp who shows a poor girl how to spin straw into gold, for a price. Made for classroom use by Coronet Films.

THE TOYMAKER (1952): Two seemingly identical puppets are the best of friends until they realize they're slightly different. But when they meet the Toymaker, they learn that friendship isn't about everyone being the same. This touching plea for tolerance is written and performed by Martin Stevens, praised as "The Shakespeare of the Puppet World."

HOW TO MAKE A PUPPET (1955): "Many boys and girls make puppets, and have fun playing them." Unfortunately, a lot of those puppets can be decidedly creepy, as this vintage instructional film shows.

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Product Info

  • Sales Rank: 513
  • UPC: 089218792693
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

Alpha Video Labels:

Film Collectors & Archivists: Alpha Video is actively looking for rare and unusual pre-1943 motion pictures, in good condition, from Monogram, PRC, Tiffany, Chesterfield, and other independent studios for release on DVD. We are also interested in TV shows from the early 1950s. Share your passion for films with a large audience. Let us know what you have.
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