Sunday, May 31, 2009

About those Hand Puppets

Update: The collector in the post below is selling off a bunch of these rare foreign puppets. Check em out!

Here's some amazing pictures of a fellow collector's collection. David says he thinks he has all of the puppets produced commercially during the 70's era. Including the various Vicma puppets, you can see the wonderful Guy Smiley (how I wished they had made a finger puppet for him!) Sherlock Hemlock and Prairie Dawn! Then from Lili Ledy, Paco and Abelardo hand puppets! Trult rare gems and all of them are great representations of the real puppets. My favorite is the rubber headed Count from Canada. David mentions that as a kid her remembers having a Roosevelt Franklin finger puppet with glued on staright hair (Topper style) rather than the curly rooted hair. If so, it must be a very short-lived variation from Topper! I'm adding David's comments below. Thanks, David!

Over the years I've gone a little crazy with the "rarer" ones...I have about
eight Herrys now and several of the Vicmas in boxes. The Vicmas in
particular show up all the time now on eBay...what went for $300 back then
goes for $30 now. I've watched their value decrease over the years, so for
now they're just waiting for the next big wave of interest, I guess.

On the finger puppet side, I also have Salesman and Sherlock finger puppets
that look closer to the American ones than the Vicmas you posted. It's as
though someone made a mold of the American versions and cast them roughly in
one piece. The insides are weird a cone rather than following the
exterior contours. I haven't seen the ones you posted before.

One thing I haven't seen for a while is the Roosevelt Franklin without the
curly hair...when I was a kid I had all of them, and I know he had a tuft of
hair like the Topper ones. I hated when they went to curly hair on him and
the Ernie and Bert.

The Guy Smiley is a pretty ready commodity on eBay these days. I would
really love to know the story on the Canadian Count. He has the same style
of hands as the Ernie puppet, so I assume it's a Questor/Child Guidance
puppet, but I just don't know why they put him out as vinyl in Canada but
plush in the U.S. I've always had a soft spot for that plush Count puppet,
just because I remember seeing him for the first time in JC Penneys and
buying him with my own money...I must have been about eleven. For some
reason, a lot of those Counts have crazy hair, but mine had the nice
slicked-back type. (The one that first showed up in the Penneys catalog,
maybe a prototype, had fur hair, as you can see from the attached. For some
reason I can only find a small version, but you can see the difference.) The
Canadian Count has a weird neck situation going on that I've never been able
to figure out...but the sculpt is awesome. It would be great to see the
packaging for that one. (As you know, not too long after the plush Count
came out they went plush on the Ernie and Bert, too.)

As for the Grover puppet, I remember it being hard to find one that didn't
have a problem with the upper lip meeting the fur correctly. The best one
I've found from a design standpoint is pictured on the left end of one of my
curio photos (I attached a crop)...I think it's the Vicma version
(surprisingly), and it's definitely different from the one I grew up with.
(On your 1979 Child Guidance catalog page, it looks like the Grover has that
same lip problem, and the Count is the crazy-hair version. I actually like
those first plush Ernie and Bert puppets. For some reason Roosevelt stayed
vinyl; maybe they knew he was being phased out. I've also never seen a Herry
as full and furry as that, and with that much of his eyebrows.)


Josh Rip said...

I was poking around the web for information on an early 70's Cookie Monster finger puppet I had as a kid, and lo and behold, here is this cool site! I always thought I had an unusual version, and this site perhaps confirms it. The one I have has characteristics of both the Topper and Questor versions, but does not appear to completely match either one. It is the harder, darker blue rubber (no Hong Kong stamp), but with the separate plastic eyes inserted into the head. I remember other kids having the softer, lighter blue version. I posted some pictures if anyone's curious:

Dee96 said...

It's funny how Paco is kept in a capsule.

bardhol said...

aarggh! that's the aloysius snuffleupagus doll i had, that i can't find on ebay or anywhere because i don't know the date and manufacturer. are you able to tell me this information?

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