- Place of Use Continent - North America, Country - Canada, Province / Territory - Ontario
- Category Recreational artifacts
- Sub-category Public entertainment device
- Department Folklore
- Museum CMH
- Earliest 1952/01/01
- Latest 1958/12/31
- Materials Textile, Metal, Mammal wool
- Measurements Height 10.2 cm, Length 49.6 cm, Width 18.5 cm
- Related activity Puppetry
- Caption Mouth Puppet
(Alternate name: Moving Mouth Puppet)
A type of hand puppet in which the mouth is articulated. It is usually made of flexible materials, allowing the thumb to be inserted into the lower jaw while the remaining fingers control the upper jaw. The puppet's jaws can thus be opened and closed, simulating speech.
Definition inspired by the Kenneth B. McKay book, Puppetry in Canada: An Art to Enchant, published by the Ontario Puppetry Association. Copyright 1980
Mouth and Rod Puppet
Mouth puppet in which the arms are controlled with rods. Manipulation can either be undertaken by a single puppeteer who controls the mouth with one hand and the two rods with the other, or by two puppeteers, allowing a greater range of arm movement.
Mouth and Human-Arm Puppet
The term "human arm" is used when one of the hands of the puppeteer become a hand - and thus an integral part - of the puppet. The puppeteer controls the head - or the mouth, in the case of a mouth puppet - with one of his or her hands, while the other hand becomes the hand of the puppet itself. Sometimes, two puppeteers share animation of the puppet, thus giving the puppet two "human" hands. When the puppet is a marotte, the French term marotte à main prenante is preferred.
- Caption John Conway
John Edwin Conway became interested in puppetry as a child. His hobby developed into a profession and, in the early 1940s, he worked with Muriel Heddle's Royal Canadian Puppet Ballet. After the war, he established the York Puppet Theatre (1948-1952) and toured Western Canada with several productions. In 1952, Conway introduced his puppets Uncle Chichimus and Hollyhock during the inaugural broadcast of the CBC's English television network. Costumes for these puppets were created by Suzanne Mess, who became a celebrated designer of costumes for theatre and television. She later worked for the National Ballet of Canada, the Canadian Opera Company and the Stratford Festival. Enjoyed by adults and children alike, Uncle Chichimus and Hollyhock became cultural icons during the 1950s, and unofficial mascots of the CBC. The puppets appeared in numerous programs, including Let's See (1952-1953), Uncle Chichimus (1953-1954) and Adventures of Chich (1958-1961). They later appeared on Ottawa's CJOH/CTV station in Cartoonerville (1961-1966). Conway and director Norman Campbell were among the first to develop innovative techniques in the staging and performance of puppets for television. In 2002, Conway was awarded a commemorative medal for his pioneering work in television during Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee.
Adapted from Figuratively Speaking: Puppetry in Ontario by Ken McKay, copyright 1990. Courtesy of the Ontario Puppetry Association and Ken McKay.