Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ottawa Winterlude Ice Hogs Collectables!

Winter is upon us once again! Ottawa is now covered in piles of snow and it is feezing outside. In the Nation's Capital this means only one thing... Winterlude will soon be underway! Of course we couldn't have Winterlude without those awesome mascots, the Ice Hog Family. Oddly enough I've never seen them live and up close, so I've yet to snap my own photos of them. Hopefully I can do so this year. In the meantime I'll share a photo of my favourite mascot collectables...the Ice Hog plush toys!


Shown above on the left is the new 15 inch Ice Hog plush doll from 2010 (wearing the scarf). He is still available by mail order through the official web site for Winterlude souvenirs:
http://www.e-boutiquecanada.com/Winterlude/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=20&Itemid=95&lang=en
If you plan to attend Winterlude, they also sell some of the souvenirs at the Winterlude festival, so you might be able to find the plush toy there as well.

Next to the 2010 Ice Hog plush toy is the plush toy from 1994 (with the light blue and pink shirt). This one is no longer available. I found it second hand at a thrift store a couple of years ago and was quite happy about that! This 1994 plush toy was sold the same year that the "new and improved" Ice Hog mascots were unveiled. From 1980 through to 1993 the Ice Hog mascot looked very different....


Here is a small lapel pin of the 1980s version of the Winterlude Ice Hog mascot. I bought this on e-bay! As you can see he is quite different than the Ice Hogs we know today. To me, this earlier version of the mascot looked a lot like a beaver! A plush toy of this earlier version of the Icehog was also available sometime during the 1980s. Before I had started my Ice Hog collection I had found one of those original plush toys at a thrift shop but left it there, and have been kicking myself ever since!

I'm looking for the 1980's Ice Hog!
If anyone out there has an original Ice Hog plush toy from the 1980s and would be willing to part with it, please contact me! I would be happy to buy it from you (if the price is right). I recall the 1980s Ice Hog plush toy was wearing a blue hat with a white pom pom. It may also have a blue scarf, but I'm not certain. If you have one to sell please e-mail me: info"at"artellepuppets.ca

For more info about "The Legend of the Ice Hogs" here is a link to the official Winterlude website:
http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/celebrate/winterlude/ice-hog-legend

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Doll, Teddy Bear and Miniatures Show...and Puppets!

Artelle Puppets will be selling some original hand-made puppets as a vendor at the event listed below. Hope to see you there!

Doll, Teddy Bear and Miniature Show
Sunday, November 25th 2012
Travelodge Hotel
1376 Carling Ave.
10:00am - 4:00pm
Admission: $3.00 for adults
(Free for children under 12 accompanied by an adult)
Door prizes!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Today's Special" Muffy Mouse Toy Puppet

Here is an awesome puppetry character collectable that I found at a thrift store a few years ago. It's a Muffy Mouse toy puppet, from the TV Ontario program Today's Special produced during the 1980's. The tag has a copyright date of 1990 and it says "Imported exclusively for TV Ontario". The dress is removable, and the body is stuffed just like a plush toy. I e-mailed puppeteer Nina Keogh who performed Muffy on the program, and she confirmed that Muffy was the only character from the show to be made as a toy puppet. Other Today's Special collectables that were offered include a child's wrist watch, a record album, and a set of six VHS videos.



Below is a photo from Nina Keogh's website: http://www.ninakeogh.com/puppets/
It shows the original Muffy Mouse puppet wearing the dress that the toy puppet is based on. (Muffy had an extensive wardrobe and was seen on the show in many different outfits). Also in the photo are (L to R) Jeff Hyslop who played Jeff the mannequin, series creator and director Clive VanderBurgh, and puppeteer Nina Keogh.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sleestak Wacky Wobbler by Funko

I attended Ottawa's first Comic Con this past weekend and had a great time. Although I didn't go there to buy stuff I couldn't pass up this awesome Bobble Head. Made by Funko in 2008, this is a Sleestak from the original 1970s Sid and Marty Krofft TV series Land Of the Lost. Funko did an excellent job with the detail on this figure. I've also included the back view to show the Sleestak's tiny tail!



Monday, April 16, 2012

Vintage Simpson Sears Canada Winnie the Pooh Puppets by Mighty Star!


My plan to post a featured puppet collectable each month isn't going very well! I missed February and March completely. So to make up for that here are some vintage puppet collectables that I think are extra-super-awesome! These are the Simpson Sears Winnie the Pooh puppets from the late 1960s or 1970s, that were made in Canada by Mighty Star. During the same time period Mighty Star also produced the very popular cartoon character hand puppets and plush toys of several Looney Tunes characters, Hanna Barbera characters and the Pink Panther. In my experience, I find these Sears Canada Winnie the Pooh puppets to be very rare as I've NEVER seen them on e-bay or online anywhere... so this could very well be their first appearance on the internet!


I found Winnie and Piglet together years ago in the late 1980s or early 1990s at a second hand store. About 10 years later I was very happy to find Eeyore at the Stittsville Fleamarket. These are the only characters that I've ever found from this set, and I've never seen copies of these anywhere. I would love to know more about them so please post a comment or contact me if you have any additional info to share. Here are some other views of the puppets:

 For some reason Winnie has his Sears tag sewn into his side rather than at the puppet sleeve opening as is the case for the other two puppets. The larger Mighty Star tag shown below is attached at the puppet sleeve. You can see that the tag says "Made by Mighty Star Ltd, Montreal, Quebec, Canada". The smaller print says "This label is affixed in compliance with the Upolsterd and Stuffed Articles Act, 1968 of Ontario", so the puppets would not have been made before 1968. Pooh also has plastic button-like eyes attached with a fastener, while the other characters simply have felt eyes.


The Sears tags are embroidered with a small picture of Pooh holding a honey pot. The back of the tag says "Ó Walt Disney Productions / Simpson-Sears Limited"


The Piglet puppet reminds me of Finnegan the dog from the Mr. Dressup TV show because of the eyes and the floppy ears. Piglet has a huge head compared to the other two characters. As the Disney Pooh characters were drawn with stitching lines, Mighty Star used wide stitches in selected spots so that the sewing would show. It's a nice detail that is often overlooked for these characters. Each puppet was made with a plastic tube at the neck for the puppeteer's finger to go into. Unfortunately the tube is missing from this Piglet puppet.


Here's a closer view of Piglet's tags.


Here's Eeyore, who was always my favourite Winnie the Pooh character. He's also my favourite of this set. Eeyore's tail is attached with a snap button allowing it to be removed. I'm glad it's still there and wasn't lost! Below you can see the rivet inside the puppet with the word "Canada" on it. Above that are the letters RAU, though I don't know what that indicates. Just above the rivet you can also see what is left of the larger white tag that was cut off by a previous owner.



Here is Eeyore's Sears tag.

And there you have it, the Simpson Sears Winnie the Pooh puppets by Mighty Star! It would be cool to find a Tigger for this series. I've seen a Tigger hand puppet on e-bay that was from the 1960s and sold at Sears stores only in the United States, however that puppet was not part of this Canadian set and is also not made by Mighty Star, so the search continues! There must be others out there...somewhere!

UPDATES:
In Aug 2014 I received an e-mail from "Derek" who sent me a photo of an identical Sears Winnie the Pooh puppet that still had the original red shirt (shown below on the left). The shirt looks like it is made out of red felt and it has yellow printed letters spelling "Pooh" on the front. This is the first time that I've ever seen another one of these puppets! It looks like the head on this Pooh puppet might be slightly larger that the one I have (shown on the right), though it could also be that the plush on mine has been flattened from being played with over time.


In April 2015 I received an e-mail from "Sara" who sent me photos of what looks to be the Tigger puppet from this set. It has the same white and red Sears Pooh tag attached (shown below) and similar felt eyes and eyebrows as Piglet, along with the large stitching detail at the seams. So I'm fairly confident that it is the Tigger puppet that goes with this set, which confirms that one was in fact made!!! Very awesome news!



If anyone has more info about these puppets please do contact me! I'd be glad to hear from you even if it is just to confirm that you have one of these puppets as they do seems to be rare...feel free to send a photo too, if you wish!

You can contact me at: info "at" artellepuppets.ca

Thank you in advance!

- Mike




 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ronnie Burkett at the NAC

On March 16th I attended Ronnie Burkett's opening night performance of Penny Plain at the NAC. This performance proves once again why Ronnie is so often referred to as a Master Puppeteer. Penny Plain is a wonderfully dark and dramatic performance with an all-new cast of beautiful, skilfully crafted marionettes. Every time I see one of Ronnie's shows I am left in awe, and Penny Plain is certainly no exception. Be sure to see it while you can. It is playing now at the NAC until April 1st. Tickets for the performance are very reasonably priced at $22 to $25. Also, be certain not to miss out on a very special and rare opportunity "Ronnie Burkett Unstrung" is a special benefit appearance by Ronnie at the NAC's Fourth Stage in support of the Puppets Up International Festival. Take a look at the nifty poster for the event below. Be sure to get your tickets before they are sold out!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Perseus and the Gorgon Medusa

Perseus, Son of Zeus by Artelle Puppets

Looking for a fun family event during the March Break? Artelle Puppets will be performing the popular story "Perseus and the Gorgon Medusa", from Greek Mythology, at four branches of the Ottawa Public Library.  Performances are 45 minutes each and are free for the public with pre-registration. Please see the schedule of locations and dates below. Hope to see you there.

To register, click here:
http://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/main/program?branch=255&type=All&audience=All&keyword=perseus

Monday March 12, 2012 at 2pm – Carlingwood branch
281 Woodroffe
Ottawa, K2A 3W4
613-725-2449

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 2pm – Ruth E. Dickinson branch
100 Malvern
Ottawa, K2J 2G5
613-580-2796 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 2pm – Alta Vista branch
2516 Alta Vista
Ottawa, K1V 7T1
613-737-2837

Friday, March 16, 2012 at 2pm – Sunnyside branch
1049 Bank
Ottawa, K1S 3W9
613-730-1082

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hey everyone, it's HR Pufnstuf!

Sing with me! "HR Pufnstuf, can't do a little 'cause you can't do enough"

As a new feature for my puppet blog I'm going to spotlight a new puppetry character collectable each month. So I thought the best choice for the first post would be the lovable and goofy looking HR Pufnstuf, the Mayor of Living Island.

Here is the action figure of Pufnstuf made by Living Toys in 2000 as part of the Krofft Superstars series. Below is the back view of the figure. This figure has eight points of articulation: neck, shoulders, wrists, legs and tail. It's a very well made action figure with a lot of detail. An excellent addition to a Pufnstuf or Krofft collection. Yep, Pufnstuf is one weird looking dude!

Created by Sid and Marty Krofft, the HR Pufnstuf TV show premiered in Sept 1969 and ran for 17 episodes. The shows were re-broadcast numerous times throughout the 1970s, gaining fans of all ages. However Pufnstuf wasn't the only star. Who can forget the awesome Billy Hayes as the comical villain Witchiepoo, and her bumbling henchmen Orson Vulture, Seymore and Stupid Bat! There's also Jimmy, performed by 16 year old Jack Wild who has a remarkable talent for dancing and singing. My favourite song from the TV series is "How Lucky I Am" from episode two. Jimmy's pal Freddy Flute and other puppet characters make the program that much more enjoyable. HR Pufnstuf is an imaginative TV series that I'll always enjoy.

Pufnstuf vs Kermit the Frog
Something that I find interesting about Pufnstuf, is that he has a pointed collar not unlike Kermit the Frog. So who was first to wear the pointed collar on TV? I suspect it was HR Pufnstuf. Since 1955, Kermit was simply a lizard without a collar. In 1968 he had been transformed into a frog for the production of "Hey Cinderella", however that TV special stayed in the can for a few years and did not air on television until 1970. Therefore, it seems likely that Kermit's first TV appearance as a frog, with the pointed collar, was for the first episode of Sesame Street in Nov 1969, more than a month after Pufnstuf made his TV debut in Sept 1969. However, it's also possible that Kermit made an appearance as a frog on the Ed Sullivan show in 1968 before his Sesame Street debut, and before Pufnstuf, though any footage I've seen from the Ed Sullivan program shows Kermit as the "lizard" who had not yet become a frog. In any case, I find it an interesting coincidence that similar green collars appeared on both of these characters around the same time in late 1969.


This is a great CD set for Krofft and Pufnstuf fans that was available in 2010. Sid and Marty Krofft's Saturday Morning Hits has a selection of episodes from several of the Krofft's best programs, including HR Pufnstuf, Bigfoot and Wildboy, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Lidsville, and several others. The complete series of HR Pufnstuf is also now available on DVD. Obsessed Krofft fans (like me!) would also be interested in the original Pufnstuf movie, that was released on DVD in 2011. Though it's interesting to watch for nostalgia sake, the movie is not as much fun as the TV series.  


Friday, January 20, 2012

Mikey's Muppet Memorabilia Museum

Ho Hi! I've been collecting Muppet Memorabilia for many years and have put some of the collection online. Take a look! http://mikeysmuppetmemorabiliamuseum.blogspot.com/