Nostalgic Toys - Marionettes

 Opening in 1967, the Bil Baird Marionette Theater at 59 Barrow Street in Greenwich Village presented plays for more than a decade. 

Opening in 1967, the Bil Baird Marionette Theater at 59 Barrow Street in Greenwich Village presented plays for more than a decade. 

Marionettes were used in performance theatre in Egypt as early as 2000 BC when string-operated figures of wood were manipulated to perform the action of kneading bread, and other string controlled objects. Wire controlled, articulated puppets made of clay and ivory have been found in Egyptian tombs. 

 Ancient Egyptian Marionettes

Ancient Egyptian Marionettes

With the rise in popularity of television and film, marionettes found a rise in popularity especially in children's programming. The story of Pinocchio and its Disney adaptation (Pinocchio), which was released in 1940, is a story about a marionette. In 1947, Howdy Doody introduced marionettes to children's television, with Howdy Doody (the main character) being a marionette, as well as some other characters.

 Popular Howdy Doody Marionette

Popular Howdy Doody Marionette

 Children of New York City watching a Marionette Show in the 1930's

Children of New York City watching a Marionette Show in the 1930's

One of the hidden treasures in Central Park is the Swedish Cottage MarionetteTheater.   For more information go here http://www.cityparksfoundation.org/arts/swedish-cottage-marionette-theatre/

The Swedish Cottage is home to one of the last public marionette companies in the United States. Puppeteers have worked there since 1947. The cottage was originally constructed as a model pre-fabricated schoolhouse, and became Sweden's entry in the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. After the exhibit, Park co-designer Frederick Law Olmsted chose the rustic building for Central Park. After a string of diverse uses, the nature study center for children and an entomological lab, for examples, the cottage became headquarters in 1939 for the Parks Department's Marionette Theater. The marionette company has long been known for its whimsical productions of classics like Peter Pan and Cinderella.

By Melanie Ann Mercado of M Ann M Creations

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