I re-posted this from my own Puppatoons.com puppetry blog.
This is a photo of my late grandparents’ backyard. In the spring, it was a colorfest of azalea bushes. This photo is from the 1960s, I think,because that stump in the middle on which that kettle is sitting was almost disintegrated by the time I was born in 1971.
But you probably notice something odd. The white patch at upper left, indicating possibly an overexposure, has a little scribble in it. Look closer and it may take on a dinosaur or birdlike shape.
Flip this photo over and you will find a wild orgy of the brethren of the aforementioned creature.
I drew these things all over everything when I was small; no book, no piece of paper, and obviously not all photos were safe from my scribbling hands. I still have no idea what compelled me to scribble on a photo, though.
I think I even called them the Birdmen then. They had round heads, round bodies, bird legs and feet and what seemed like arms and hands.
One of these seems to have a hat, and I think another might be…pooping? The one at top right is in an awful hurry to get someplace.
I thought about what these beings might look like if I had started drawing them today:
I don’t know where the Birdmen came from in my brain, but they are kinda fun. I feel bad that they’ve obviously lost their ability to fly.
Thanks for reading about the Birdmen!
Clyde, my little dimetrodon pal, is here to help review a very beautiful children’s book that I spotted at Goodwill. It deals with a subject I was always fascinated about but never could quite remember the names of people involved and so it was always hard to look up.
Waterhouse Hawkins, a nineteenth-century artist, thrilled spectators in his native England and later New York City with his life-sized models of dinosaurs–the very first.
This is the infamous DRAGON that lurked behind the screens in the 1970s —- 1990s game show Tic Tac Dough.
One the show, after the main game, there was a bonus round of Tic-Tac-Toe on the gameboard called “Beat the Dragon”. This game started in 1978. The winning contestant from the previous game played the board on which the nine boxes were numbered 1-9. Behind all but one of the numbers were either amounts of cash, Os and Xs, or the word “WIN” . But in the shadows, behind the one remaining number, was the dragon.
The contestant kept playing until the dragon revealed itself behind that square they chose that covered it. Each square that was safe usually earned money, and the contestant could stop at any time and take their winnings, but of course most chose to keep playing, risking it all against the dragon. If the contestant chose the square with the dragon behind it, the dragon lunged at the screen with a “ROAR!”, the game was over, and all their money was “burned” and gone! But, winning the bonus round earned the contestant a cash prize of at least $1,000.
I fully confess to wanting people to pick the wrong square so I could see the dragon.
Back to our regularly scheduled program, literally; the online show I have thought of doing for years is finally going to get done. I am in a position now to have the time, the workspace and mindset to work on it, and it’s gonna happen. I’ve always wanted it to be a sort of “Beast of the Week” sort of show, in which we learn about a slew of mythological creatures and I build puppets of them to perform in their various roles in folktales and legends.
Wanting to start off with a bang, I am beginning with an old favorite, the Chimera. Translating this creature into puppet form, and into a puppet form that’s a bit different from how I usually work—-I usually go large with impressive monsters; this time I want to keep things small, because of materials, performance and later, storage issues—has its problems, but they’re good problems and fun to sort out. Translating a three-headed monstrosity into petite puppet form will be an entertaining challenge.
But first, it means I have to get to know my subject. In its various forms, the Chimera has two heads, three heads, even four, counting the snake that is sometimes its tail.
So after I scribble around with it a while I will start thinking about its transformation into fabric. Good times!