Saturday, July 08, 2017

Puppet Show, England

Today's "Anything Goes Saturday" images are undated, though my guess would be from around 1960, give or take a year or two - but they were labeled "Castle fete, England". England! Cheerio, guvna. Pip pip. What's all this then? Man, I talk good English. 

Anyway, both of these photos are fun, with crowds of entranced children (and a few adults) crowded around what appears to be a particularly large mattress. What could it be? 

I love the clothing and haircuts in this photo. One lad holds a toy bow and arrow - even kids in England loved Westerns at that time. 

Aha! A puppet show! Would today's phone-obsessed children even look at a puppet show? This one looks to be of the "Punch and Judy" type - plenty of beatings with a stick. Let's face it, there's nothing funnier than that. 

Pretty soon, they would all become entranced by rock and roll, especially when four lovable mop-tops came along. I'm talkin' Herman's Hermits. Things would never be the same!

I know this is not an original thought, but it is kind of sobering to think that all of these fresh-faced children are now in their 60's and 70's.  


Nanook said...


Around 1960 would also be my guess if I had to wager one. Before reading and then spying the view for myself, I kinda figured those children were watching a puppet show.

In the second Cinerama travelogue - Cinerama Holiday, 1955 - there's a scene featuring a Grand-Guignol puppet show in Paris, with some rather elaborate camera work, with shots showing both in front-of and behind, the "proscenium", along with the children's reactions. These images made me think of that scene immediately.

I see two bows & arrows among the 'audience members', and also a "Mr. Dippy"-? ice cream truck in the background.

Thanks, Major - jolly good show-!

K. Martinez said...

Ha, ha! You're crackin' me up with your accent, Major.

I was thinking the same thing about their ages today. The man in beige sweater and black tie holding his blond child must be about my dad's age and he's been gone awhile. People coming and going on the planet and here we have a moment of it captured in time. Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

That's a mighty small puppet theater there. And I certainly hope we wouldn't see such a violent show like "Punch and Judy" put on for children these days. Perhaps in a current version, they could just have the characters be forced to auction off their belongings? Or, they could put on a show that is completely P.C., like The Perils of Pamela!. "Good show, good show!" (Heckler in the audience: "I think it stinks!")

Pegleg Pete said...

Great photos, Major. Thanks! Punch & Judy shows are still staples of local fĂȘtes and, strangely enough, they remain pretty much the same today despite the shifts in sensibilities down the decades. North American visitors always seem quite shocked if they pause to watch the proceedings (especially the bit where Punch puts the baby through a meat grinder). Needless to say, children remain enthralled by the spectacle and heartily cheer on the pantomine violence. If I begin to feel judgemental myself, (as I grew up in the States, I lack the context of childhood memories of the shows) I am always reminded of Wile E. Coyote/Roadrunner cartoons and Marge Simpson's war on Itchy & Scratchy...

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, well the title of the post was “Puppet Show”, after all! ;-) I think the movie “Charade” (with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn) had a scene with a bunch of French children watching a puppet show, and it’s cute to see how happy and excited they are. Also, that’s Monsieur Dippy to you!

K. Martinez, I’m sort of the Johnny Depp of blog accents. Looking at old photos is sometimes a weird exercise - obviously I love viewing them, but it’s hard not to think about how so many of the people are long gone!

TokyoMagic!, I think that puppet shows should only be discussions of how to be a polite and responsible citizen. Some say that Charles Manson watched a lot of violent puppet shows, and look how HE turned out.

Pegleg Pete, grinding up babies is just good fun! As a kid, my brother and I loved monster and horror movies best of all; there were plenty of people killed by vampires, strangled by creatures, eaten by Gargantuas, etc. And yet I’d like to believe that I managed to grow up somewhat normal. Don’t all crazy people think they are normal?! Warner Bros. cartoons were the best! And still are.

Nanook said...


My mind is too simple to actually read the copy-! I go for the pictures straight-away.

Anonymous said...

Major, those kids with bow and arrow are just practicing up to re-enact the Battle of Crecy, or maybe Agincourt. There were plenty of Indians in both battles, what ho.

Cheers, Mates.