So who is John Arnold? I’m a father, husband, puppet fan and builder, and IT guy.
I grew up during a time where puppets, thanks in large part to Jim Henson, were very popular. I used to love a variety of programs that had various examples of different levels of puppetry. On the television we had Sesame Street, the Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, New Zoo Revue, Great Space Coaster, and various shows from Sid and Marty Kroft. Of those shows the Muppets had the largest impact. This was also a time where Jim Henson was able to bring puppets to the movies too. Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, and the various muppet movies also made a big impression on my childhood. This was a time where puppets where fully realized believable characters, and in this golden age of puppets, I was a little kid who watched this and loved it.
I also was lucky I had parents that helped foster my imagination. I love making voices, and was given as presents fun puppets that had great character. I don’t recall the company that made them, but they had names like Super Turtle who lost his cape and was renamed Tired Timmy Turtle, and Littlefoot (son of Bigfoot). The greatest addition to my collection had to be my John puppet (pictured here).
John was named for me (not terribly creative, but I was six or eight years old). John and I both have brown hair so he was a mini me. I believe he was a “Children Puppets” which later became “Little People” from Puppet Productions (1970-2009) characters now owned by Frontier Creations™ aka Puppetsinc.com. He was a well-made green terry cloth puppet with brown hair, and snap on clear acrylic arm rods. He came with black t-shirt with horizontal stripes, but after many years was changed out for the shirt he’s wearing now, and at some point his eyes were redone in felt by my mom. I believe he was purchased from the San Marino Toy & Book Shoppe where most of my other puppets came from, but he may have come from Bullocks or Broadway department store. I also got a pupptry book at this time which had basics of puppetry and images from other Puppet Productions series.
With these and other basic puppets, my brother and I would host our own version of the Muppet Show in the doorway to my bedroom. Using a dry erase board or something else across the doorway, we had the Happy Face, Sad Face puppet theater. It was our childhood/preadolescence version of the comedy/tragedy masks. Hosted by Tired Timmy turtle my own Kermit like host, my bother and I would have shows for ourselves and friends.
In my teenage years I would acquire a new puppet from Puppet Productions, an old man, and a Eden Toys Kermit puppet. However I didn’t do much with puppetry and spent time working with computers, multimeda, and the internet. I’ve dabbled in web design, building websites, working in 3d graphics and animation, video production, and web applications.
2005 I began visiting great sites like Muppet Central, Swazzle and Patrick Johnson’s blog, Andrew Young’s PuppetVision, and Puppeteers Unite. During a vacation from work I finally built my own puppet using patterns from Project Puppet, and I was hooked.
Now I’m a lurker and contributor on a variety of sites and forums, and I’m getting to know many of the artist an other’s I’ve admired for a while. In addition to twitter, facebook, and tumblr, I have another website that is focused on my builds.
Thanks for stoping by and taking the time, and I hope to provide more content we can all enjoy.
John W. Arnold