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COMMUNICATION: Media, Arts, & Society | December 6, 1996



A Letter to Fox After Breakfast

Thank you for the many hours of entertainment and information your company has brought into our home! I am, however, distressed by the prospect of losing our beloved friend Bob, one of the wittiest "personalities" on TV today -- human or otherwise.

All too often dismissed as "kiddee fare" (a considerable market in itself), puppets have been stars and star-makers on American television since its inception. Where would Kukla be without Fran and Ollie? Buffalo Bob without Howdy Doody? Ed Sullivan without Topo Gigio? Sheri Lewis without Lamb Chop? Kermit without Miss Piggy?!

Moreover, if the folks who write the Encyclopędia Britannica know anything -- and they know a lot -- then the appeal of puppetry is something to be reckoned with. In their words:

"Puppet shows seem to have existed in almost all civilizations and in almost all periods...puppet theatre...represents one of the most primitive instincts of the human race...

"The claim has, indeed, been made that puppet theatre is the most ancient form of theatre...the appeal of the puppet even for modern audiences lies nearer a primitive sense of magic than most spectators realize [hence, the unreliability of polls]...

"The spectators must no longer be mere spectators; they must bring their sympathetic imagination to bear and project upon the impersonal mask of the player the emotions of the drama. Spectators at a puppet show will often swear that they saw the expression of a puppet change. They saw nothing of the kind; but they were so wrapped up in the passion of the piece that their imaginations lent to the puppets their own fears and laughter and tears. The union between the actor and the audience is the very heart and soul of the theatre, and this union is possible in a special way, indeed in a specially heightened way, when the actor is a puppet.

"...the puppet only justifies itself when it adds something to nature -- by selection, by elimination, or by caricature. Some of the most effective puppets are the crudest..."

Which leads me to ask: Who could be a more beloved side-kick -- for your cast and guests as well as for the entire family at home -- than that ol' wart-laden sock, Bob?

Please, "Save Our Bob"!

I believe my letter was prompted by an on-air plea by the cast for an "S.O.B." campaign.

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