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Sunday, December 7, 2008


BURR TILLSTROM. Born October 13, 1917 creator of the puppets Kukla, 1936; Ollie, managed the puppet exhibits and marionette theater at Marshall Field and Company in Chicago, 1938; In 1939 he presented his Kuklapolitans to the NY Worlds Fair, where he exhibited the new media Television, Burt opened the door to the Puppeteers who wouldn't have had an opportunity if not for him, such as Jim Henson,Paul Winchell, Shari Lewis. Burt went on to bigger fame when he produced his own show with his Kuklapolitans which went national. During WW2 he performed with the USO as well as local hospitals and Red Cross. After meeting with Fran Allison and promissing her a 13 week gig, it turned in to 10 years. Burr was the voice of all he created which was all the puppets on his show. They were Kukla, Ollie, Beulah, Cecil Bill as well as 11 others. 1948-52 when it was picked up by NBC. In 1954 it was moved to ABC for 3 years. Has a broadway run in 1960. Made some appearances in1964-5 ' on That Was The Week That Was', In 1969 the show was brought back to life for PBS. He then hosted a CBS Children's Film Festival in the 1970s; appeared on NBC series That Was the Week that Was, 1964-65. Recipient: more than fifty entertainment awards, including five Emmys. Burr Tillstrom died in Palm Springs, California, on Dec 6th 1985. His awards for the work he performed was numerous an Emmy, a Peabody Award, nominated for a grammy, after his passing he was inducted into the Radio and Television HOF.
Thank you for posting that bit about Burr and his Kuklapolitans on your blog today. I was lucky enough to have grown up in a time when puppeteers and vents were all over television. Some like Burr are almost forgotten today. Anyone wishing to know more about Burr and his creations should visit the Unofficial Kuklapolitan Website I also have a MySpace page devoted to Burr, Fran and the Kuklapolitans.Take care,Leslie Evans,Lawrence, KS USA

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