Worst/creepiest puppets/puppeteer work

SkyeFan

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One program ripped off the plot from that Arthur episode where Arthur got chicken pox and then DW pretends to get chicken pox to get attention. One puppet had put blue dots on her face with a marker (um, isn't chicken pox red?) then she (surprise!) got chicken pox anyway and "learned a lesson about lying". "B-but the marker won't wash off and I have TWICE as many spots now!" complained the puppet. The human host basically told her "well, that's what you get for doing that".

Now, here's the weirdest show they played of the bunch, which featured the blue and orange puppets, who are called Ralph and Elmer.

The half hour show had NO plot whatsoever. I've seen strung-together blocks of random Pinwheel cartoons that made more of a coherent plot than this. Mostly, it was just unfunny parodies of Christmas songs with random words thrown in. The blue puppet with the horizontal head, (Elmer) was performed by someone who just kept flapping the head and jaw around randomly and screeching like Ebenezer T. Squint after a Starbucks binge:

"On the twelfth day of Christmas, polar bears gave to me: Twelve polar bears! Eleven polar bears! Eight polar bears! Six polar bears! Ten polar bears! FIVE POLAR BEARS! Nine polar bears! Three polar bears! Two polar bears and ONE polar bear in a polar bear tree!!! HA HAAAA!!!!" A cheap greenscreened shot of polar bear footage appeared behind him. "I love polar bears because they're so...COOL! OK, let's sing again! EIGHT polar bears! SIX polar bears! TEN polar bears!..."

Now, if you think that was er, interesting, the orange puppet (Ralph) starred in a "commercial" four times during the show. It was a "commercial" that was trying to get the creators' puppet show off the ground by advertising "free" coloring sheets of the characters. The puppet popped in and out of frame against a black background. "Call now! You can get coloring sheets featuring ME and all my friends! IT'S FREE! Just call us! IT'S FREE!!!" The puppet said "IT'S FREE!" at least six times during the ad, which, like I said was repeated four times (probably to pad out the airtime they had). The puppet sounded like Mr. Poodlepants being performed by the squeaky-voiced teenager on the Simpsons.

Man, I wish I had a recording of this so I could post it and show all of you. If I find it, I promise I'll post it. It has to be seen to be believed.
I know EXACTLY what these two programs are! I've seen them myself on a local TV station several times years ago. It was a locally affiliated public access channel that played mostly religious programming, and during the week, these programs would be played in the late afternoon/early evening around 5:00pm.

I believe the first program you mentioned was this one called "Sonshine Day". Yes, that's how it was spelled, with "son" presumably referring to Christ, the "Son" of God. I originally thought the title was inspired by the classic Brady Kids song, "Sunshine Day". This show did have rather crude-looking puppets that looked either like ones purchased in a toy store or else just homemade (they had those googly eyes that you can find at any arts and crafts stores), as well as a (human) blonde-haired female host. The puppets all performed in front of what looked like a massive-sized doll house, and there was also a talking squirrel puppet that lived in a tree. I seem to remember an episode where this girl puppet with yellow yarn hair lied to either her brother, or else her friend, about stealing his jawbreaker candies. It had a lesson about lying and stealing. There were also live children on this show, as well.

Now, you've mentioned some strange show with these orange and blue puppets respectively named "Ralph" and "Elmer". You said this show needs to be seen in order for others to believe in it. Well, it just so happens that I have seen that EXACT program myself on the same local public access channel several times.

That particular show is called "K.I.C.K.S. Club". I'm not so sure what "K.I.C.K.S." is an acronym for, but I think the show's whole purpose was to encourage children to register for a membership of some Christian-themed organization. That's why there were these segments that appeared several times throughout the program involving Ralph (who I thought was supposed to be an orange Guy Smiley based off the shape of his head and his loud voice) popping up in the top right corner of a black screen displaying contact information for joining "K.I.C.K.S. Club" and purchasing some coloring pictures of the show's puppet characters. He would always open the commercial saying something like, "HEY! THIS IS RRR-ALPH! JOIN THE CLUB TODAY! KICKS CLUB!".

You are absolutely right about the program having no plot at all. From what few episodes I had seen, they would have footage of Elmer (the blue puppet whose head is shaped like Arnold from "Hey Arnold!") engaging in various activities without saying a word. One example I remember is of Elmer at a picnic table in an outdoor setting stacking up a pile of hamburgers (that's someone I wouldn't invite to a barbecue if THAT'S what he's going to do with his food). Another one was of Elmer pushing a wheelbarrow through a yard with the camera following him as some song played in the background with a voice keep singing "Who's that there?", and then we cut to Ralph shouting, "HEY ELMER! IT'S MEEEEE!". Weird and creepy. Wouldn't you agree? There was also a live woman on the show who would always have a small white terrier present. She would often be outdoors on location talking with Elmer. The dog, who I believe was named Zoe, would appear in some program identifications during each show, in a footage with the words "K.I.C.K.S." and "CLUB" bouncing on the screen to some upbeat sounding music. I don't seem to recall who the show's puppeteers were. I remember seeing the end credits, but I don't think they credited many names. A footage of Elmer from each episode would appear in the top left corner as that same upbeat "theme music" would play. Nevertheless, this was one of the STRANGEST programs I had ever seen on TV!
 
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Flaky Pudding

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Did Pinwheel ever have a creepy sketch about an anthropomorphic bed and mattress that would talk to each other behind a pitch black background? I recently heard about something like that online and according to what I've heard, the puppeteer work found within the sketch was rather creepy and unsettling.

Does this ring a bell for anyone? I would love to see that and find out if it really is disturbing or not.
 

Convincing John

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I know EXACTLY what these two programs are! I've seen them myself on a local TV station several times years ago. It was a locally affiliated public access channel that played mostly religious programming, and during the week, these programs would be played in the late afternoon/early evening around 5:00pm.

I believe the first program you mentioned was this one called "Sonshine Day". Yes, that's how it was spelled, with "son" presumably referring to Christ, the "Son" of God. I originally thought the title was inspired by the classic Brady Kids song, "Sunshine Day". This show did have rather crude-looking puppets that looked either like ones purchased in a toy store or else just homemade (they had those googly eyes that you can find at any arts and crafts stores), as well as a (human) blonde-haired female host. The puppets all performed in front of what looked like a massive-sized doll house, and there was also a talking squirrel puppet that lived in a tree. I seem to remember an episode where this girl puppet with yellow yarn hair lied to either her brother, or else her friend, about stealing his jawbreaker candies. It had a lesson about lying and stealing. There were also live children on this show, as well.

Now, you've mentioned some strange show with these orange and blue puppets respectively named "Ralph" and "Elmer". You said this show needs to be seen in order for others to believe in it. Well, it just so happens that I have seen that EXACT program myself on the same local public access channel several times.

That particular show is called "K.I.C.K.S. Club". I'm not so sure what "K.I.C.K.S." is an acronym for, but I think the show's whole purpose was to encourage children to register for a membership of some Christian-themed organization. That's why there were these segments that appeared several times throughout the program involving Ralph (who I thought was supposed to be an orange Guy Smiley based off the shape of his head and his loud voice) popping up in the top right corner of a black screen displaying contact information for joining "K.I.C.K.S. Club" and purchasing some coloring pictures of the show's puppet characters. He would always open the commercial saying something like, "HEY! THIS IS RRR-ALPH! JOIN THE CLUB TODAY! KICKS CLUB!".

You are absolutely right about the program having no plot at all. From what few episodes I had seen, they would have footage of Elmer (the blue puppet whose head is shaped like Arnold from "Hey Arnold!") engaging in various activities without saying a word. One example I remember is of Elmer at a picnic table in an outdoor setting stacking up a pile of hamburgers (that's someone I wouldn't invite to a barbecue if THAT'S what he's going to do with his food). Another one was of Elmer pushing a wheelbarrow through a yard with the camera following him as some song played in the background with a voice keep singing "Who's that there?", and then we cut to Ralph shouting, "HEY ELMER! IT'S MEEEEE!". Weird and creepy. Wouldn't you agree? There was also a live woman on the show who would always have a small white terrier present. She would often be outdoors on location talking with Elmer. The dog, who I believe was named Zoe, would appear in some program identifications during each show, in a footage with the words "K.I.C.K.S." and "CLUB" bouncing on the screen to some upbeat sounding music. I don't seem to recall who the show's puppeteers were. I remember seeing the end credits, but I don't think they credited many names. A footage of Elmer from each episode would appear in the top left corner as that same upbeat "theme music" would play. Nevertheless, this was one of the STRANGEST programs I had ever seen on TV!
THANK YOU!!! I know it's been ages since I've posted here, but wow...I thought it was one of those things you only see on TV once in a lifetime and no one else ever knows about it. Thanks again!
 

Convincing John

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Did Pinwheel ever have a creepy sketch about an anthropomorphic bed and mattress that would talk to each other behind a pitch black background? I recently heard about something like that online and according to what I've heard, the puppeteer work found within the sketch was rather creepy and unsettling.

Does this ring a bell for anyone? I would love to see that and find out if it really is disturbing or not.
Yes, and a few other folks remembered it on IMDB when they had comments sections.

Anyway, the characters were a blob-like, yellow pillow with a face like the McDonald's Chicken McNugget puppets, but with a bulb-like nose. The other one was some kind of a spring/tube pinkish character with no arms, just a head like the character "Up-Up" from Romper Room. The character had vague bunny ears for some reason. They were in a crib, I think. The characters were named Poofy and Foofy (or something like that). There was a simple theme song that went something like this:

"Her name is Poofy!
His name is Foofy!
We're friends forever!!!"

It was weird from what I remember. I know it was on Pinwheel on Nickelodeon.
 

SkyeFan

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Convincing John said: THANK YOU!!! I know it's been ages since I've posted here, but wow...I thought it was one of those things you only see on TV once in a lifetime and no one else ever knows about it. Thanks again!
I apologize for not having responded yet. I just haven't been on here for a while. I'm very glad I was able to help you with identifying these obscure shows. Once I came across your comment specifically describing those two programs, I was able to identify them right away! As I had stated, I've seen these programs SEVERAL times on some local affiliated station years ago.

Other programs aired on that very channel were -
- "New Zoo Review" - This was an odd program that probably WOULD HAVE looked much better if it were at least a Kroft Production. If only the hippo, owl, and frog were of varying heights, though, instead of full bodied costume puppets, it would have looked more appealing. This is a program which you had also mentioned seeing that Christmas Day among those other "obscure" shows.
- "Davey and Goliath" - From my perspective, this show is arguably MUCH more professional-looking compared to those other puppet shows, only with the exception of much of the first season where the stop-motion animation is VERY rough.
- "The Gospel Bill Show"/"The Adventures in Dry Gulch" - This was a Christian-themed program that was formatted like classic TV Westerns ("Gunsmoke", "Bonanza", "The Virginian", "The Rifleman", "Wagon Train", etc.) with live actors engaging in dramatic situations out West with typical Christian/Biblical morals and lessons within. There were short skits in between with a puppet named "Oogene" (who had been brought up here thus far) with his sister Jeannie, as well as other puppets representing people of "The Bible" interpreting various Scripture stories. Oogene would also be in segments at the first break where he'd be on location at either a zoo or else a farm giving facts on animals and somehow tying it in with Biblical teachings. This show looked average - cheesy, yet rather professional. Much better than "New Zoo Revue". Only one thing about this show that could have been improved - the puppets, like Oogene, for instance, could've been better in design. They looked more like they were just randomly purchased at some toy store!

I still don't know what that other show was with the greedy kid meeting a poor woman on Christmas, though. I was almost beginning to think it was one called "Kids Like You", which I believe was also on that channel, as well as the Trinity Broadcasting Network.
 
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D'Snowth

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- "New Zoo Review" - This was an odd program that probably WOULD HAVE looked much better if it were at least a Kroft Production.
Interestingly enough, I've noticed in watching some of the closing credits from this show that there were but a few people who worked on that show who ended up working for the Kroffts later on.
 

SkyeFan

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Does anyone recall a puppet seen on PBS in between programs named "Dr. Tick Tock"?

He's appeared in a series of 60 second segments known as "Tick Tock Minutes". The goal of these segments was to teach various subjects through song such as safety, nutrition, drug awareness, recycling, exercise, etc. The puppet had dark orangish-colored skin, white wooly-like balding hair, moustache, and "moving" eyebrows, wore wire framed glasses and a white doctor's coat with a gold pocketwatch on a chain (the latter was sort of a symbolic ensignia for this series of segments). He was performed by Muppet performer Michael Earl, and these segments were produced by the Mississippi public television station around 1994. This character wasn't a crudely built puppet at all, execpt a friend of mine remembers seeing him several times on PBS, and claims that he was one of the scariest and ugliest looking puppets he's ever seen. I don't know why. Maybe because he looks a little too realistic. I disagree with my friend, since I've never found Dr. Tick Tock as being scary or ugly looking (there are far worse looking puppets out there, believe me), but when you compare him to, say, "The Puzzle Place" characters, who all have a rather child-friendly, and near Muppet-like look to them, he is kind of odd-looking in a way.

Incidentally, wasn't there another series of "filler in" PBS segments involving what I believe were varied breeds of puppet canines in a rock band performing in a theater auditorium? I'm not so sure if these were also produced by the Mississippi PBS affiliate, as well. I also seem to recall behind them there was some form of animation (chroma-keyed) illustrating the song they were performing.
 
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