Sometime in the late 1980’s, the exact date escapes me, I was walking down Hollywood Blvd near Musso Frank’s, when I heard a cheerful voice hail me from inside a gorgeous white Rolls Royce. “Hello, Brother!” The mellifluous voice sang. Curious, I glanced in and saw the beaming face of Little Richard. He gestured for me to come closer, and, knowing darn well to never turn down an invite from that awesome King of Rock and Roll, I did. I blurted out the first thing that popped into my head which was “Why, Little Richard! Hello! What are you doing here?” “I am spreading the word of Jesus!” His Awesomeness proclaimed, and presented me with a bible. “I’d like you to have this. Now, you read the bible, don’t cha?” He asked, the “cha” arching up almost into his famous upper register shriek. I said I did and rattled off the first bible selection I could think of, which was some garbled version of Luke Chapter 2, inept enough to have made Linus Van Pelt throw his blanket over his head in disgust. Still, the King seemed delighted I had produced anything vaguely scriptural on request. “That’s right!” He exclaimed. “That’s where it all began!” We shook hands, Little Richard saying a fast prayer as we did, and he wished me blessings. I waved good bye and went off with my new bible. For half a block I was simply in stunned amazement at the bizarre but wonderful randomness that had just happened. Then I uttered the only thing I possibly could under the circumstances: “Well…Whomp-bomb-a-loo-momp-a-whomp-bam-boom!”
Thanks for the good book, Your Highness. Peace.
Howdy Doody’s old friend Paddle the Gnu starts his physical therapy under the skilled hands of master puppeteer Scott Land. Many thanks to Scott and Lisa Land for making this happen. Lisa shot the video, too!
More about Paddle the Gnu. When the marionette arrived he was not in terrible shape, but definitely in need of a cleaning, restringing and some expert craftsman TLC. As often happens, finding the right people to work on Paddle became one of those “I’ll get to it someday” tasks, and years went by before I gave it any serious thought. A couple weeks ago, as we now have loads of hobby time in quarantine, I decided to haul out Paddle and have a look at him. He had gotten a crack or two, and his strings had become so tangled I had no idea where or how to start to free him up again. As she often does, Misty Lee had the perfect solution. Her friends Lisa and Scott Land are two of the greatest marionette masters in the world. You’ve seen their artistry in such movies as “Team America: World Police”, “The Princess Diaries 2” and dozens of other movies and TV shows. You can see a small sample of their magic here: www.thepuppetman.com If you ever have a chance to see Scott perform with his creations live at the Magic Castle or in Las Vegas, by all means go. He’s wonderful. Misty contacted Lisa and Scott, briefed them on the Paddle situation, sent some photos and they very graciously agreed to get the old boy up and working again. They received Paddle yesterday, and under their care and expertise, he’s well on his way to looking good as “gnu.” Scott and Lisa sent the video below detailing their progress, and they have kindly allowed me to post it here. More updates about Paddle and his restoration to come soon.
Some years back I was lucky enough to purchase one of the original Howdy Doody show marionettes. This was not Howdy himself, or one of his notable co-stars like Flub-a-dub, but a later supporting critter named Paddle the Gnu. As very few of the Howdy episodes survive, I have not found any show footage of Paddle. There are a handful of publicity photos that feature him, one of which is posted here. As you can see he is an odd-looking ungulate, pretty much a gnu in name only. My hunch is he was originally built as a donkey as his operating control has the name “Candlewick” on it, which the name of the boy in the story of “Pinocchio” (renamed Lampwick in the Disney movie) who is turned into a jackass. The puppet’s creators were Rufus and Margo Rose, a famous puppeteering team, and one of their signature live marionette productions was in fact a version of “Pinocchio.” As the Roses also sculpted the other animal characters for Howdy, it makes sense they might recycle a few from old shows. I don’t know if that is precisely Paddle’s origin, given those few clues it seems logical.
Wednesday April 1st…The Adventures Continue.
That’s fun to write: 2020. 2020. 2020.
Okay, enough of that. I got monsters and superheroes to write.
For all inquiries regarding employment, Paul Dini is represented exclusively by:
New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.
110 west 40th Street, Suite 2201
New York, NY 10018
Please note that any written correspondence
for Paul Dini should be sent to:
c/o DC Entertainment
4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91522
Please do not send books, toys, artwork or any other items to sign.
Owing to strict legal reasons, any and all story material, including
premises, pitches or scripts must be destroyed unread.
As it says in my appearance schedule on this page, I will be doing no conventions or signings in the forseeable future.
So GOTHAM CITY SIRENS, a DC series I started and wrote with a number of other talented folks, has been collected into one nice, big volume. Now retitled
HARLEY QUINN AND THE GOTHAM CUTY SIRENS (Marketing, I suppose) it tells tales of Bat-Villains Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Catwoman gone semi-straight
and sharing a living space together.
It was a fun book and I’m glad to see it collected. Rather than write an actual introduction, the ladies said I might help them with a new
roommate ad writen in the spirit of the book. Naturally Harley had some changes…