by Bernard Paul
(based on a Paul's Puppets brochure - circa 1970)
OVER three decades ago, Paul's Puppets made their first
professional appearance, and since that debut at The Maryland
Institute of Art they have entertained old and young in some of the most
incongruous settings imaginable: at shopping centers, in a
backwoods church, aboard a Navy destroyer, in the Ballroom
of the White House, at "hard sell" conventions, under the hot
Klieg lights of TV.
They have helped to sell everything from department store
merchandise to public utility service, from ideas to the
personality of a politician. They have appeared in opera at the
Peabody Conservatory of Music and in Shakespeare with the
Vagabond Players. They have a repertoire that ranges from TV
commericals to fairy tales to classics to Bible stories.
Paul's Puppets were born in the imagination of Bernard Paul,
then an instructor in stagecraft and dramatics at the Maryland
Institute of Art. Adept at every facet of puppetry except making
costumes, Mr. Paul called upon the skills of another imaginative
faculty member, Edith Rogers, who taught Stage Costume.
Their "working together" grew into marriage, and to this day,
Edith Paul is the right arm of Paul's Puppets.
At first Mr. Paul looked upon puppetry simply as a highly
flexible and very amusing media of entertainment. But so
enthralled were the audiences that he soon realized that the
puppets could be a potent selling force - of merchandise, of
services, of ideas.
Because he and his wife do all the writing, designing,
costuming, painting, acting-even making the puppets
themselves - they were ideally equipped to pioneer a new
field: original advertising commercials, skits, and plays
presented by puppets. So effective has this advertising been
that one client, Hutzler Bros., Baltimore's largest department
store, has used Paul's Puppets for over 10 consecutive years.
Today, the Pauls divide their time almost equally between
puppetry as entertainment and puppetry as an advertising
Naturally, over 30 years in this one field have brought the
Pauls a number of "firsts." Paul's Puppets were the first
marionette company to give a command performance in the
Ballroom of the White House for the President of the United
States and his family. They may have been the first puppets to
appear on television, making their bow on an expert mental
station in November, 1931. They probably are the first puppets
ever used by psychiatrists as a possible release for patients
suffering from depression.
The Pauls' creations originate in a large, elaborately equipped
work shop studio in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. Every new
job starts with thorough research into fashions, habits, and
ways of living during the period of the projected drama. If the
project calls for new marionettes, they are designed, modeled,
sanded, and painted with meticulous care and attention to
detail. The scenery is designed and built - first in mini-attire,
then in actual size. At the drawing board Mrs. Paul designs the
costumes which she later "runs up" on her sewing machine-
each an authentic miniature or an imaginative creation, as the
When not working with their hands, the Pauls are busy
whipping the dialogue into shape and planning eyery
movement, every action of the puppets. Then - with puppets,
props, and dialogue - they hold countless dress rehearsals to
make sure that the performance will be letter perfect.
Finally the show is ready for the road. Puppets, props,
scenery, stage, special lighting equipment, a high-fi sound
system, and all the other trimmings are loaded into a station
wagon. At the site of the show, it usually takes the Pauls about
two hours to set up for the performance and another hour to
reload the station wagon for home . . . or their next stand.
With over 30 years of experience in the entertainment field -
and with their innate love for and practice of precision
craftsmanship - the Pauls are able to offer the ultimate in
marionette performances - Paul's Puppets.
Paul's Puppets Posters
(Click on image for larger view)
This information is not to be re-used for commercial purposes
Copyright © 2005 Ron Evans