Monday, November 10, 2014

The Meeting of Artists

Some time ago I wrote about the relationship between the puppet maker and the ventriloquist.  If you didn't get a chance to see it, here is a link to the post about my friend Kirk Thatcher.
Kirk is a member of the notorious Bubonic Players and has become one of the most famous "monster makers" of our generation.  If you were a fan of Jim Henson's Creature Shop television show you will know Kirk from his duties as a judge on that show mentoring a new generation of monster makers.
For years the Bubonic Players would take over the Comedy and Magic Club to present an annual Halloween show.  It was produced and written by me and my partner/friend Harry Anderson, so it was a mash up between a scary ride through a haunted house and a comedy show.  We finally had to quit doing the show when our kids got old enough to go trick or treating.  For one year we actually tried to use them in the show.  They liked it but the reward of audience applause was not enough to come between kids and the yearly pursuit of candy.  The shows have now become part of Comedy and Magic Club history and are even more impressive in the retelling of fond memories. 
For several years the recurring star of the Halloween show was "Log Chainey" the psychopathic wooden killer.  Every year at Halloween Log, an inmate at the Home for the criminally insane, would escape.  His hatred for ventriloquists and magicians not to be contained.  He would seek out those performers to exact revenge.  This would, of course,  cause him to break into the Club while we were performing.  He always made his way for me first since he hates ventriloquists for their constant wood jokes.  He would take me hostage by grabbing me at the waist and dragging me on stage. Log Chainey is a 7 foot evil tree/man puppet created by Kirk Thatcher.  
I knew that I had pictures of Kirk and me with his creation.  They seemed to be lost in Halloween files past. However, yesterday while looking for a document I found them filed in the wrong place. Here are those pictures. 
I'm not sure how old Kirk is in this picture because he has always been a kid in my eyes. (an extremely talented, funny and creative kid).
It is a shame that no video exists of Log in action because the illusion is so much better in motion.  Log is actually a body puppet with a leg switch.  The green scrubs that Log wears (barely visible in these pictures) are actually my legs.  The legs in the tuxedo pants are fake.  It looks as if Log is dragging me along. It was an uncomfortable position to maintain so the routine was much longer than 7 minutes.  
I miss doing those shows very much. Particularly now that the kids are grown and there is nothing to keep us home on Halloween night any more. It was always a challenge to come up with a new show each year for the club.  Harry and I usually spent more money than we made, but the value we received from the creative challenge was priceless.  Nethernore, Long John LaFeat (another Thatcher creation) and Log Chainey were just a few of the characters that were created for the Bubonic Players Halloween show.  There is nothing more satisfying to an artist than the pursuit of expanding his art.  
So here is a shout out to Kirk a creative genius, Harry who is from an other planet and Mike Lacey,  the nicest person in the world to deal with and owner of the Comedy and Magic Club.
I paraphrase a line from the movie "Stand By Me" which asks, "are there ever any friends like the friends of your youth?"  Probably not but the joy and blessings from those youthful associations feed your soul for a long time after.   
I miss Log Chainey.  He is probably ready to perform again.... I'm just not sure my body can handle it again. But there are 11 more months till Halloween if I start limbering up now... who knows.
As you were,

1 comment:

P. Grecian said...

Must've been great fun! I like the casual "hand in pants pocket" in the second photo. It sells the illusion.