Saturday, March 23, 2013

At the Music Hall: Goodbye Dolly Gray, 1898

I have come to say goodbye, Dolly Gray,
It's no use to ask me why, Dolly Gray,
There's a murmur in the air, you can hear it everywhere,
It's the time to do and dare, Dolly Gray.

So if you hear the sound of feet, Dolly Gray,
Sounding through the village street, Dolly Gray,
It's the tramp of soldiers' true in their uniforms so blue,
I must say goodbye to you, Dolly Gray.

Goodbye Dolly I must leave you, though it breaks my heart to go,
Something tells me I am needed at the front to fight the foe,
See - the boys in blue are marching and I can no longer stay,
Hark - I hear the bugle calling, goodbye Dolly Gray.

Written by Will D. Cobb (lyrics) and Paul Barnes (music), this sentimental ballad became popular in the U.S. in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. Later, it became a favorite in England in 1900 during the Boer War.

A favorite of Sir Noel Coward, the song was used in his stage play, Cavalcadeand has, since, been featured on the sound tracks of many films. Enjoy this rendition by Music Hall Queen, Florrie Forde.

Mastery of Design: The Princess Charlotte Pendant, 1817

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Had Princess Charlotte lived, the Royal Family and the history of the world would have been entirely different. Charlotte was the only daughter of the Prince of Wales (later King George IV) and Caroline of Brunswick, and the granddaughter of King George III. Upon the death of George IV, Caroline would have been Queen of England. She married the ambitious Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. If that name sounds familiar, it’s with good reason. Leopold was the uncle of Queen Victoria (on her mother’s side) who orchestrated the marriage of Victoria to his nephew (and, therefore, her cousin), Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Leopold, who had aspired to be Prince Consort to Charlotte’s Queen (and, he presumed, acting King), wasn’t going to give up when his chances were dashed. He wanted to ensure that Coburg blood remained in the Royal Family. And, so he did.

The handsome Leopold and the rather plain Charlotte’s marriage produced a pregnancy. Many advisors were gathered as the princess was about to give birth. But, it went wrong. Mistakes were made and both Princess and child died in a grisly scene of blood. And, so went the line of accession. George IV had no more children (legitimately). Who did that leave to succeed him? His brother, William IV. And after that? His niece—Victoria.

The nation mourned the passing of Princess Charlotte. Prince Leopold mourned his lost chances more than his bride. He went on to become King of the Belgians—nice, but not what he’d hoped for. And, so, he groomed his nephew to achieve what he had set out to do.

This necklace of gold with enamel, diamonds, rock crystal and hair under glass commemorated the death of Princess Charlotte. The hair—three locks from Charlotte’s head--is curled in the form of the Prince of Wales’s feathers. These are mounted in an urn shaped pendant below a miniature portrait of Princess Charlotte. On the reverse of the pendant, the Royal arms are presented in enamel and inscribed PC/ 1817.

The miniature is the work of Charlotte Jones who was appointed miniature painter to the Princess, and exhibited portraits of her at the Royal Academy in 1808, 1812, 1816 and 1819.

Antique Image of the Day: Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and her Daughters, 1941

HM Queen Elizabeth with
Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose
Marcus Adams, 1941
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty
Queen ELizabeth II

In 1941, Marcus Adams enjoyed his last sitting with Princesses Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret Rose. Adams, celebrated for his photographs of noble children, had a strict rule that he would never have a sitter (except for the child’s parents) over the age of sixteen. At this point, Princess Elizabeth was fourteen.

The two princesses are photographed here with their mother, Queen Elizabeth (later known as The Queen Mother). The affection the three share is readily evident. What I also find fascinating is that the current Queen, has not changed too much since her fourteenth year.

Unusual Artifacts: Queen Charlotte’s Gaming Counters, 1780

A miniature on Ivory set with pearls
showing Queen Charlotte in an ideal
light.  She was widely described as
"Not a great beauty."
The Royal Collection
Queen Charlotte didn’t have what one would call the happiest of lives. As a young bride, her husband, King George III, as well as the rest of the Royal Household was very much under the often irrational control of the Dowager Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, her mother-in-law. The King’s mother insisted that English ladies not speak directly to the German-born princess-turned-consort unless she was accompanied by one of her German handlers. It really was all quite a kerfuffle. So much of a kerfuffle, in fact, that Queen Charlotte—for a spell—had a home of her own, Buckingham House (known as “The Queen’s House”) which, as we know, grew into Buckingham Palace.

And, yet, despite these complications, Charlotte and George got along well enough to have fifteen children together (thirteen of whom survived to adulthood). Charlotte tried to remain cheerful and pursued the things which interested her—botany, music, making sure women were educated, and card games…lots and lots of card games. What else is a Queen to do when she’s stuck in one room for hours at a time while her husband goes increasingly mad? Besides, it seems she was almost constantly pregnant, so cards were a nice way to pass the time.

Gaming Counters with the Cipher of Queen Charlotte
Chinese, 1780
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty
Queen EIizabeth II
Queen Charlotte’s favorite games were “Whisk” and “Commerce.” She was known to spend hours at a time at these games. In 1780, she was presented with an elaborate gaming set which included these Chinese, mother-of-pearl gaming counters which were engraved with her cipher. Well-worn, it’s obvious that the Queen used these counters frequently.

After her death, her son sold all of her belongings (except her jewels) at an 1819 auction. Among the items sold, were these mother-of-pearl counters. Now, it’s difficult to say how they’ve come back to the Royal Collection. Some believe that they were purchased in 1819 by the Duke of Sussex who consequently auctioned them off again in 1845. Where they were after that, I’m not sure. However, I would guess that Mary of Teck picked these up sometime in the early Twentieth Century—as one does.

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 288

Chapter 288 

How is our bloody Madonna?” Ulrika asked as Giovanni returned to the front parlor. "Oh!  I love the way that sounds..."

“She sleeps now.” Giovanni answered.

“It’s only fitting, I suppose.” Ulrika smiled, carelessly playing with Orpha’s severed hand which she held upon her lap on a silken cloth. “With Marduk having three hands, they even one another out, really.”

“Not a word of pain from her when I applied the bandages.” Giovanni shrugged, sitting down next to Ulrika. “Quite a strong woman.”

“You don’t prefer her to me, do you?”

“No, my beautiful beast.” Giovanni smiled.

“Oh, darling, really.” Ulrika grinned. She held up the hand. “Can you do something with this? It seems a shame to just toss it out.”

“It won’t keep.” Giovanni shrugged.

“Well, darling, you are a sculptor in addition to your myriad other skills. Can’t you bronze it or something?”

“Not well.” Giovanni answered plainly. “This I have tried before.”

“Really?” Ulrika asked. “With what?”

“Eh…things. Never looks right.” Giovanni replied vaguely.

“What a shame.” Ulrika sighed. “Darling, couldn’t you use it as a model? I’d love to see you make her a new hand. Oh…of ivory! Wouldn’t that be delicious?”

“What good is that?” Giovanni asked. “She could not use it.”

“But, really…if we fastened it to her, she wouldn’t look so lopsided.”

“I see.” Giovanni nodded. “This I can do.”

“Lovely!” Ulrika cooed. “I wonder from where I can order the ivory…”

“I’ll find it. Do not worry.”

“You think of everything, Darling.”

“Now, put that away before you spoil your gown.”

“I love when you’re commanding.” Ulrika grinned. “Where should I put it?”

“In the larder where it is cool.”

“Oh.” Ulrika pouted. “I was going to let the baby play with it.”

“Perhaps for awhile.” Giovanni nodded. “When we return.”

“Return?” Ulrika raised her eyebrows. “Where are we going? Really, darling, do you have something planned?”

“I do.” Giovanni nodded.

“Do tell.”

“We go to see the Duke of Fallbridge.”

“Again?” Ulrika sniffed. “I’ve had enough of those mandrakes for the day. They bore me.”

“They bore me, yes.” Giovanni nodded. “But, they must answer for the actions of their men.”

“One of those men is your brother, darling.”

“He was. He is no longer.” Giovanni spat.

“Oh, really?” Ulrika moaned. “I love these sorts of squabbles. Still, darling, what would you have us do? Go there and threaten to call the authorities? I think they’ve more to tell the…what do they call it here...the beadle about us than we have about them.”

“No, no.” Giovanni squinted. “We go and tell them that we expect law like the bible. They took a hand. We expect a hand. It is Gospel.”

“The one part of that dusty book of fairytales which I intend to see remains when the new order takes our rightful place. It’s too delectable to not keep! Are we going to take the Duke’s hand?” Ulrika’s eyes widened with excitement.

“Not exactly.”

“What, then? Really, you know I can’t stand vagueness, darling.”

“We take the messiah to see the Duke and say that the child has lost their mother’s…full…”


“As you say, yes. We need, then, a maid to help. Is only fair. The Madonna with one hand…she cannot care for Marduk so well just now. We need help.”

“Darling, I can hire a nursery maid without the aid of the Duke of Fallbridge.”

“For Marduk? Tell me who would stay.”

“True…” Ulrika sighed. “Still, I can look after them. He likes me so much.”

“No, no. We must have a maid.” Giovanni smiled.

“You know the puppet Duke is not just going to hand…oh, ha, how delicious…over one of his precious servants. He dotes on them as if they’re his own kin. Why that African that they brought from America is as close to the two fancy men as if she was their own sister.”

“What do I want with an African woman?” Giovanni snapped. “I want the girl.”


“Who else?”

“Ohhhh…you want them to give Fern back to us. You’re so wise, Darling. What better way to train her to be Marduk’s bride than to have her look after her future husband…husbands? Whichever.”


“He won’t do it.” Ulrika shook her head. “You know how he is.”

“He will do it.” Giovanni grinned.

“You said we’ll bring Marduk?”


“It is true. How could anyone look into his four eyes and deny him anything?” Ulrika moaned with joy. “But, really, what am I saying? Even with Marduk’s charms at work, the Duke will deny the request.”

“If he does, then, we will take a hand.”

“Vague, again, really…”

“We will insist that the blond servant gives up one of his. The one my brother thinks is a better brother to him than I.”

“Ohhhhhh…scrumptious!” Ulrika cackled. “Utterly delicious. Darling, you are a joy.” She rose, wrapping the hand in the cloth. “Let’s do bring this with us. As a demonstration! Delightful! But, oh…we shouldn’t leave Orpha all alone.”

“Why not? She sleeps.”

“If she wakes in pain…well, really, I’d hate to miss it.”

“We shan’t be long.” Giovanni shrugged.

“Very well.” Ulrika squealed. “I’ll go ready the little messiah. Oh, this is too, too glorious! I feel as if I’m at a banquet and I just don’t know where to start.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-287 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back on Monday for Chapter 289.

Painting of the Day: Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, 1938

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
The Royal Collection
This handsome portrait of Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother) was painted between 1938 and 1945. It is the work of Sir Gerald Kelly who was initially commissioned to paint the state portraits of George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1938.
Kelly was nearly finished by the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. The two paintings were relocated during the war from his studio in London to Windsor Castle where Kelly spent the next five years slowly completing his commission. Kelly remained at Windsor Castle during the war and was kept company by the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose who were sent to the safety of castle for the duration of the war while their parents remained at Buckingham Palace.

Here, we see Queen Elizabeth wearing her coronation robes and regalia. According the the curators of the Royal Collection, Kelly enjoyed his sittings with the Queen and said of her, “It is hard to suggest the admiration and affection which grew all around her. From wherever one looked at her, she looked nice: her face, her voice, her smile, her skin, her colouring - everything was right.”

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: Bonbonnière with a view of Balmoral Castle, 1907

 Bonbonnière of gold, enamel and Diamonds
Henrik Emanuel Wigström, 1907
Showing the "Balmoral Side"
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Fabergé's brilliant workmaster Henrik Emanuel Wigström (1862-1923) created this bonbonnière of gold, enamel and rose-cut diamonds in 1907. With its lovely views of Balmoral and Windsor Castles, the wee candy box was destined to be a part of the Royal Collection, and, naturally, that’s where it ended up.

The bonbonnière was purchased by Sir Ernest Cassel from Fabergé's London branch, on November 4, 1907 for £81 5s. Sir Ernest presented the box to his friend Sir Philip Sassoon who held onto it for quite some time.

Now, it would be very easy to suggest that Queen Mary spied the box in Sassoon’s collection and suggested in her particular way that the object really should, since it does depict Balmoral and Windsor, belong in the Royal Collection. It would be easy to do so because it’s true. Sassoon’s records indicate that as early as 1908, the Princess of Wales (after 1910, Queen Mary) admired the object, noting that it was the first work by Wigström that she’d ever seen depicting one of the Royal residences. She kept at it for decades, I would guess though I have no proof of it. 

Nevertheless, we do know for certain that Sir Philip presented the bonbonnière to Queen Mary for her birthday on May 26, 1934. No doubt, Her Majesty was quite pleased. Queen Mary displayed the bonbonnière with great pride and marveled at its enameled views of Balmoral Castle on one side and Windsor Castle on the other as well as the edge of the box which is set with enameled roses and leaves interspersed with diamond-set crosses.

The Windsor Castle side
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Russian Zigzag Bracelet, c. 1860-1895

Bracelet of Rubies and Diamonds set in Gold
Russia, 1860-1895
The Victoria & Albert Museum

In the mid Nineteenth Century, the bracelet was one of the most important pieces of jewelry in a woman’s sparkly arsenal.  They were worn stacked high on the arms—bracelets, not women.  

As the V&A points out, “The French connoisseur Edmond Joly de Bammeville declared that the ‘daytime’ bracelet was the ‘main feature of national dress’ in England. Up to seven or eight of differing design might be worn between the wrist and elbow on both arms. Alternatively, they could be worn in pairs and even over gloves.”

Here’s a pretty nifty example of the trend.
  This bracelet of an interlocking zigzag design of alternating diamonds and rubies is set in a gold framework.  It was made in Russia between 1860 and 1895  by an unknown jeweler and is, simply put, quite stunning.

This was the sort of bracelet favored by the then-future Queens Alexandra and Mary, at the time, respectively Princess of Wales and Duchess of York.  Queen Mary would have, I think, especially liked this piece.  

Mr. Punch's Puzzles: The Riddle of the Week

Once, again, Mr. Punch, with my help, is offering up a true Victorian riddle.  The first person to answer correctly--by posting in the comments--will receive public congratulations.  Some week, I may offer a nifty prize from our online store.  But, this week, again, I don't feel like it.

So, here's this week's riddle.  We ask that you don't Google the answer.  Mr. Punch would not find that sporting at all.  Give it a shot and see what you can come up with.  Here we go... No cheating...

I am the beginning of sorrow, 
and the end of sickness. 
You cannot express happiness without me, 
yet I am in the midst of crosses. 
I am always in risk, yet never in danger. 
You may find me in the sun, 
but I am never out of darkness.

And, the answer is...

The letter "S."  

This was a difficult one.  I think we had a lot of very clever answers tonight ranging from "Richard Simmons" to "the human face."  So, I leave you with this image from "The Simpsons" of one of Mr. Burn's most diabolical creations...

Robot Richard Simmons.  That's not the way to do it.  Come back next Friday for another of Mr. Punch's Puzzles.

Mr. Punch wants you to always know “the way to do it,” so why not check out our “That’s the way to do it!” products which are available only at our online store.  

Drawing of the Day: A Young Professor, Nineteenth Century

Chromolithograph after an unknown artist
Nineteenth Century
The George Speaight Archive at
The Victoria & Albert Museum

I very much like this Nineteenth Century print of a beautiful drawing of a budding Punch professor. A young boy with a puppet booth carries a drum on his back. In front of him he walks his puppet, a marionette figure of Mr. Punch.

What’s interesting about this is that by the Nineteenth Century, most Punchinellos were glove puppets which were performed in the Victorian style fit-up which first comes to mind when we think of Punch & Judy. In fact, marionette Punch and Judy shows were a century out of vogue in the U.K. So, this was a sort of nod to the antique and that makes it all the more charming.

Of course, this is from the George Speaight Archive at the V&A.

The reverse shows a page from an album.

Friday Fun: Antique Marionettes
As I’ve mentioned before, our Mr. Punch started his antics as a marionette until “professors” concluded that glove puppets were easier to transport and manipulate. Marionettes are quite complicated and it takes a skilled puppeteer to manage them gracefully. There’s a certain elegance about a marionette.

These antique puppets show some of the cleverness and artistry that went into Victorian stringed puppets. They’re rather lovely. As much as I love puppets, I have to say that the “Grand Turk” creeps me out just the tiniest bit. But, I love it nonetheless.

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 287

Chapter 287 
Around the Edges 

Dear Punch,” Robert took Mr. Punch’s hand and led him into the morning room. “Do you remember the stable fire at the Rittenhouse Plantation…when we were in America?”

“Sure, I do.” Punch nodded seriously. “Burned me hands awful bad. If it wasn’t for you, they’d never have healed right. But, look, not even a scar.”

“Do you recall how you were burned?”

“What’s all this, then?” Punch asked. “Course I remember.”

“You went into that burning stable, risking your own life to save Iolanthe Evangeline—a person whose every motion served to do us harm. Yet, in you went, without another thought. You didn’t think of her misdeeds, all you thought was that hers was a human life, and it was worth saving.”

Punch shrugged. “I know…I…I didn’t think. But, what’s this got to do about an’thin’ right now?”

“My dear, the quality of yours which I most admire is your innocent selflessness. Despite all you’ve endured—you and Julian—you’ve remained pure of spirit. You can look past your own pain to help someone who has wronged you.”

“Sometimes I wish I hadn’t.” Punch answered softly. “After all, Iolanthe did not seem changed by her touch with death nor did she show any stop in her relentless campaign ‘gainst us.”

“No.” Robert shook his head. “She did not.” He turned Punch and put his hands on his companion’s shoulders. “Yet, wishing you hadn’t saved her doesn’t change the fact that you did, and, truly, you know you’d have done it again if you had to.”

Mr. Punch nodded.

“I can’t do that.” Robert sighed. “Despite my oath as a physician, I can’t forgive as easily as you.”

“I ain’t forgiven Iolanthe nor Orpha nor Ulrika nor anyone what harmed us.” Punch answered quickly.

“I think you have. I think that’s how you are able to retain a sense of peace about yourself—the very peace which comforts me. Still, let’s say that you haven’t forgiven any of them. You’re able to forget about their wickedness to maintain their humanity. I cannot.”


“It’s true, dear Punch.” Robert held up a hand. “Should Orpha haven fallen at my feet in some sort of apoplectic fit, I would be obligated to offer her aid—as a physician. However, she didn’t. She’s not here. I’m not going to go to Hamish House to tend to her wounds.”

“I didn’t think you should. I never said you should. I only asked, I did.” Mr. Punch answered softly. “I…wanted to see you be true to yourself.”

“And I love you for it.” Robert smiled. “However, if I’m to be true to myself, I must confess that I feel that some don’t deserve a release from their pain. I’m distraught that Gerard wounded the woman, but only because it hurts him to know he’s done so—not because of her pain. Frankly, I wish he’d killed her, though, frankly, the release of death is too good for her. She deserves to suffer for each second of agony she brought to the people she’s tortured.” He paused. “I hope you don’t think less of me for saying this.”

“How could I ever think less of you?” Punch shook his head.

“You hate to think of anyone suffering.” Robert smiled softly. “If a bear leapt out and bit you, you’d be concerned that the bear would have a stomach ache from swallowing one of your buttons.”

“No.” Punch shook his head. “I’d be angry with the bear, I would. I’d be very angry…and…and I’d swat him on his head.”

“You know I’m right.” Robert grinned. “Maybe you’d swat him on the head, Punchinello that you are. But, then, you’d chat with him and try to convince him not to bite any more people.”

“I beat the Devil!” Punch snapped. “I’m Mr. Punch.”

“You are. I love and admire you more than I ever thought possible. Still, dear Punch, as Mr. Punch, you know that…what am I trying to say…”

“When Mr. Punch beats the Devil, it’s only just for then. He always comes back, he does. In the puppet show I mean. Mr. Punch can ‘kill’ Scaramouche, but he’ll always return, cause he ain’t dead, he’s just hangin’ upside down, waitin’ for the professor to use ‘im ‘gain.”

“That’s right.”

“But, Chum…that’s puppets. People ain’t the same. When a bloke’s dead, he’s dead. His body don’t come back. Puppets don’t get hurt, but bodies do.”

“And, your poor body has been hurt over and over again. That’s why you can’t stand to see another body suffer—even one that’s done nothing but hurt you.”

“Maybe so.”

“Would that I were more like you…”

“No, no. I’d not want you to be anythin’, but what you are, Chum.”

“So you’ll forgive me if I don’t fetch my kit and rush to Orpha’s aid?”

“Like I said, Chum. I only wondered, is all.” Punch shook his head. “I know what you’re sayin’, and, truly, I don’t think you should. Only…well, I ain’t as soft as you seem to think.”

“I don’t think you’re soft. You’re the strongest person I know. To have true compassion takes immense strength. I’m too rough around the edges to be that strong.”

“Don’t look so rough to me.” Punch smiled. “You look quite nice to me.”

“I’m glad you think so.” Robert nodded.

“I do.” He sighed. “I s’pose we oughta go check on Gerry. Oh…and there’s Fern what needs talkin’ to.”

“May I suggest that I speak with Gerard and Charles while you try to reason with Fern? I’m afraid I don’t have the patience to deal with the girl just now. You seem to understand her better than I.”

“I don’t understand her at all.” Punch shrugged. “Only, I’ll talk with ‘er.” His eyes widened. “Ruthy!”

“Pardon me?”

“I clean forgot. The new nursery maid…Ruthy. She’s to arrive this evenin’. Poor thing, what’s she gotten ‘erself into?”

“Oh dear, I’d forgotten that, too.” Robert shook his head. “Let’s hope she’s as understanding as the rest of the staff.”

“All these new folk,” Punch sighed. “And, me havin’ to watch how I talk in front of the new ones. Last thing I can think of right now is how I say things.”

“It’s your house, dear Punch, do as you please in it.”

“Is this the same chap what cautioned me when we came back to London to see I didn’t cause no confusion by lettin’ me own self show?”

“I’m ashamed of that.” Robert embraced Punch. “I should never have suggested it.”

“You was only tryin’ to protect me from scandal and gossip.”

“There are far worse things than the opinions of others.” Robert admitted. “I know that now. Let the world see what you are, my dear. Whoever doesn’t like it can go to Blazes.”

“We know a lot of people down there.” Punch winked. “At least we know they’ll have company.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-286? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 288.

The Art of Play: A Pelham Puppet Poodle, 1950

String Puppet Poodle
Pelham Puppets
Britain, 1950
The Museum of Childhood
The Victoria & Albert Museum

The marionette has had a long and interesting evolution. Early marionettes usually only featured one long string, connected to a handle which allowed the puppeteer to make the puppet bounce around, and little more. Over time, marionettes became more complicated with the addition of more strings, a cross-shaped controller and articulated limbs. By the Eighteenth Century, marionettes had evolved into the form we know today and became a highly popular form of entertainment, especially in Italy. In Venice, for example, marionettes had a hey-day for a period of several decades. Theatrical companies often preferred using marionettes over live actors whom they found to be considerably more difficult and expensive. Lavish puppet stages were constructed and plays were written expressly for wooden performers. Our beloved Mr. Punch, in fact, began his existence as a marionette before his own personal evolution into the more easily-operated glove puppet we know today.

Though they were traditionally theatrical tools used by adults, by the Twentieth Century, puppets had become kid-stuff. Marionettes were designed in a smaller scale with relatively easy controllers. In Britain, one puppet-maker seemed to dominate the market, Pelham Puppets. Their line of marionettes was quite popular. This poodle, for example, with articulated limbs and a curiously complicated system of strings was a best-seller between 1950 and 1959.