Archive for the Dolls Category

Richard Teschner’s Puppets

Posted in Dolls with tags , , , , , , , on March 25, 2013 by elgrayso

24-50watts-richard-teschner

Richard Teschner, puppeteer who developed the artistic potentialities of the Javanese rod puppet for western puppet theatre.

Teschner studied art in Prague and was already an accomplished puppeteer and stage designer when, in 1906, he established his own marionette company in Prague. Five years later, while travelling in the Netherlands, he became interested in the rod-puppet figures brought by Dutch explorers from Java. Returning to Vienna, he opened a small rod-puppet theatre called Figuren Spiegel (Figure Mirror). Teschner variations on the Javanese figure resulted in such figures as the woman whose chalk-white face changes into a skull and the gorilla whose lower and upper lips retract to bare fangs. The puppets were controlled by a central rod and had a network of internal strings to manipulate hand and leg movements, bending to the front or back, and sensitive facial expressions.

Teschner’s work with rod puppets influenced leaders of the 20th-century puppet revival and contributed significantly to the popularity of rod-puppet theatres throughout Europe and the United States. [from Encyclopedia Britannica]

03-50watts-richard-teschner_900url-1 06-50watts-richard-teschner_90002-50watts-richard-teschner_90009-50watts-richard-teschner

Vent Haven: Ventriloquism Museum

Posted in Dolls with tags , , , , , , on January 7, 2013 by elgrayso

enhanced-buzz-wide-4695-1354827074-3

Founded by William Shakespeare Berger, a Cincinnati businessman and amateur ventriloquist, Vent Haven Museum is the world’s only museum of ventriloquial figures and memorabilia. The museum is in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, just 5 miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio. [from venthavenmuseum.com]

Influential American celebrity photographer, director, and creative director Matthew Rolston turns his eye for portraiture to a new cast of characters with the launch of Talking Heads, The Vent Haven Portraits. Using techniques he has honed over decades of celebrity portraiture, and marking his first foray into the world of fine arts, Rolston has captured the inherent humanity of a rarely-seen collection of unique entertainment figures: ventriloquist dummies. Unearthed from the intimate and obscure Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, Rolston used a rigorously formal photographic approach to bring out the power in the faces of these figures through a series of 100 portraits, or “headshots.” [from Pointed Leaf Press]

enhanced-buzz-wide-13162-1354827099-6enhanced-buzz-wide-4614-1354827066-9enhanced-buzz-wide-4715-1354827069-8 enhanced-buzz-wide-4719-1354827039-3enhanced-buzz-wide-4694-1354827044-3enhanced-buzz-wide-13344-1354827111-13

 

Princely Toys

Posted in Dolls, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2012 by elgrayso

Princely Toys is a BBC documentary from 1976. It explores the subject of automatons; antique animated dolls manufactured for the upper classes of the 19th century. The film centers around the collection of a man named Jack Donovan, but primarily focuses on the automatons themselves. The narrator talks in an odd cryptic fashion as the aged VHS footage ushers you into the yesterworld of monkey-masked musicians, half-human harlequins and other abominations from your childhood nightmares. Many toys have their own segment and an in-depth explanation is given by the narrator. He describes the toys in detail as the film zooms in on their unforgiving mechanical eyes darting about as their stiff little limbs jerk and sway to the sounds of antique music boxes perfectly tuned to conjure demons from beyond. Most of the footage is shot in an empty studio with a minimal amount of lighting to give the viewer the illusion that each toy was filmed in it’s own personal abyss of darkness. Putting aside the creepy overtones (did I mention that one of the dolls is a man hacking a woman’s bloody torso with a butcher knife?) it’s amazing how intricate and detailed the dolls’ movements are and it’s hard to believe that their animation comes from tiny hidden gears and other simple machines. After watching it I was surprised to find that there doesn’t seem to be hardly any information available on this documentary. Just about the only reference a google search comes up with is this youtube video (below), which, as of this writing clocks in at a meer 135 views.

If any of this sounds at all interesting, I highly recommend watching the video. Also, if anyone knows of a higher quality version or has interesting info on Princely Toys, please inform me in the comments section!

On a related note, I’ve been reading an interesting book called Living Dolls which details interesting stories and the history of similar, yet less creepy, automated oddities.

Kamila Mlynarczyk

Posted in Art, Dolls with tags , , on April 3, 2012 by elgrayso

To see more art by Kamila Mlynarczyk, visit her photostream.

Island of the Dolls

Posted in Death, Dolls, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2011 by elgrayso

The Island of the Dolls (Isla de las Munecas) sits in the canals south of Mexico City and is the current home of hundreds of terrifying, mutilated dolls. Their severed limbs, decapitated heads, and blank eyes adorn trees, fences and nearly every available surface. The dolls appear menacing even in the bright light of midday, but in the dark they are particularly haunting.

Not surprisingly, the island’s origins lie in tragedy. The story goes that the island’s only inhabitant, Don Julian Santana, found the body of a drowned child in the canal some 50 years ago. He was haunted by her death, so when he saw a doll floating by in the canal soon after, he hung it in a tree to please the girl. He hoped to both appease her tortured soul and protect the island from further evil. The story took a particularly sinister turn in 2001 when Don Julian drowned in the canal just like the little girl.

Getting to the island is a long and difficult task, but walking among the creepy dolls is an experience like no other. Most, if not all, of these dolls were rejected by their previous owners for various reasons. Severed limbs and body-less heads hang side-by-side with whole, sun-bleached dolls. Mold covers some, while others are missing nearly all of their artificial hair. Spiders and insects have taken up residence in the hollow parts of most of the dolls.

[text and photos taken from WebUrbanist.com, click here for the full article]

There is also a SyFy channel show called Destination Truth that features the island (however the video is not available in my region).

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death

Posted in Death, Dolls with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2011 by elgrayso

In the mid twentieth century, a woman named Frances Glessner Lee made intricate dollhouses that cost thousands of dollars to create. They depicted unsolved murders and contained an intense level of detail to help detectives solve crimes. They were called The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.



For more information on the Nutshell Studies, visit this blog. Also, I must thank my friend Phoebe for telling me about these.

Uncle Klunk

Posted in Dolls with tags , , , , , , , on September 2, 2011 by elgrayso

For more animatronic creepiness, check out my review of The Rock-afire Explosion on my personal blog!

Vaudeville Ventriloquist Dummies

Posted in Dolls, Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2011 by elgrayso

For more information, visit this post at Public School.

Ludovic Levasseur’s “Poupees”

Posted in Art, Dolls with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2011 by elgrayso

Ludovic Levasseur is an artist from Papua New Guinea who makes decomposing-looking creature dolls. He has made many of these. If they spark your interest take a look at his Flickr page.

Jiri Trnka

Posted in Animation, Art, Dolls, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2011 by elgrayso

Jiří Trnka  (24 February 1912, Plzeň – 30 December 1969, Prague) was a Czech puppet maker, illustrator, motion-picture animator and film director, renowned for his stop motion puppet animations. [from Wikipedia]

The last of Trnkas films The Hand was an unexpected and surprising break in his work thus far. It was something completely new in content and form. The Hand is a merciless political allegory which strictly follows story outline without developing lyrical details as usual it had a strong dramatic arc with deep catharsis in the end. Trnka had used a combination of his typical funny-foolish but undefeated ordinary man puppet as the protagonist and a live-action human hand (naked or in gloves) as the despotic antagonist. When The Handwas released it was officially declared as Trnkas criticism of the Cult of Personality (Stalin) but for all people it was an alarming allegory of human existence in a totalitarian society. The film had the strong up-to-date story about the Artist and the omnipresent Hand which only allowed the Artist to make sculptures of the Hand and nothing else. The Artist was sent to a prison for his disobedience and pressed to hew a huge sculpture of the Hand. When the omnipresent Hand caused the Artists death the same Hand organizes the artists State funeral with all artists honoured. Trnka for the first time openly expressed his opinion about his own inhuman totalitarian society. The Hand was one of the first films that helped to open the short Pragues Spring. It is curious that Trnka predicted his own fate in it. When Jiri Trnka died in November 1969 (at only 57 years of age) he had a State funeral with honours. Only four months later The Hand was banned all copies were confiscated by the secret police put in a safe and the film was forbidden for screening for next twenty years. A seventeen minute long puppet film intimidated the unlimited power of the Totalitarian State.  [from unknown author]

The Brothers Quay

Posted in Animation, Art, Dolls, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2011 by elgrayso

Stille Nacht I Dramolet (1988)

Stephen and Timothy Quay (born June 17, 1947 in Norristown, Pennsylvania) are American identical twin brothers better known as the Brothers Quay or Quay Brothers. They are influential stop-motion animators. [from Wikipedia]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 123 other followers