Pop-Outs

POP-OUTSAs one variation of the giant-dwarf trick, a bright box with a hinged cover is placed centre stage, the marionette collapsed into it with its strings coming out in the crack between the box and cover. An inquisitive little marionette enters and inspects the box. After hesitating and making two or three false moves to touch it, he releases the cover, which flies back (pulled by a string from above) and reveals the marionette inside, made in the character of a Gollywog or other startling jack-in-the-box figure. The little marionette runs away and the dwarf stretches up into a giant, climbs out, prances around, shrinks again and gets back into the box, pulling the cover shut. The whole figure may be only a hollow costume, except for weighted hands and feet. Strings from the feet run up through the inside, emerge at the shoulders and are attached to a stick of their own. The head-, hand- and knee-strings are attached to another stick. Pulling up the foot-string stick causes the marionette to telescope and shrink.

Pop-out marionettes are made with hollow bodies so that they crumple into small quarters. A Dutch milkmaid carrying two pails may come out and clog. At a certain point in the dance a tiny Dutch boy and girl hop out of the pails and clog also. In order to dance well they should be on a tandem controller; one puppeteer operates them, and another the milkmaid. Or seven or eight children may pop out of the pockets of the full skirt of the Old Lady who Lived in a Shoe. Or animated toys may jump out of Santa Claus' pack.

One marionette which was popular with English puppet showmen of the last century was a clown with a hollow body, whose head and neck rose, showing another head and neck below, and so on till a whole string of heads had risen from its shoulders.