|PADY BLACKWOOD (Master
Puppeteer, Marionette Maker, and
The marionette puppetry of Pady
Blackwood has been seen both on
Broadway in Alice in Wonderland
and off Broadway in Les Poupees
De Paris, on television, in feature
films, and on concerts stages with
symphony orchestras around the
Pady is currently the official
puppeteer for TV's legendary
Howdy Doody. He has had long
associations with virtually all of the
premiere puppet companies in the
USA including the Krofft Brothers
and Bil Baird's marionette theater in
New York. Muppet creator, Jim
Henson, called Pady, "one of the
most gifted and innovative artists in
the field of puppetry."
In additional to his expert skills at
operating marionettes, Pady also
creates hand carved marionettes in
the European Tradition. Pady has
made many of the custom
marionettes for Pinocchio's.
|Co-owners Pady Blackwood (left) and David Eaton of Pinocchio's Marionette Theater talk while
working with their mascot marionette, "Picolo," back in 2002. (JOE BURBANK, ORLANDO
SENTINEL / May 9, 2002)
Pady Blackwood was a Renaissance puppeteer. Jim Henson called him "one of the most gifted
and innovative artists in the field of puppetry."
During Blackwood's 60-year career, he made puppets come alive for television, movies and
Broadway. In 2002, he co-founded Pinocchio's Marionette Theater, now located in Altamonte
Mall, in order to introduce a new generation to the wonder of seeing "magic come to life."
Blackwood, of Casselberry, died Tuesday (October 13, 2009) after suffering a heart attack. He
Growing up in Kansas City, Mo., Blackwood had an early flair for performance. He began writing
scripts and staging puppet shows as a child. Blackwood's talent was noticed by a traveling
puppet troupe and he set out to pursue a career in New York City following high-school
He studied under puppet masters Bill Baird and Sid and Marty Krofft throughout the 1960s and
emerged as a recognizable industry name in the 1970s.
Blackwood served as a double talent, because he designed and hand-carved marionettes in
addition to being a puppeteer. His career took him all over the world.
"Pady went where the work was. If there was no work, he would say 'something will come up.'
And it always did," said his nephew Kraig Kensinger of Kansas City.
Though he helped design, build and bring hundreds of puppets to life, Blackwood's claim to
fame was being one of two surviving puppeteers for the classic "Howdy Doody" brand. Though
Blackwood was not an original puppeteer for the show, he helped revive it in the 1970s and was
the official representative of the brand until his death.
Earlier this month, Blackwood was the guest of honor at the Central Florida Puppetry Guild
meeting, where he showed off a new Howdy Doody marionette built by a friend. Attendees were
entertained by Blackwood's stories well into the evening.
"My uncle was a master storyteller and was very carefree and capricious," Kensinger said. "He
really did live a charmed life."
Blackwood's most recent work can be seen through Nov. 1 at the Orlando Puppet Festival at
Pinocchio's in Altamonte Mall. He designed the puppets for the show Hansel & Gretel, and also
voiced the pair's father.
"People ask me how long it takes to learn this," Blackwood said in a 2002 interview with the
Sentinel. "You never stop. It's like playing a stringed instrument. You practice and practice and
Blackwood is also survived by his brother Maynard Blackwood of Knox City, Mo., and many
nieces and nephews throughout the country.
Arrangements are being made by his family in Kansas City.
Copyright © 2009, Orlando Sentinel
|Actually, Pady and I were good friends. He always genuinely happy to see me. He was as
kind and gentle as everyone says he was. Rest in peace O master...