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Known as the un-crowned King of Punch & Judy men. For many years Percy had a regular pitch outside Madam Tussauds in London.
Remembered by Bryan Clarke
A prolific writer on the history of Punch & Judy, who had many books published, in which he developed the argument of Punch’s Italian origins.
‘Remarkable’ is possibly the best word to describe Wal Kent. A one-time plumber's mate who launched himself into show business around 1900, but is best remembered by Punch Professors for his skill in making Punch & Judy figures.
Bryan is a former Chairman of the PJF and famed both as a performer and a carver. For many years he was resident on Lowestoft beach, having first seen Punch there as a child. Bryan is probably the most prolific of the great Punch carvers and his work can be found around the world. In 2001 his puppets were featured on a set of Royal Mail stamps.
Bob was very well known in his heyday not only for his actual show but for the wonderful sets of figures he crafted along with Jean who made the superb costumes.
Bob was his own man and had his own views of the profession, but many will recall his help and kindness that helped them up Mr Punch’s ladder.
A tribute to Sydney de Hempsey will appear here in the future.
In 1828 Giovanni Piccini performed his show for the journalist John Payne-Collier who documented the script, whilst the illustrator George Cruikshank drew scenes of the show in action. This text, along with the accompanying illustrations give us the first printed script of a Punch & Judy show, the basic plot of which is used as the foundation for all modern day shows.
During a professional career spanning more than sixty years John has performed at every kind of venue imaginable from pubs to palaces. A world-travelled ‘Prof’ he has made many film and TV appearances and in 2003 was awarded an MBE “For services to the arts – especially Punch and Judy”
After the death of his father (Percy Snr. ) Percy II sounded out a number of colleague Profs with a view to organising a Punch and Judy society. This resulted in the founding of the Punch and Judy Fellowship of which Percy became its first President. Percy had a busking pitch for a number of years at the Jubilee Market in Covent Garden and travelled to many overseas festivals.
John learned his skills from watching old-timers Claude North and Will Hull and as well as being a founder member of the PJF was its first Chairman. For a number of years he busked near the Cutty Sark at Greeenwich. Now retired, John is also noted for the books he published with plans and diagrams showing a variety of Punch frames and fit-ups.
Son of John – and his father’s bottler – Max was also a skilled Punch Prof in his own right and joined his father as a founder member of the PJF.
Joe was known as “the Punch Prof’s Punch Prof” with a show that carried within it the flavour of old time Victorian street Punch & Judy. For many years he busked at the Whitestone Pond on Hampstead Heath and other London pitches. He was noted for a performance in which the voices of Punch and Judy were both swazzled.
A seasoned Prof and self-described “Punch and Judy activist” Glyn organised the celebrations when Mr. Punch turned 350 (and when he turned 325), and has made films and written books on the theory and practice of the traditional show. He drew up the PJF’s founding constitution.
American entertainer Jay Marshall appeared on Broadway as well as in major USA night-clubs and on prime time TV shows. A legendary magician, ventriloquist and all-round entertainer, Punch was but one of his skills. His connections with the London entertainment scene – and a friendship with John Alexander - brought him into the founding names of the PJF. Jay was the first non-UK national to be a PJF member.
As Mac’s obituary in the BrUNIMA Bulletin expressed it: “to every famous puppeteer there are a great many dedicated and conscientious and much valued background workers giving freely of their time and skills to the common cause - puppets. Mac, to all who knew him, was one of this company”. Mac was the note-taker at the PJF founding meeting and subsequently became the first Hon Beadle (as the Hon Sec’s role was originally called.). This also made Mac the first member who was not himself a performer.
Our founding members
Fred was one of the great makers of Punch and Judy figures and examples of his work are to be seen in collection of the V&A. His style exerted an enormous influence on those who came after. In the 1930s he gave the first performance of Punch and Judy on British television. Fred also made British TV’s first iconic puppet star ‘Muffin the Mule’.
Puppeteer and historian whose extensive research led him to write the first definitive history of the Punch & Judy show.
Remembered by Des Turner
Former President of the Punch & Judy Fellowship
Des and Mavis have made a remarkable contribution to the Punch and Judy tradition. So far as the Punch and Judy Fellowship is concerned, Des served on the committee for 27 years, 12 years as treasurer and 15 years as president of the Fellowship.