Tag Archives: Noreen young

I’m Your Puppet! — Hi Diddle Day and Uncle Chichimus

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I’m Your Puppet! — Hi Diddle Day and Uncle Chichimus

Once upon a time I found out from the locals that the front of my home in Carleton Place was featured in the opening of the Hi Diddle Day show. Hi Diddle Day was a CBC Ottawa production designed to entertain and inform young viewers for years. The uniquely-produced series starred a number of puppet characters (created, manipulated and voiced by Noreen Young) who “lived” in an unusual household.

Noreen Young, producer Audrey Jordan and the rest of the Hi Diddle Day crew always felt that Gertrude Diddle and her menage were different. Moulded from latex, they were capable of much more than “lip-syncing” to the words put in their mouths by puppeteers Young, Johni Keyworth and Stephen Brathwaite. The puppets indulged in enough horseplay to keep the very young giggling while, through situation gags and punning jokes, and they also appealed to the more sophisticated youngsters and older teenagers like myself.

Anyone that knows me knows how much I worship the ground puppeteer Noreen Young walks on. I have been honoured to participate in the late great Puppets Up! parade in Almonte, Ontario and try to follow her every word like:

“Linda, your Elvis puppet is looking a little ragged. His hair is “off” and he needs an eye!” You know things like that.

The setting of Hi Diddle Day was a remodeled Victorian house in Crabgrass, in a typical small Canadian community (Carleton Place). In the house lived Mrs. Dibble, and a host of zany puppet characters. Other puppets were Basil the Beagle, Durwood the Dragon, Wolfgang Von Wolf, Granny, Chico The Crow, a French-Canadian moose called Ti, Lucy Goose and others.

Being an extreme puppet lover I was thrilled that my home on Lake Ave East was home to Hi Diddle Day. When my youngest son vacated the house for his own new home Mom converted his room into a Puppet Room. She took apart his gun case and fashioned it into a puppet theatre filled with vintage puppets– mostly from the Hub in Almonte. Her grandchildren still look at the room today full of strange puppets and do not want to go in there— and their poor grandmother wonders why. I believe the word creepy has been used.

This week Gord Cross, who has been sending me in some local stories, sent in one that had me screaming in the house. I have a hard time moving these days but I can still scream.

HAND PUPPETS, UNCLE CHICHIMUS AND HOLLYHOCK— Museum of History- Ottawa
Museum of History- Ottawa

When I was young and lived at 16 Rochester St. we knew your home as the Raeburn house. During the 50’s a picture of it was used in the CBC TV show “Uncle Chichimus” (this sounds right but I am not sure of the spelling). The show was in black and white, of course, but the Marching Saints Marching Band were invited to the show once and I, as the band leader, was invited to interview with the puppet Uncle Chichimus. I was amazed to see that he was red and green with lots of paint chips . The band was lined up on one side of the room and played a number. Hopefully, someone may have a picture for you because that would be an interesting sidelight about your home.You might have to poll retired members.

Gord Cross

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
27 Jun 1953, Sat  •  Page 31

What?

Granted I was 2 when the program began but I knew nothing about this and was really intrigued that another puppet had graced my home. Uncle Chichimus was an intellectual puppet down on his luck and scorned almanacs. Knowing a good thing he moved in with puppeteer John Conway and Hollyhock, the mop-haired secretary housekeeper. The program, which originated in Toronto was seen in Ottawa five times weekly. Weatherman Percy Salzman used to drop in to do the weather and they would all talk about what was on TV that night. The director of this show was none other than Norman Jewison. Yes, that Norman Jewison who went on to make Hollywood films like MoonstruckThe Hurricane and, Jesus Christ Superstar among many. Please note that Uncle Chichimus is not noted on his Wikipedia page.

Percy Salzman

To make this story way more interesting Uncle Chichimus and Hollyhock were kidnapped in 1954. In what became front-page news in Canada Toronto’s CBLT-TV studio switchboards were jammed with calls by worried friends and admirers of the popular puppet stars. John Conway, creator of Uncle Chichimus, publisher, and world traveller decided to act as a detective to find his two puppets. He offered a $300 reward for the return of the two missing 24 hours after the daring kidnapping on the downtown streets. The CBC coughed up an additional $25 reward the next day. About 200 children called the studios offering their dolls or puppets as replacements for the two “stars”. Who would guess people would steal puppets? Apparently, it is a common thing as in Was Wayne Rostad’s Puppet Ever Found?

Conway had insured the puppets for $150 each and said that it would take about four days to reproduce them. No ransom demands had been received by the puppeteer. Conway, whose studio was on downtown King Street West, left his station wagon parked in front of his offices. On the rear seat was a duffle bag with the pair enclosed. Conway, unfortunately, forgot to lock his car door, and when he made a search of the car the next morning, the bag and its contents were missing.

CBC-TV officials were concerned over the disappearance and featured the kidnapping on the News Roundup films. The kidnapping had occurred on the eve of Chichy’s, Hollyhock’s and Larry Mann’s departure via a recently-acquired sailing vessel from Lobster Landing, in the Maritimes. Departure had been delayed when corks, used in the hull to stop leakage, kept coming out.

Uncle Chichimus was actually the first personality seen on CBC TV when it began broadcasting. He was revived for a for a 26-episode The Adventures of Uncle Chichimus in 1957. Later he and Hollyhock jumped ship to CJOH in 1961 as nothing seemed to be the same after the abduction as part of a new show called Cartoonerville. CBC replaced their time slot with a show called AdLib– and trivia buffs should note that: no, it was not the game show AdLib. This is CBC we are talking about, and the AdLib we are talking about was set in a rural setting. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Since then, the surviving puppets have been put into mothballs at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec, and the collection is reputedly complete. John Conway became a teacher in the Glebe. The original puppets were never found and it does not look like everything ended up happily ever after.

Mrs. Gertrude Diddle
Mayor Gertrude Diddle, the star of the 1970s CBC children’s show Hi Diddle Day, became an object of fascination for Ronnie Burkett, a devoted fan of the show. “She was the most outrageous, gayest, campiest puppet in history at the time.” Her creator Noreen Young would later meet Burkett, promising to leave Mrs. Diddle to him in her will. But Burkett was far too impatient to wait for Young’s demise and so one day the puppet arrived in the mail. “She’s my muse. She can’t be topped.” He says he’s always had a version of Mrs. Diddle in his shows.
A regular on the show was the mailman, Mr. Post, played by Bob Gardiner. Musician Wyn Canty appeared occasionally as music teacher. There were also guest appearances by experts in the fields of music, art, science, entertainment and sports. The show was originally seen only in Ottawa, Montreal and the Maritimes. By 1970, its popularity led CBC to turn it into a national children’s series.
Edmonton Journal
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
05 Mar 1971, Fri  •  Page 62
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
22 Aug 1970, Sat  •  Page 2
noreen young 2016 Puppets Up! Parade
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
11 Apr 1955, Mon  •  Page 11

Carole Ann BennettMy mother took me to see a live show I believe being broadcast from Ogilvy’s Department Store around 1952 or 53.I think that Chich was coloured green and Hollyhock was yellow!-Lost Ottawa

Skip LaytonI was on this show with my art class, and won a pencil sharpener,shaped like Timothy, the mouse who rode around in Dumbo’s hat. I still have it. Fun memories. I remember being startled that Chichimus was green. Guess it looked better on B&W TV.-Lost Ottawa

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1954-Tv-Article-UNCLE-CHICHIMUS-JOHN-CONWAY-NIECE-HOLLYHOCK-CBC-Kids-Show-/173845849371

Mikey Artelle has some great info on shows-– CLICK

Vicki Racey and I working the street.. Almonte’s Baker Bob with his fans in the back of us! 2016

Puppet Stories

Was Wayne Rostad’s Puppet Ever Found?

I Just Followed Baker Bob – PuppetsUp! Parade August 7th

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

Isn’t Life Really Just One Big Puppet Show? A Photo Essay about Puppets and more

Did you Know Nick is not a Millionaire?

Jane Austen and Linda Comment on the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers

So What Happened to Laird Keller and His Ventriloquist Dummy Woody?

Related stories on Springside Hall- Home to the Storyland Bunny and the Balderson Cow

Moving Doorways– How Houses Change — Springside Hall Then and Now — Finlayson Series

The Hidden Dumbwaiter in Springside Hall –Finlayson Series

The Story of a Local Family -Finlayson- Richard Finlayson

The Case of the Disappearing Back Staircase — Springside Hall — Finlayson Series

A Houseful of Whimsy- Springside Hall 1982

Do You have a Hidden Room in Your Home?

What Did Adam Dowdall Find in My Carleton Place Yard?

The Sundial of Springside Hall

Then and Now Springside Hall 1920s-1930s Photos

Reusing the Past of Carleton Place — The Morphy’s and the McCann’s

October 13, 1977 George W. Raeburn of Lake Ave East— Artist and C. P. R. Man

My Neighbours –Photos of the Cliff- McCann House and Springside Hall

Update on the Time Capsule in Springside Hall

The Spirits Are Alive and Well

They Once Lived in My Home– The Cram Children — Margaret — Angeline “Babe” and Arthur

They Once Lived in My Home– Arthur Cram

The Morphy Cram House — Springside Hall

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

Glory Days in Carleton Place– Linda Seccaspina

So Where Does the Water come from Under my House?

The Ghost Lovers of Springside Hall – A True Love Story

Do You have an Archaeological Find in Your Carleton Place Basement?

Feeling Groovy by the Lake Ave East Bridge

October 13, 1977 George W. Raeburn of Lake Ave East— Artist and C. P. R. Man

What if You Had a Fire and No One Came?

Just Another Day in Fawlty Towers — Part 2 — To Hell and Back

Just Another Day in Fawlty Towers

Dumbwaiter Calamities of Crockery

While You Were Sleeping —-The Storyland Bunny Moves to the Hi Diddle Day House

Was Wayne Rostad’s Puppet Ever Found?

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Was Wayne Rostad’s Puppet Ever Found?

 

I stole Wayne Rostad's puppet': Guilt tugs at the heartstrings of  mysterious bandit

 

In 2005 Wayne’s mini me disappeared. Linda would care to know if that puppet ever made its way home?

A replica of Wayne Rostad of On The Road Again has disappeared from an Almonte pub where it had been on display and where the locals turned to it for help settling arguments, JENNI LEE CAMPBELL reports.

The town of Almonte is abuzz over a crime residents are describing as “heinous,” “dastardly,” and “a slap in the face.” Last Thursday, a metre-tall rubber-latex puppet likeness of area icon Wayne Rostad was stolen from the Ironworks Pub and Restaurant. The theft apparently took place under the noses of Ironworks staff and regulars. The puppet, crafted by master puppeteer Noreen Young (creator of CBC’s Under the Umbrella Tree) and commissioned as a gift by Mr. Rostad’s wife, Leanne Cusack of CJOH, was on loan to the neighbourhood watering hole.

“I feel just awful,” said co-owner Ruth-Ann Mackin-non, who called the theft “a heinous act.” She said she called Mr. Rostad as soon as she learned of the theft. “He was clearly not pleased,” she said, adding that Mr. Rostad, who could not be reached by the Citizen yesterday, promised to help recover the puppet in any way he could. The one-of-a-kind puppets, which Mrs. Young creates entirely by hand and decks out in pint-sized clothing, bear uncanny resemblances to their namesakes and are worth about $1,500. Mrs. Young has created about 40 of the personalized puppets for Almonte business owners and personalities.

A parade last Sunday in Almonte featured people and their look-alike puppets. Max Keeping and his “mini-me” led the procession. Many storefronts on Almonte’s main streets feature lifelike replicas of their owners. Mayor Al Lunney declared that he wouldn’t let his puppet likeness out of his sight. Mrs. Young is upset, but able to maintain a sense of humour about the incident. “Maybe he’s sitting in someone’s living room watching On the Road Again,” she said yesterday in her workshop. “It (the puppet) isn’t really the kind of thing you can show off,” she said, surmising the thief must be a big Wayne Rostad fan.

Mr. Rostad, a singer-songwriter and longtime CBC broadcaster, is very involved with Ottawa Valley events and charities. “He’s extremely generous to the community,” said Mrs. Young. “It’s sort of a backhanded compliment, I guess.” Chris O’Brien, who owns the Miller’s Tale bookstore a block away from the Ironworks and there runs a Don Quixote book club, said he was at the restaurant with a group of friends on the night the theft. Between pints sometime before 10 p.m., the group jokingly called on the Rostad puppet a popular fixture who was situated on a window frame directly behind the bar where they were sitting to settle an argument. The outcome of the argument is long forgotten, but the rubber Rostad’s fate is not.

“One of us said, ‘Where did Wayne go?’ and he was gone,” said Mr. O’Brien. Mr. O’Brien and his friends helped the bartender search the restaurant for the puppet, but it was to no avail. Mr. Rostad, it seemed, had left the building. Mr. O’Brien, who bought his own puppet four years ago, can commiserate. “I’d be really upset if someone stole mine,” he said. “It’s not just a puppet. It’s like someone stealing a portrait of you. It’s very personal” While Mr. O’Brien says he’s not so far removed from his youth that he can’t see the novelty in stealing a lifelike puppet, he says it’s an insult to both Mr. Rostad and the community. “The puppets are becoming a calling card for the town,” he said. Mrs. Young still has the original cast and will offer to do another puppet for Mr. Rostad at half price if the plundered one doesn’t resurface.

The Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

30 Aug 2005, Tue  •  Page 25

 

 

What Happened to GradeAUnderA? - GFM - YouTube

Update

So was his puppet ever found? Well this appeared March 9 2020—- FOUR months after I posted this everywhere this happened.

The mystery of who stole Wayne Rostad’s doppelganger puppet has been solved.

Rostad, a household name in Canada, is a legend in the Ottawa Valley. He is a singer, songwriter, entertainer, host, author, community activist, the list goes on.

Almost two decades ago, Rostad’s puppet, crafted by master puppeteer Noreen Young, was lifted from the former Ironworks Pub in Almonte, never to be seen again — until now. Click below to read more…

I stole Wayne Rostad’s puppet’: Guilt tugs at the heartstrings of mysterious bandit

 

Have you read?

Documenting Clippings of the Gatineau Clog

 

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PuppetsUp! MIGHT be coming back next year 2022 as a POP UP 

Thank you to everyone who liked, commented on or shared our announcement yesterday! Did you know we also have a mailing list? If you want to be among the first to know about pre-festival shows, ticket sales and more, sign up today!

relatedreading

I Just Followed Baker Bob – PuppetsUp! Parade August 7th

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

Isn’t Life Really Just One Big Puppet Show? A Photo Essay about Puppets and more

Did you Know Nick is not a Millionaire?

 

I have a few photos of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson as I have known him for years. This is a photo I took of him in 2016 at Puppets Up..
Me withmy Noreen Youn puppet Elvis
My friend Vicki Racey- known as Vintage Vicki to all of her friends!

Out of the Old Photo Album — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

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Out of the Old Photo Album — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

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For the past little while I have been concentrating on Summers at the Stone House in Snow Road.   I have done a couple of stories about memories of events, and there are some pictures to go along with it.  Well here we are with a Winning Photo, not a Snow Road picture but I thought I should share.

As a child I was somewhat of a Tom Boy and definitely had an attitude of who cares, as long as we had fun, did it matter what we looked like.  From the look of this picture I would say not. Now my Grandfather did not care if I looked a wee bit tumbled or shoes on the wrong feet, he always had a greeting and I did enjoy his attention and comments.

If there was a tree to climb or some kind of an insect to check out, this would fill my time outside.  I did not require a companion I could amuse myself with no difficulty. I have to say I did enjoy myself, be it climbing a tree, hanging upside down, now that was a very interesting way to look at things.

Dolls and toys did not attract my attention for very long, maybe at Christmas when I received a new doll and my Mother and Grandmother had taken the time to make clothes and dress. The Doll was soon put aside to sit on the bed and look pretty, I did have adventures to seek.

We lived not too far from the Railway Track and it was fun watching the train go by. I could have been sitting on a limb of a tree or just sitting on the grass on the side of the track.  It was nice to see the Train Engineer wave as he went by, and he did blow the whistle. All of my younger years I thought, was that not nice he tooted the whistle to greet me. Little did I know that he was blowing the whistle to warn he was approaching a intersection.  Oh well it was nice to think I was important to him as a child, nice man.

You can tell my clothes were not important, just to many other things to discover and I didn’t need a mirror to look in I was just fine, to me.  Now there were times when my Mother did not have patience with me. She would go to great pains, washing clothes, bathing us, washing hair and brushing it til it shone, this was important.  I can remember at night before bed she would brush the hair and tell me to count. If I lost my place start over, how boring START AGAIN. There were times when I thought is the part of homework to make me smart in arithmetic ?  Who knows, I didn’t really care.

Now my sister used to call me “Miss Goodie Two Shoes”, as she had a tendency to talk back, I did not, but I did what I wanted.  Oh life was good no stress, no troubles, just no worries. I never felt that it was my place to argue, but when the talk was over, I just would do as I like, no pressure there.  (Prissy)

Looking at the picture,  I now know why my mother would look at me the way she did, I often received this little quote “can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”.  I can’t say I understood what she meant but that was fine. I do have to admit she would be nice to have here now, as my attitude is still somewhat the same.

Before leaving to go to school, once again she would brush my hair, tell me if my shoes were on the wrong feet and straighten what had to be straightened. “Oh for goodness sake, pull up those stockings”.  The last question was did you brush your teeth. I would give her the answer she wanted and rub my teeth of with my finger, going out the door.

School I enjoyed and the walk to and from, with friends was delightful.  My marks were fine in all subjects but S P E L L I N G I do have to admit spell I could not, and still can’t.  This is fine, I have spell check on the Computer and sometimes my sister get’s the honour of reading the lines first.

I do hope you enjoy these words of wisdom and the picture is just so me!

From the Pen
of Noreen
2018



Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte

  1. relatedreading

Snow Road Ramblings from Richards Castle — From the Pen Of Noreen Tyers

Summer Holidays at Snow Road Cleaning Fish — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Snow Road Adventures- Hikes in the Old Cave — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Putting Brian on the Bus– Stories from my Childhood Noreen Tyers

My Childhood Memory of Richard’s Castle –From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Grandpa’s Dandelion Wine — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

My Wedding Tiara — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Art of Learning How to Butter Your Toast the Right Way — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Smocked Dresses–From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Kitchen Stool — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Flying Teeth in Church — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Writings of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Memories of Grandpa’s Workshop — Noreen Tyers

Cleaning out Grandmas’ Fridge — Noreen Tyers Summer Vacation at Richard’s Castle

My Flower Seeds — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Did you Know Nick is not a Millionaire?

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People are so quick to talk about puppets. Some think that  Nick and his crew are walking around with diamond Rolex’s on, BUT, the fact is- they don’t reap any Kardashian perks from their craft or event-they do it for the love of the people.

I could never be on the stage on my own. But, puppets can say things that humans can’t say– so here are the facts Jack! As we walked around the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market Saturday Nick filled me in on things I had no idea about.

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Nick told me that last year, the money  PuppetsUp! brought in from selling tickets to the Festival, did NOT cover the direct costs of bringing the amazing talent they showcased in Almonte. Now if you have ever been to PuppetsUp! you know the quality of what I am speaking about.

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That’s right…Nick said they brought in just over $57,000 in ticket sales to the festival and they spent almost $70,000 to bring first class talent from around the world to Almonte!

This doesn’t include the money they spent locally on promotion, on expenses to create the 5 additional theatre venues out of tents, or the administration that takes place year-round.

If all the “economists” were laid end to end, they’d never reach a conclusion-but the puppets know you have to spend money to make something fantastic happen like PuppetsUp!

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To keep the PuppetsUp! prices reasonable and family-friendly, they rely heavily on the support of community, money from both from individual donors, and corporate sponsorship. They can’t exist without the amazing volunteers who give their time and their talents. They are VERY appreciative of that support and they really and truly could NOT hold the Festival without them.

As Nick said, “We are nobody’s puppet without them”!

Once you hand someone the strings they become narrators of life so–always be yourself– gracious, giving and wonderful like Nick and the PuppetsUp! gang! Thank  you to all of the PuppetsUp! crew for all you do.

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Find out about PuppetsUp! here

Visit the Carleton Place Farmers Market here..

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Related reading

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

Isn’t Life Really Just One Big Puppet Show? A Photo Essay about Puppets and more

Jane Austen and Linda Comment on the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers

So What Happened to Laird Keller and His Ventriloquist Dummy Woody?

Life is Too Short to Buy Green Bananas

 

Time Capsule in the ‘Hi Diddle Day’ House?

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Ottawa Journal 1971–Photo from the Wanda Morrison- Joan Kehoe Collection

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I have written many stories about my home the Morphy Cram house, called Springside Hall in Carleton Place on several occasions. Jennifer, from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum, has often wondered why there is very little information or photos of the house throughout the years. Imagine my surprise when yesterday going through a scrapbook lent to me by Wanda Morrison that there was an article about Springside Hall in 1971.

To some of you that don’t know, the facade of my home was once the opening background picture to famed puppeteer’s Noreen Young’s  CBC children’s television program called ‘Hi Diddle Day. When we bought the home in 1981 the interior of the house had been stripped right down to the brass push button light switches, but the outside still had the red roof shingles and window shutters which we later changed.

I had been told it was William Morphy, son of the founder of Morphy’s Falls (Carleton Place) in 1860 who built the house, while this article says another son, Edmond Morphy built it. The only other records I had is that it was bought in 1905 by former Carleton Place mayor Albert E. Cram and then occupied by the Raeburns.  But now I know the house also was once a residence to the Johnson and Merrick families.

During the fire of 1995 we changed the position of the dining room doorway and the back staircase, but imagine my surprise to find out that somewhere through the years the interior had also been changed.

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Front Staircase- photo by Linda Seccaspina

Most of the main floor woodwork, which I fought to be restored after the fire, is quarter-cut oak, which indicates a turn of the century change from the simple upstairs woodwork. When interviewed, Mr. and Mrs. Raeburn had lived in the house for 32 out of the total 40 years they lived in my home. They recalled that the front staircase had been changed early on. The elaborate gilted curtain rod that once hung in the dining room from Mrs. Raeburn’s family home, the Finlayson House in Clayton, is no longer there, but there still remains one plain but original rod over the french doors that open to the study.

It mentions the ell (0ver the kitchen wing)  having three bedrooms which were part of the servants quarters, as it connected to the back staircase. But in reality when we moved there there were only two, so where was the third bedroom?  We know that the newel post and stair rails on the back staircase are from the 1860s, as when we changed the back staircase we reused the original wood.

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Photo by Linda Seccaspina-Last year Blair White gave me a folk art oil painting that George Raeburn did of his home The Morphy Cram House/ Hi Diddle Day home. He had given it to Blair a good many years ago. When I die I want it to go back to the White family and have Blair’s son Ben look after it until he can pass it on. I met May Raeburn once and also met her son Burt when she passed on.

 

The property that was once a whole city block is now an acre in total, and the raspberry bushes that grew wild all over at the back of the house made way to a residence in the 60s when the Raeburn’s sold part of their property. The old carriage house mentioned in the article is now gone as it was in very bad shape when we bought it.

I was sad nothing was mentioned of the dumb waiter that is blocked in a wall in the previous galley kitchen that went up the old servants quarters. I really wanted to know more about it, but what I learned next was even better. What was shocking is that Mrs. Raeburn told the newspaper that one of the cornerstones of the house contains artifacts the Morphy’s put there, but no records exist of the original contents. She said she wasn’t inquisitive enough to investigate. I most certainly am.

 

Related reading:

The Morphy Cram House — Springside Hall

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

The Ghost Lovers of Springside Hall – A True Love Story

Do You have an Archaeological Find in Your Carleton Place Basement?

Feeling Groovy by the Lake Ave East Bridge

October 13, 1977 George W. Raeburn of Lake Ave East— Artist and C. P. R. Man

What if You Had a Fire and No One Came?

Houseful of Whimsy 1982 Ottawa Journal

 

So What Happened to Laird Keller and His Ventriloquist Dummy Woody?

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So What Happened to Laird Keller and His Ventriloquist Dummy Woody?
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Latest issue of Screamin’ Mamas Magazine from Florida. Cover is of Linda Seccaspina with her Elvis puppet on Bridge Street in Carleton Place shot by our local Lanark County gal Sherry Crummy. 

Everyone knows I love puppets and worship the ground iconic Noreen Young walks on. My house used to be featured in the opening of the old CBC show Hi- Diddle-Day and I even have a room devoted to puppets. They are not expensive ones, but just the ones that have been given away to thrift shops. Everyone and everything needs a loving home.

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I found this ad in one of the old Carleton Place Canadian newspapers at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum last week and I knew I had to search for an update about Laird Keller. I don’t know this man from squat-but what was he doing decades later? What I found was not what I expected to find. I sadly found a crowd-funding page.

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Looking for a Home for my Ventriloquist Dummy– 2015

  • Old Man And His Dummy-Smiths Falls
  • You can help Laird afford to give his 53 year old partner (dummy) away, so the dummy can go on long after Laird is gone. 60 years as a Ventriloquist, and at one time Canada’s youngest ventriloquist.
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  • Making it in show biz has always been Laird’s love, but it doesn’t always pay the bills.  He had planned on traveling around to Fairs to perform when he retired.  (From the age of nine years old Laird has entertained at children’s parties, store openings, hospitals and when old enough, weekend in night clubs.)  Alas this is not to be.  Like most in his family he smoked.  Not anymore, but to late to stop from getting COPD.  Now if he walks 9 feet from the bathroom, he has to sit down for 2 minutes to catch his breath.  An entertainer at Country Fairs is not going to be.
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  • Woody, his partner is his concern, after all he has been by his side for 53 years.  Costing a lot of money at the time of creation, with a present value to Laird of priceless.  Laird has a very short time left, but like most people didn’t save up for this ailment.  He can sell his partner Woody to a collector to keep on a shelf and just rot, or give him away to some young performer that can’t afford to buy his own dummy.
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  • This makes 2 people who can’t afford to do what is right, Laird to sell and the young performer to buy.
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  • Here is what he would like to do.  Collect a small offering from many people so as Woody can be passed on to a young starving ventriloquist.  At the time of his passing all contributors will be offered a ticket to his last performance (my funeral).  Woody will be sitting on top of his closed coffin, thanking everyone one for coming.  I dare you to see his lips move.
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  • After this his wooden pal, (dummy) will be given to someone who needs him, all with the support of all you people.

This was the last item I posted about Laird… Today is his birthday and I found out he passed away in 2019. I am heartbroken…

Thank you everyone for the kind condolences, thoughts and memories.

We will be holding a Celebration of Life for Laird Keller.
All friends and family are welcome to join us for a drink and share some stories at Ye Olde Orchard Pub … and if we are truly honouring my Dad, even naps are permitted.

Sunday, November 3, 2019, from 2:00 – 4:00pm

Ye Olde Orchard Pub & Grill (the Bridge Room)
66 Boulevard Salaberry S,
Châteauguay, QC J6J 4J5
(450) 692-5454

Casual setting. Children welcome

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

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Noreen Young

Hi Diddle Day

Hi Diddle Day was a CBC Ottawa production designed to entertain and inform young viewers from 1968-1969. The uniquely-produced series starred a number of puppet characters (created, manipulated and voiced by Noreen Young) who lived in an unusual household. The setting was a remodeled Victorian house in Crabgrass, a typical small Canadian community (Carleton Place). In the house lived Mrs. Dibble, and a host of zany puppet characters. Other puppets were Basil the Beagle, Durwood the Dragon, Wolfgang Von Wolf, Granny, Chico The Crow, a French-Canadian moose called Ti, Lucy Goose and others.

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Mayor Gertrude Diddle, the star of the 1970s CBC children’s show Hi Diddle Day, became an object of fascination for Ronnie Burkett, a devoted fan of the show. “She was the most outrageous, gayest, campiest puppet in history at the time.” Her creator Noreen Young would later meet Burkett, promising to leave Mrs. Diddle to him in her will. But Burkett was far too impatient to wait for Young’s demise and so one day the puppet arrived in the mail. “She’s my muse. She can’t be topped.” He says he’s always had a version of Mrs. Diddle in his shows.

A regular on the show was the mailman, Mr. Post, played by Bob Gardiner. Musician Wyn Canty appearred occasionally as music teacher. There were also guest appearances by experts in the fields of music, art, science, entertainment and sports. The show was originally seen only in Ottawa, Montreal and the Maritimes. By 1970, its popularity led CBC to turn it into a national children’s series.

puppethSince 1981 I have lived in the Hi-Diddle-Day House, and because of my love of Noreen Young’s talent I have created a small shrine in one room to the puppets of Hi-Diddle-Day. I actually own one of Noreen’s older puppets and proudly march in the Puppets Up! parade each year in Almonte that she created. That’s because with a puppet I can get away with a lot more:)– in reality I guess I am just a puppet who can see the strings.
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See you at Puppets Up! this weekend in Almonte!
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Wikipedia–Noreen Isabel Young, CM (born May 10, 1952) is a Canadian producer and puppeteer, and is still actively involved in puppeteering through her corporation Noreen Young Productions.[1] Young grew up in Ottawa, Ontario.

A Noreen Young caricature puppet

 

She was the creator of Under the Umbrella Tree, a popular CBC Television children’s series that ran from 1987-1993 on the CBC and on the Disney Channel from 1993-1997,[2] and was also the puppeteer for “Dodie”, a character on Sesame Park, the Canadian version ofSesame Street.[3] Her puppet characters also appeared on many TVOntario productions including Readalong and Telefrancais.

Young featured in the second Care Bears television special, 1984’s The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine.

She is also known for her caricature puppets of public figures such as former governor-general Adrienne Clarkson, CBC news anchorPeter Mansbridge and hockey commentator Don Cherry, and of prominent personalities from her hometown of Almonte, Ontario. She currently serves as artistic director of the Puppets Up international puppet festival, held annually in Almonte.[4]

She was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1995–Noreen Young will be honoured by the Canadian Institute for Child Health on November 18th at the 16th Annual Crayons and Cravats Gala for her tireless energy and dedication to the use of puppetry to teach and entertain children.

 

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Me on the cover of Screamin Mamas magazine from Florida that I write for. That is one of Noreen Young’s original puppets that I cherish.

 

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 In ode to Noreen..The original Balderson cow in the background.. I called her Baldy Welsh after the Carleton Place Canoe great– because her udders swing both way. One must have whimsy…

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

Jane Austen and Linda Comment on the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers

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Jane Austen and Linda Comment on the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers

An artist cannot do anything slovenly and therefore the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers from Maine can do no wrong in my mind – and how quick come the reasons for approving what we like!

There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart. You can feel this young ladies heart and smile right through the picture.

Respect for right conduct is felt by everybody. The kids as well as the adults were spellbound. Of course they were so spellbound that some had bad hats, which were probably inflicted on them by wizards.

Dress is at all times a frivolous distinction, and excessive solicitude about it often destroys its own aim. But in the case of the wee tiger seated on the floor we will make an exception.

 

A mind lively and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and can see nothing that does not answer. Yet little things please her like two puppets in a boat called Chucky and Lucy seeking treasure.

A woman, especially, if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can. In this case when there are bumbling pirates about Lucy should drop the idea of listening to Chucky.

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn? But what about that huge pink sea monkey that did not come in a packet and not ordered in the mail for $4.99 plus shipping and handling.

Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love. Or in this case a Helen Keller captain with two hooks for hands and a whole lot of attitude.

Business, you know, may bring you money, but friendship hardly ever does. Especially in the case of hidden pieces of eight. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

 

Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies. Our heroes are surrounded not by spies but Lobster Boy, Crabby and yes, that sea monkey.

One man’s style must not be the rule of another and no one beats Frogtown Mountain Puppets. Even if they do wear vegetable strainers for hats to allow the boat to move around.

One cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty. In this case the men are witty although their sister takes the show.
My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company. In this case it’s the Frogtown Mountain Puppets.

 

If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. Nothing like a man and his love for a puppet.

One man’s style must not be the rule of another’s. Thank goodness for the stylings of Frogtown Mountain Puppets.

“Everybody Loves Pirates” is the story of a young girl named Lucy and her goofy friend, Little Chucky.

While fishing one day, the kids discover a treasure map and decide to set out on a quest to find their fortune.

Unfortunately, they run into a group of bumbling pirates who try to thwart their efforts by stealing the treasure.

Of course, it all works out in the end with some help from Chucky and Lucy’s new ocean-dwelling friends, including Lobster Boy, Crabby and a wise Sea Monkey.

Great for all ages- Trust me, even Jane Austen approved.

Images by Linda Seccaspina 2011

A few are from Frogtown’s website.

Text by Jane Austen and Linda Seccaspina

 

Where an opinion is general, it is usually correct. And they received a standing ovation.

This is Sleepy Hollow Dirty Dancing that I saw last year by Frogtown Mountain Puppets. Just so brilliantly done.

 

They also have a recycling DVD out for kids.