The Paul Ashley Puppet Collection
BY MASTER PUPPETEER, PAUL ASHLEY
Paul Ashley was a master puppeteer, craftsman and artist. He was a true pioneer of early children’s television and is an icon and inspiration to countless puppeteers world wide.
Cher & Barbra Streisand
Where have the puppets been for the last 40 years?
In the mid '70's, Chuck McCann moved to Los Angeles to pursue other projects. Paul and the puppets remained In New York doing industrial films, commercials and performing at events and trade shows for major corporations.
In 1979, the Ashley's also relocated to Los Angeles so that Paul and Chuck could once again produce shows featuring the fabulous Paul Ashley Puppets. The puppets were housed in a full scale production studio within McCann's Hollywood Hills home.
Shortly after they began production on two pilots— "Tiny TV", a satirical variety puppet series and "LBS Children’s Theater", a film anthology project—Paul became too ill to work. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's which took his life just a few short years later at the age of 71. For biographical information on Paul's life please click here.
With Paul's untimely death, ownership of the collection passed to his wife, Harriet. She and Chuck entered into an agreement that ownership of the collection would remain in the family but that Chuck would have creative control and that the puppets would stay in the McCann studio until Chuck's death. Harriet passed away in 2004, leaving the collection to her daughter Victoria, their only child.
With Chuck's passing in April of 2018, it was determined that in order to properly manage the collection, the puppets should be moved to Oregon where Victoria resides. In March of 2019, the collection, which includes props, costumes and plaster molds of the puppets was inventoried and moved to the Pacific NW.
Many of the images on this site are professional publicity shots or personal family photographs. The Collection Gallery contains a combination of composite photos and video clips of puppets that have been restored as well as puppets in private collections that were not restored. Please read more about the restoration project here.
From the top: A collection of "Personallity Puppets" containing political figures and entertainers.
Bottom: A page from one of Paul's professional brochures.