The Rootie Kazootie Puppets
The 5-puppet "cast" of the Rootie Kazootie Club featured Rootie Kazootie, Polka Dottie, Poison Zoomack, Galapoochie Pup and El Squeeko Mouse. They were designed and built by Paul Ashley and a team of craftsmen for the Rootie Kazootie Club TV Show in the late 1940's. The show starred Todd Russell and first aired in October of 1950. Its final broadcast was in May of 1954.
Steve Carlin, the show's creator and producer owned the Rootie Kazootie puppets. They had dropped out of sight until 1996 when they were located in a New York City warehouse and purchased by Ira Gallen, a collector and film and television historian.
Nine of the original puppets were located: 2 each of Rootie Kazootie, Polka Dottie, El Squeeko Mouse and Galapoochie Pup. Only 1 Poison Zoomack was located.
Watch this YouTube video of Gallen and Carlin in the warehouse unpacking the puppets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1izppY8NS80. They can be heard discussing the condition, which was not good.
A number of years later, Doug Preis, an avid puppet collector, purchased the puppets from Gallen. They had not been stored properly and were in rough shape.
Fortunately, Mr Preis is a master craftsman and puppet restorer— read more about his extraordinary talents on the Restoration page of this website.
Doug painstakingly restored all 9 puppets—repairing the controls, restringing, painting, sanding, fashioning hair, making new hands, bodies and recreating the costumes. Other than repairing the controls for the 2 Galapoochie Pup puppets, they were not touched, as the "fur" was not something he was prepared to tackle.
Since there was only 1 Poison Zoomack in the original group, Doug created an exact duplicate. He also made 2 additional Rootie puppets.
In the fall of 2019, Paul's daughter Vicki purchased the original and reproduction Rootie Kazootie Puppets from Doug.
One full set and 2 Rootie puppets were auctioned in December of 2021. The other full set was donated to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.