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The Ritts Puppets - A variety of animal hand puppets seen on the children's program IN THE PARK/CBS/1951-53.

Puppeteers Paul and Mary Ritts - IN THE PARK
Paul & Mary Ritts with Magnolia the Ostrich

The program followed host Bill Sears (dressed in suit jacket, vest, string tie, and hat) as he sat leisurely on a bench and conversed with his puppet friends who lived in the park. They included:

  • Sir Geoffrey the Giraffe
  • Albert the Chipmunk who lived in a tree by the bench
  • Calvin the Crow who originally smoked a nasty cigarette
  • Magnolia the Ostrich, a sweet talking bird with long eyelashes and a southern accent
  • Shanel the skunk

The puppets were the creation of Paul Ritts who also used his talents on the educational series EXPLORING/NBC/1962-66 filled with science, music, art, songs.  His wife, Mary Holliday supplied the voice for Magnolia the Ostrich. Paul Ritts provided the other puppet voices.  

 Sir Geoffrey Giraffe and Albert Chipmunk with host Bill Sears - IN THE PARK
Sir Geoffrey and Albert with host Bill Sears

 Magnolia Ostrich, Albert Chipmunk, Calvin Crow and Geoffrey Giraffe - IN THE PARK
Magnolia Ostrich, Albert Chipmunk, Calvin Crow & Geoffrey Giraffe

Opening Scene from IN THE PARK
Opening Scene from IN THE PARK
Opening Scene from IN THE PARK
Opening Scene from IN THE PARK
Opening scenes from "In the Park" as chalk drawings on the sidewalk are revealed as a broom brushes away fallen leaves.

TRIVIA NOTE: Born May 14, 1920, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, puppeteer Paul Ritts died of a heart attack on October 18, 1980 in  Monroe, Michigan.

His wife, Mary Holliday Ritts (born  June 16, 1910 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) died of natural causes on May 14, 2006 in Pasadena, California.


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