EI toys and games manager Brent Geppert has something up his sleeve — a puppet! Raised on The Muppet Show®, this former college radio DJ and longtime puppet lover puts on nightly puppet shows for his two sons, complete with voices and sound effects. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at his award-winning invention: Puppet-on-a-stick!
All kids love puppets, yet most puppets are difficult for kids to operate. I set out to make a puppet that was suitable for little hands: a puppet that would inspire instantaneous puppet show fun.
I experimented with various form factors like dry erase, Mr. Potato style pieces, removable hair, fixed hair, bendy arms, no arms, etc. But, after I presented my idea to the team, we all felt that a standalone puppet with no removable parts would be best.
This is the original idea I presented to the team in December 2010.
[First working prototype, January 2011]
I eventually made a second working puppet out of a solid wood ball I purchased at a furniture parts store. After that, I applied a clay skin, added googly eyes, then “bada-boom-bada-bing”: Puppet-on-a-Stick was born!
[2nd prototype, February 2011]
The new prototype was an instant hit with the team. My manager said, “Make two more faces—and we’ll have a set of three.” So, after some internal “clay-storming,” I came up with two more faces.
These are the final clay and wood prototypes that I sent to our factory for production.
Here are the internal mechanics that we have under “patent pending” status.
[“gray hand samples” from the factory]
These are the puppets that the metal injection molds would be made from.
[Final production images]
Psst! These puppets make great stocking stuffers!