Wednesday, February 9

Oh Kasperle!



When I was little my Mom had a secret weapon when it came to making me listen. If I was being particularly precocious and stubborn she'd slip a certain gentleman over her hand and I would melt in the face of my very first love: Kasperle.

Kasperl is the German equivalent to Mister Punch. This wooden Kasperle above is an original Hohensteiner puppet. Max Jacob's Hohnsteiner Kasper, the style of Kasperl Theatre recognized in the German speaking area today, differs from earlier forms of Punch and Judy shows in that the Hohensteiner Kasperl's stories were moral tales. Where earlier incarnations of Punch would go about beating Judy and the police man and generally acting like a man on a rampage, the Kasperle I fell in love with knew good from bad.

You could root for Kasperle (and holler when once again he didn't realize the Baddy was right behind him!) and if my wooden Love attached to Mom's arm told me I bloody well listened.



My Grandma used to live in Hohenstein and during the war she would spend her spare time playing for the wounded. Later she worked in the troupe's workshop painting the puppets' wooden faces.



In all I have three Hohensteiner puppets. There is Kasperle who lives on my bookshelf while Grandma and the Witch call Austria their home. They're at my parents place :)

All three were my Dad's before me. In fact, the first of the two images below was taken the day he was given the puppets. :)







I took the below photo as part of the series Dark Territory some years ago. You get a full view of our man in it:

50 comments:

  1. What a wonderful story.Thank you so much for sharing it my friend.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    ReplyDelete
  2. These are totally amazing!! Those scary painted faces - I would listen too!!

    I just finished reading 'The Children's Book', by A.S.Byatt (which was wonderful - I highly recommend it), she features 19thC German puppeteers. I would love to learn more about the history of puppetry in Germany/Austria - it sounds completely magical.

    ReplyDelete
  3. oranges_and_applesFebruary 09, 2011

    You know, your posts always make me feel nostalgic! It's funny, I don't really feel that German(speaking) now, but all it takes is someone to remind me of one of these kinds of things and I get a little sad that any children I'll have will miss out on all this stuff. I know they'll get other stuff instead, but it's not *mine* in the way Kasperle is.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just recently completely went off on one with a French colleauge because she knew lots of Nippon animation series that were really big when I grew up but nobody has heard of round here.

    Also Dinner for One seems to be an odd regional thing. Don't you think it is crazy half the world watches that at New Year's but nobody in Freddy Frinton's home country has ever heard of Miss Sophie's birthday party. (I am just guessing you probably have :) )

    When I left Austria I didn't have a patriotic bone in my body but I think I am getting that way. I've been here for so long I am starting to paint "the old country" in pink :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Emily_RubySlippersFebruary 09, 2011

    The pictures of your dad are great, what wonderful images to have in the family! And I like the sound of this Kasperle, much better than Punch. I agree with Oranges and Apples that these posts make me nostalgic, though I haven't an Austrian bone in my body. I love getting second-hand experiences through you, however!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have a huge fear of anything puppet or doll relatedd. But I have to admit, this is undeniably amazing and really well done!

    Thanks for the comment :)
    Love,
    Maggie
    life-size-paperdoll.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow, those pictures of your Dad are so special! Great post, thanks for sharing such a wonderful memory from your childhood :)
    M xo

    ReplyDelete
  8. i love that you talk about your life and childhood in these posts, it evokes such nostalgia! what cool puppets. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. that last photo. . .wow. it's so incredible. wow.
    That's really cute that you melted every time you were troublesome. I don't think I could have done such a thing. I was baddddddd and would kick and scream and cry to get my way. ugh. I love these dolls.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, I kicked and screamed alright - Kasperl was the last resort :D

    ReplyDelete
  11. How neat! Love the old pictures of your dad with the toy and then the very modern one of you in face paint with him.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Emily, Resplendent TranquilityFebruary 11, 2011

    How neat! I love the culture you share on your blog, Stef. Especially those little bits I would probably never have encountered otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wonderful, nostalgic post. My cat puppet was far less dramatic and photogenic than Kasperle...but she did go on to star in a version of Twelfth Night!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is such a beautiful and charmingly nostalgic post. The puppets are gorgeous, and such a testament to genuine, detailed craftsmanship. I also love reading about your personal and familial attachment to them; so cute. The pictures of your father are stunning! (By the way, I found your post via Beautifully Invisible's Link Love series - thanks for a wonderful diversion!)

    ReplyDelete
  15. These are totally amazing!! Those scary painted faces - I would listen too!!

    I just finished reading 'The Children's Book', by A.S.Byatt (which was wonderful - I highly recommend it), she features 19thC German puppeteers. I would love to learn more about the history of puppetry in Germany/Austria - it sounds completely magical.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a wonderful story.Thank you so much for sharing it my friend.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    ReplyDelete
  17. oranges_and_applesMarch 18, 2011

    You know, your posts always make me feel nostalgic! It's funny, I don't really feel that German(speaking) now, but all it takes is someone to remind me of one of these kinds of things and I get a little sad that any children I'll have will miss out on all this stuff. I know they'll get other stuff instead, but it's not *mine* in the way Kasperle is.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I just recently completely went off on one with a French colleauge because she knew lots of Nippon animation series that were really big when I grew up but nobody has heard of round here.

    Also Dinner for One seems to be an odd regional thing. Don't you think it is crazy half the world watches that at New Year's but nobody in Freddy Frinton's home country has ever heard of Miss Sophie's birthday party. (I am just guessing you probably have :) )

    When I left Austria I didn't have a patriotic bone in my body but I think I am getting that way. I've been here for so long I am starting to paint "the old country" in pink :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have a huge fear of anything puppet or doll relatedd. But I have to admit, this is undeniably amazing and really well done!

    Thanks for the comment :)
    Love,
    Maggie
    life-size-paperdoll.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow, those pictures of your Dad are so special! Great post, thanks for sharing such a wonderful memory from your childhood :)
    M xo

    ReplyDelete
  21. i love that you talk about your life and childhood in these posts, it evokes such nostalgia! what cool puppets. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Nice blog.
    permission to put on my site?
    http://look10.blogspot.com/
    Section vintage...
    JOIN TO
    http://look10.blogspot.com/2010/02/formulario-de-inscripcion.html
    Greetings.
    Your country, please.??
    Vicen.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Emily_RubySlippersMarch 18, 2011

    The pictures of your dad are great, what wonderful images to have in the family! And I like the sound of this Kasperle, much better than Punch. I agree with Oranges and Apples that these posts make me nostalgic, though I haven't an Austrian bone in my body. I love getting second-hand experiences through you, however!

    ReplyDelete
  24. that last photo. . .wow. it's so incredible. wow.
    That's really cute that you melted every time you were troublesome. I don't think I could have done such a thing. I was baddddddd and would kick and scream and cry to get my way. ugh. I love these dolls.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh, I kicked and screamed alright - Kasperl was the last resort :D

    ReplyDelete
  26. How neat! Love the old pictures of your dad with the toy and then the very modern one of you in face paint with him.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Stef, LOOK will be on 10 # (Look 1890) and also in vintage collection (page 15), I have chosen this URL to vintage:
    http://i619.photobucket.com/albums/tt278/shallowmallow/indoors01.jpg
    I hope you enjoy.
    Regards Vicente.

    ReplyDelete
  28. of course I will link to your site.
    It is very nice.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  29. Emily, Resplendent TranquilityMarch 18, 2011

    How neat! I love the culture you share on your blog, Stef. Especially those little bits I would probably never have encountered otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Wonderful, nostalgic post. My cat puppet was far less dramatic and photogenic than Kasperle...but she did go on to star in a version of Twelfth Night!

    ReplyDelete
  31. This is such a beautiful and charmingly nostalgic post. The puppets are gorgeous, and such a testament to genuine, detailed craftsmanship. I also love reading about your personal and familial attachment to them; so cute. The pictures of your father are stunning! (By the way, I found your post via Beautifully Invisible's Link Love series - thanks for a wonderful diversion!)

    ReplyDelete
  32. These are totally amazing!! Those scary painted faces - I would listen too!!

    I just finished reading 'The Children's Book', by A.S.Byatt (which was wonderful - I highly recommend it), she features 19thC German puppeteers. I would love to learn more about the history of puppetry in Germany/Austria - it sounds completely magical.

    ReplyDelete
  33. oranges_and_applesAugust 24, 2011

    You know, your posts always make me feel nostalgic! It's funny, I don't really feel that German(speaking) now, but all it takes is someone to remind me of one of these kinds of things and I get a little sad that any children I'll have will miss out on all this stuff. I know they'll get other stuff instead, but it's not *mine* in the way Kasperle is.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I just recently completely went off on one with a French colleauge because she knew lots of Nippon animation series that were really big when I grew up but nobody has heard of round here.

    Also Dinner for One seems to be an odd regional thing. Don't you think it is crazy half the world watches that at New Year's but nobody in Freddy Frinton's home country has ever heard of Miss Sophie's birthday party. (I am just guessing you probably have :) )

    When I left Austria I didn't have a patriotic bone in my body but I think I am getting that way. I've been here for so long I am starting to paint "the old country" in pink :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Emily_RubySlippersAugust 24, 2011

    The pictures of your dad are great, what wonderful images to have in the family! And I like the sound of this Kasperle, much better than Punch. I agree with Oranges and Apples that these posts make me nostalgic, though I haven't an Austrian bone in my body. I love getting second-hand experiences through you, however!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I have a huge fear of anything puppet or doll relatedd. But I have to admit, this is undeniably amazing and really well done!

    Thanks for the comment :)
    Love,
    Maggie
    life-size-paperdoll.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  37. Wow, those pictures of your Dad are so special! Great post, thanks for sharing such a wonderful memory from your childhood :)
    M xo

    ReplyDelete
  38. i love that you talk about your life and childhood in these posts, it evokes such nostalgia! what cool puppets. :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Nice blog.
    permission to put on my site?
    http://look10.blogspot.com/
    Section vintage...
    JOIN TO
    http://look10.blogspot.com/2010/02/formulario-de-inscripcion.html
    Greetings.
    Your country, please.??
    Vicen.

    ReplyDelete
  40. of course I will link to your site.
    It is very nice.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hi Stef, LOOK will be on 10 # (Look 1890) and also in vintage collection (page 15), I have chosen this URL to vintage:
    http://i619.photobucket.com/albums/tt278/shallowmallow/indoors01.jpg
    I hope you enjoy.
    Regards Vicente.

    ReplyDelete
  42. that last photo. . .wow. it's so incredible. wow.
    That's really cute that you melted every time you were troublesome. I don't think I could have done such a thing. I was baddddddd and would kick and scream and cry to get my way. ugh. I love these dolls.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Oh, I kicked and screamed alright - Kasperl was the last resort :D

    ReplyDelete
  44. How neat! Love the old pictures of your dad with the toy and then the very modern one of you in face paint with him.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Emily, Resplendent TranquilityAugust 24, 2011

    How neat! I love the culture you share on your blog, Stef. Especially those little bits I would probably never have encountered otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Wonderful, nostalgic post. My cat puppet was far less dramatic and photogenic than Kasperle...but she did go on to star in a version of Twelfth Night!

    ReplyDelete
  47. This is such a beautiful and charmingly nostalgic post. The puppets are gorgeous, and such a testament to genuine, detailed craftsmanship. I also love reading about your personal and familial attachment to them; so cute. The pictures of your father are stunning! (By the way, I found your post via Beautifully Invisible's Link Love series - thanks for a wonderful diversion!)

    ReplyDelete
  48. What a wonderful story.Thank you so much for sharing it my friend.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    ReplyDelete