Puppets Casey and Finnegan

Judith Lawrence with puppets Casey and Finnegan on Hornby Island. Grant Lawrence (no relation), Canadian broadcaster, and son Josh visited her. Photo by Jill Barber

Judith Lawrence with her puppets Casey and Finnegan on Hornby Island.
Grant Lawrence (no relation), Canadian broadcaster, and son Josh visited her.
Photo by Jill Barber

Puppets Casey and Finnegan
alive and well on Hornby Island
Adapted by cbc.ca by Nancy Carson
Level 2

Listen to Casey and Finnegan– Level 2
Reading by Jessica Heafey

For 27 years, a little child and a dog
made many Canadian children very happy.
Casey, the child, and Finnegan,
the dog, were puppets.
They were part of a CBC Television show.
The show was called “Mr. Dressup”.
Mr. Dressup was a man called Ernie Coombs.
The puppeteer was Judith Lawrence.

Mr. Dressup with Casey and Finnegan Photo by Wikipedia Casey and Finnegan

Mr. Dressup with Casey and Finnegan
Photo by Wikipedia

Casey and Finnegan
No one knew if Casey was a boy or a girl.
Judith knew that both boys
and girls watched the show.
Judith said kids asked her,
“Is Casey a boy or a girl?
“Well, what do you think?” she replied.
If children said “girl”, Judith said “yes”.
If they said “boy”, Judith said “yes.”
Finnegan did not speak.
He whispered to Casey and then
Casey said Finnegan’s words.

The tickle trunk in the CBC Museum, filled with things used in the show Photo by Sarah Sosiak/CC, Flickr

The tickle trunk in the CBC Museum, filled with things used in the show
Photo by Sarah Sosiak/CC, Flickr

Becoming a puppeteer
Judith was born in Australia.
When she was 12, she started making puppets.
And she gave them voices.
She had never seen a puppet show.
Later she decided to
become a puppeteer on TV.
People told her she needed
experience working overseas.
So at age 22, Judith moved to Canada .
She taught kindergarten for a while.
One day she got an invitation
to be a puppeteer on a new children’s program.

Ernie and Judith
Judith and Ernie ad-libbed
much of the dialogue or talking.
The producer told them a story.
Then Ernie and Judith
made up their own conversations.
Judith also made other puppets
for the show: Aunt Bird and Alligator Al.

Casey and Finnegan's Treehouse in CBC Museum Photo by Melanie J Watts/CC, Flickr

Casey and Finnegan’s Treehouse in CBC Museum
Photo by Melanie J Watts/CC, Flickr

Where are they now?
On TV, Casey and Finnegan lived in a treehouse.
That house is now in the CBC Museum in Toronto.
Where are Casey and Finnegan?
The puppets are on tiny Hornby Island,
100 kilometres northwest of Vancouver.
Judith says the puppets will go to Toronto
to the CBC Museum when she passes away.

Judith wrote many books for young people.
She received the Order of Canada
on October 18, 2001 for her services
to the performing arts in Canada.
Ernie passed away the same year.

Google Doodle on Nov. 26, 2012 "ErnieCoombsGoogleDoodle" Source: Wikipedia

Google Doodle on Nov. 26, 2012″ErnieCoombsGoogleDoodle”
Source: Wikipedia

Vocabulary:

  1. puppeteer: a person who operates, designs,
    or costumes puppets for puppet shows.
  2. ad-libbed: made up words while performing,
    instead of saying something planned

Links:

  1. Radio interview with Judith Lawrence:

2. Audio: “Mr. Dressup’s Casey and Finnegan”

3. Ernie Coombs is interviewed, shot of an old video of Mr. Dressup

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AW2ODXZ1Nss

4. Ten things to know about Mr. Dressup

5. Google Doodle of Ernie Coombs story/Only in Canada

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGmPHatWzeQ