Puppets Casey and Finnegan
alive and well on Hornby Island
Adapted by cbc.ca by Nancy Carson
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.
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.
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.
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.
- puppeteer: a person who operates, designs,
or costumes puppets for puppet shows.
- ad-libbed: made up words while performing,
instead of saying something planned
- 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
5. Google Doodle of Ernie Coombs story/Only in Canada