John Jewell, who represents the fourth generation of puppeteers in the family, said that puppets under the direction of his mother danced before the crowned heads of the world and performed on the stage of the old Palace Theater, and Oscar Hammersteinís famous Opera House during vaudevilleís prime.
From the now demolished Hippodrome to London, then to Australia and New Zealand and then back to Chicago, Ill., went the Jewell Puppets. Fifty years ago the act appeared at a command performance before Queen Wilhelmina on her 50th birthday in the capital of the Netherlands.
In addition to saving the programs from theaters in New Your City, which in their day were the goals of every vaudeville act, the Jewells also have memories of actors who in the past were obscure, but today are known to everyone.
The act, for example, once missed a performance at the State Lake Theater in Chicago as a result of a railroad accident. Something had to be done to replace the puppet show on the program, an obscure violinist to fill in the time. Today the obscure violinist, Jack Benny, is known more for his gags than his ability as a violinist.
The longest jump the act ever made came in 1918 when the company moved from Indianapolis to Melbourne, Australia, a 10,000-mile trip.
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