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Wednesday, March 31, 2010
For what it's worth - for the first time ever, since I have been tracking this, "jeff pickens" was not at the top of the list:
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Sandy Becker’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ To Be Re-Imagined using his original puppets from the lost 1961 production.
Almost 50 years after it’s original airing, and now lost to the ages (as were many early TV productions from the 1950’s and 60’s), Flexitoon – one of the premiere puppet production companies in the country – has signed up to ‘re-imagine’ the original production of Sandy Becker’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ with production costs backed by members of the crowd-funding Web site kickstarter.com.
Sandy Becker was a television announcer, actor, comedian and puppeteer who hosted several popular children's programs in New York City, the best known was The Sandy Becker Morning Show, which ran from 1955 to 1968 on Channel 5 WABD-TV and WNEW-TV. Becker believed that one of the highlights of his career was his December 23, 1961 interpretation of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, performed by his resident troupe of puppets, with GEEBA GEEBA as Scrooge. Unearthing a copy of this lost classic remains the holy grail for many fans and collectors.
“To millions of Baby Boomers who grew up in the Metro NY area, the name SANDY BECKER is magic!” said Flexitoon Partner Craig Marin. Marin, who was profoundly influenced by Becker as a child later become his protege, and friend. When Sandy Becker passed away, he bequeathed his puppets to Marin, with the mandate to "re-imagine" the ‘Sandy Becker Christmas Carol’ as a gift to "his kids." Those plans which have been on hold since Becker’s death in 1996, have been reignited with the prospect of funding by a traditionally unlikely source - his fans.
Through the urging of Sandy Becker fan Jeff Pickens, who proudly lists himself as “one of Sandy’s kids” and came up with the idea of using Kickstarter as a funding source, Marin was convinced that a modest, but sufficient of budget of $30,000 could be raised by tapping into the hearts (and wallets), of other grown up “Sandy’s kids”.
The project is now live (http://bit.ly/c3HeYf ) on Kickstarter.com and features an original Flexitoon video explaining the project with Flexitoon characters Harried Harry and Lucky Jack that’s designed to unabashedly pry pledges ranging from $10 to $500 from enthusiastic backers.
FLEXITOON is a company that for thirty years has specialized in television, film and stage, creating and performing award-wining puppets, marionettes, and programming for Nickelodeon ("Pinwheel"), PBS ("Shining Time Station"), FOX ("DJ Kat Show") and Showtime ("KIDS-TV"). Their "Talking Stain" for TIDE was voted the # 1 Funniest Office Commercial in the World, and the #3 Super Bowl commercial of all time. For more information please visit: www.flexitoon.com
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
In today's digital age, where everything that is written, photographed, and otherwise recorded, is forever. If it's on the internet, you can find it. It's hard to believe that this was not always the case.
We are talking, in particular, about the kids' TV shows of the early 1960's, hosted by such giants and legends of broadcasting as Chuck McCann, Sonny Fox, Soupy Sales, and most of all, Sandy Becker.
Sandy Becker hosted a daily kids show, broadcast live on WNEW-TV, Channel 5. Any fifty-something Boomer who grew up in the greater NYC area in the 1960's watching TV, remembers being entertained by Sandy Becker, and his cohort of characters and puppets. These shows were broadcast live, recorded on kinescope (the pre-cursor to videotape), saved for a short time, then erased and taped over for the next show.
This includes Sandy Becker's 1961 rendition of "A Christmas Carol", starring his ensemble of puppets, including Geeba Geeba as Scrooge, and Sir Clive Clyde as Bob Cratchit. Anyone hoping to get their hands on a video of this original show is out of luck.
However, New York City based Craig Marin, of Flexitoon puppet studio, has a plan. Marin was a friend and protege of Sandy Becker and inherited Becker's puppets when he died in 1996. "Sandy was a mentor, and we often talked about and planned to remake his Christmas Carol," says Marin, who began his career as a puppeteer and ventriloquist as a teenager. "But sadly, when he passed away, plans were put on old. However, now is the chance to realize Sandy's dream for Boomers and beyond. Our vision is to produce a re-imagining of Sandy Becker’s Christmas Carol, using all the original puppets!"
This will be a 21st Century rendition of the classic show, using the original puppets, new sets, high-def cinematography, and state of the art special effects and editing. In order to finance this project, Craig and Flexitoon, with the assistance of Jeff Pickens (disclosure: the author is a collaborator on this project), have launched a project on Kickstarter, an all-or-nothing funding platform for artists who seek backing for their projects. Potential backers pledge a dollar amount, and with the pledges come premiums, the higher the pledge, the sweeter the premium. No money changes hands until the project is fully funded by pledges.
To learn more about this project, please go to the Kickstarter project page at http://bit.ly/c3HeYf. Read the project description, and the updates, for everything you need to know about this exciting project.
For those of us who remember this program, this was tantamount to a kids' version of Woodstock. With the 50th anniversary approaching, this DVD would make a wonderful gift, an instant Holiday classic you can enjoy with your kids, grandkids, and generations to come!
Geeba Geeba sez: BECOME A BECKER BACKER!
You can help make this happen by becoming a Becker Backer and making a pledge on the Kickstarter site.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
FLEXITOON PRESENTS SANDY BECKER'S CHRISTMAS CAROL
OK, here's the deal folks, we need $30,000 by 5/1/10 to make this happen. We launched the project on Kickstarter and got off to a good start, 7 backers and $500 over the first two days. Not bad, but we need much more.
So, if we get 300 people to each kick in $100, or 600 people to each kick in $50, or some combination thereof, we're in. This will be a top-quality production by Flexitoon, one of the premier puppet studios in the country. A DVD the whole family can enjoy.
So, please help us out, here's the link:
And you can join the Facebook Fan Page
Geeba Geeba, Norton Nork, and the Big Professor thank you!