Thursday, October 05, 2006

Legless Muppets Teach Afghan Kids Land Mine Safety

The Christian Science Monitor reports that two of Jim Henson's original muppet-making team have joined forces with charities to educate Afghani children on the dangers of land mines strewn across the war torn landscape.
The original intent was to use the puppet/marionette hybrids in a story called "The Little Carpet Boy" — based loosely on the story of Pinocchio — but as the muppeteers unpacked their props in front of crowd of small children in downtown Kabul, it became clear that no storyline was needed.
"All of a sudden there was this god-awful wail," said Dan Jenks who voices Khalid the carpet boy and Elmer the Humvee driver. "And when I looked up, all I could see was a crowd of little brown faces with these wide, wide eyes." Jenks said the children were scared by the sight of the legless muppets lying on the ground.
"It freaked 'em out pretty hard so I seized the opportunity," Jenks said. "I told 'em they lost the legs because they didn't watch where they were going. Boy they turned greener than Kermit on a merry-go-round."
Jeanette Procopio, who voices the Ingrid the Red Cross nurse, Condi Rice and Heather Mills puppets, said she thought teaching life lessons through puppetry would be more difficult. "But these kids really seem to be taking the message to heart."

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