Eighty five year old Richard McClead made his puppets from the 1950s through the 1990s. He still lives in a tiny town in Ohio on the property where he has his puppet barn, but stopped making puppets and doing shows sometime after the death of his second wife.
McClead is a retired school teacher who used his puppets in the classroom,doing wholesome shows for his students. Throughout history, puppet shows haveoften been violent… in the Punch and Judy tradition. But Richard saw enough violence in Germany in World War 2 and preferred humorous, educational andmusical shows. McClead did classical shows like Peter and the Wolf and Beauty and the Beast, but he also wrote original scripts. An accomplished musician, he wrotemusic for his shows which he recorded on cassettes, playing the harmonica, guitar and keyboard parts himself.
McClead carved his marionettes from basswood, made all of their clothing and devised ingenious controllers to give them very lifelike movements. Those who have seen him operate them remark on his ability to make the puppets come to life.
Our Harry Underwood show will continue on the walls through Dec. 31st.