The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Tony Sarg — and Bobby Edwards

February 29th, 2012 · 5 Comments


I’m a great fan of Tony Sarg.  He’s perhaps best known today for his work on the first Macy’s Thanksgiving balloons; but he also made animated silhouette films, designed children’s books (often with elaborate inserts and paper engineering), mounted a memorable sea serpent hoax, and pioneered puppet theater in the US.  There’s not much about him on the Internet; a revival is in order.

I was delighted to find this film on YouTube, documenting one of his marionette shows from 1929.  It’s a charming piece, typical of the naive orientalism then in vogue.  To my surprise, it opens with a song (uncredited) by Bobby Edwards — one of his signature numbers, “The Sultan’s Wives Have Got the Hives (From Eating Anchovies and Chives).”  I’ve often seen it quoted, but never heard it.  Well, here it is, sung by a puppet character to his two donkeys.

(Posted by Doug Skinner.  Sarg’s self-portrait is from Tony Sarg’s Treasure Book, 1942.)

Tags: Bobby Edwards · Music

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lisa // Mar 1, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Great stuff, Doug – nice to see and hear this.

  • 2 Doug // Mar 1, 2012 at 1:15 am

    Some of his cartoons are on YouTube; they’re great, too.

  • 3 mamie // Mar 24, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    I like the walrus!

  • 4 Christine // Jun 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Sarg was brilliant. He designed a map for the 1939 World’s Fair and also had a booth at the Fair. I suspect that there are many projects/activities he was involved with that we will never know

  • 5 Doug // Jun 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    He had a shop in Nantucket, where he sold all sorts of objects he’d designed: toys, puzzles, puppets, ceramics, napkins, boxes…

    I’ll have to do a post on his toy books, which are ingenious and surprising.

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