OK, you old timers, time to dust out your memory a little bit and help me out.
I remember watching The Ed Sullivan Show back in the 1960s’s. Many of the earlier shows I saw in black & white, but the later shows were all in color.
I also remember seeing Topo Gigio, the talking mouse, on the show quite often. Although he was a puppet, the puppeteers did a very good job and the effect was quite impressive. The charactor would walk across his little stage and sit down on Ed’s arm. The puppet was very expressive and had minute movements that gave it the illusion of a real creature.
Now, sometimes Topo would talk about his girlfriend, Rosie, or entice the stoic Ed Sullivan to kiss him goodnight, but I recall that Topo’s cheeks would visably blush.
Do I remember this right? I find no mention of this detail in Wikipedia, but I remember that the embarrased puppet would blush. Anybody else recall this?
I suppose you could have done it with lights focused on the cheeks?
But I don’t think so:
“*During the 1960s, the American TV audience was charmed by the antics of the adorable mouse, Topo Gigio, on the long-running CBS-TV variety show The Ed Sullivan Show. Created by a highly creative troupe of Italian puppeteers, it took four people to bring the 10” tall character to life, three to manipulate him and one to create his sweet voice. The puppet stood in a special “limbo” black art stage with black velvet curtains, designed to absorb as much ambient light as possible, which helped hide the puppeteers, who also dressed in black from head to toe. Each puppeteer operated a different part of Topo’s foam rubber body by using several wooden dowel rods (also painted black). The illusion was quite remarkable, since unlike traditional hand puppets, Topo Gigio could actually appear to walk on his feet, sing, make subtle hand gestures, and even walk up Ed Sullivan’s arm and perch on his shoulder. Careful lighting and TV camera adjustment made the “black art” illusion perfect for the television audience, though on at least one appearance, Ed asked the puppeteers to come out and take a bow, revealing their black-clad appearance (though deftly hiding Topo’s mechanisms to conceal the secret).
In more than fifty appearances on the show, the little Italian mouse would appear on stage and greet Ed with a sugary “Hello Eddie!”. Topo also was quite the lover, often speaking of his girlfriend “Rosie”, but the enduring image is how Topo ended his weekly visits, literally crooning to the host, “Eddie, Keesa me goo’night!”."