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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release December 3, 2009

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

State Historical Society presents “Duane & Floppy Film Festival”

Duane Ellett and his puppet Floppy entertained Central Iowa children 1957-1987

(DES MOINES) – Two of Central Iowa’s most beloved television icons make a comeback for a limited time this month at the State Historical Building in Des Moines.

The State Historical Society of Iowa will present the “Duane & Floppy Film Festival” Dec. 29-30, 2009, at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Admission to the film festival is $5 at the door. Following is the schedule of show times:

  • 1 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009
  • 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009
  • 1 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009

The festival features television footage of Duane Ellett and his sidekick beagle puppet, Floppy, who performed together from 1957 to 1987 on “The Floppy Show” and other locally-produced television programs on WHO-TV in Des Moines. Supported by the Ellett family and WHO-TV, the festival features a one-hour compilation of programs put together by the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.

“For those who grew up in Central Iowa during that three-decade span, Duane Ellett and Floppy were the Nickelodeon and Cartoon Channel of their day,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Cyndi Pederson said. “I encourage grandparents and parents to bring their grandchildren and children to this program and share their fondest memories about Duane and Floppy.”

Ellett, who carved Floppy from balsa wood and brought him and other puppet characters to life through self-taught ventriloquism, created cherished memories for thousands of Iowa children who “beeped” Floppy’s nose for luck and told riddles such as “What’s the biggest pencil in the world? Pennsylvania.” The programs also featured vintage cartoons.

The Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009, evening show will include a brief program with Ross Lewis, co-creator of the Floppy Show Facebook page that has more than 10,000 members, and Dr. Jeff Stein, who oversees the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting. Additional highlights include:

  • Official film festival vintage Floppy T-shirts, $20
  • Floppy Show DVD + Christmas episode for sale
  • “Floppy Flashback” Oral History Project: audience members can share memories of Floppy for posterity as part of the State Historical Museum and Archives of Iowa Broadcasting collections

Visitors to the State Historical Museum can see the “Where’s Floppy?” exhibit, which has been on display since 1994. The exhibit features the most comprehensive collection of Floppy items anywhere, including Floppy himself.

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The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa's historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa's past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa's historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.

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