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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release November 24, 2010

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

Duane & Floppy Film Festival returns in December

Duane Ellett and beagle puppet, Floppy, entertained Iowa audiences 1957-87

Visit http://www.thefloppyshow.com/!!!

(DES MOINES) – Two of Iowa’s most beloved television icons make their triumphant return next month to the State Historical Building in Des Moines.

The second “Duane & Floppy Film Festival” will be Dec. 28-30, 2010, at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Show times are 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. all three days. Tickets are $8 per person, $5 for children 12 and younger and seniors 65 and older. Tickets will be available only at the door one hour prior to show time.

The film 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 film features a one-hour compilation of programs put together by the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.

“This year’s program includes footage not seen anywhere in 40 years, plus a couple of the more popular segments from last year’s presentation,” said Dr. Jeff Stein, administrator of the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting and producer of the program. “Audiences will also see Floppy fans sharing some their most cherished memories and, of course, special cartoons.”

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 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.

“For those who grew up in Central Iowa during those three decades, Duane Ellett and Floppy were the Nickelodeon and Cartoon Channel of their day,” 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.”

Last year, nearly every screening of the “Duane & Floppy Film Festival” sold out, and a limited supply of vintage-designed Duane & Floppy t-shirts was depleted within days.

T-shirts will be available for purchase again this year in the Iowa Museum Store. In addition, the all-new DVD “Floppy & The Stars,” the second DVD in the “Duane & Floppy Collection,” will be on sale for the first time at this year’s festival. The new DVD features visits to “The Floppy Show” by celebrities such as Bill Cosby and Adam “Batman” West. The first volume in the DVD series, “Where’s Floppy?,” will also be on sale.

Following is this year’s Duane & Floppy Film Festival schedule:

  • 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010, includes special program with Dr. Jeff Stein, administrator of the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting at Wartburg College       
  • 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010, includes special program with Dr. Jeff Stein, administrator of the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting at Wartburg College
  • 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010
  • 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010
  • 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010
  • 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010

Film festival audiences will also be able to see Duane & Floppy memorabilia on display, and the State Historical Museum’s permanent exhibit, “Where’s Floppy?,” that features Floppy himself and other puppets created by Ellett.

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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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