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Gertha

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Performer:
Gertha
Design Team:
Ron Mueck • (designer)
Rollie Krewson • (builder)
Gerthasketch

Gertha is one of the stars of "DragonTime" as seen in the Puppetman pilot. Aptly described in the script as "an ugly battle-axe," Gertha is a rotund, bitterly sarcastic dragon, with two horns and an earring, who resides with the other puppets in the DragonTime Castle. Gertha is in some ways the Oscar the Grouch or Statler and Waldorf of "DragonTime," offering a sharp counterpoint to the prevailing sweetness and light. Gertha saves most of her ill-humor and jibes for when the show goes off the air, constantly insulting hostess Rita, at one point calling her a tramp. Though Gertha has a puppeteer, Del, she seems to have a mind of her own, often arguing with him, and represents the cynical, insulting side of his personality, as opposed to Earl. Both Gertha and Del suffer their greatest moment of humiliation when forced to cheerfully sing "You Are My Sunshine" with Rita.

As evidenced by the shooting script, a few of Gertha's jibes were deemed either too harsh or too non-sequitur for use. When insulting Rita's strapless evening gown, after the hostess claimed she was trying to add a little glamour, in the aired version, Gertha retorts, "It's a children's show, not a bachelor party." In the original shooting script, her reply was the more offbeat, slightly off color, "Then how do you explain the edible underwear?"

Gertha is a Live-Hand Muppet, though Del operates her solo by only moving her left arm. She is also equipped with a device enabling her to breathe smoke in Rita's face. In the original script, it's implied through dialogue that Gertha is the mother of Cinders, and disapproves of Butane and Earl.

The puppet was re-used in the Ghost of Faffner Hall episode "Music Brings Us Together" as the mother of a tourist dragon family which played on sea shells with Steve Turre, and as a Miss Galaxy Pageant judge in episode 101 of The Jim Henson Hour.

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