Des Moines — A special guest will be at this Saturday's "Duane & Floppy Film Festival" in Des Moines, and those who plan to attend the event could not be happier.
Iowa television icon Floppy himself will be on display at the Iowa Hall of Pride, the site of the event, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8. This marks only the second public appearance of the beloved children's show puppet since a long-time exhibit at the State Historical Museum featuring Floppy and other creations of WHO radio and television personality Duane Ellett was taken down last summer.
“We are honored that Floppy is going to make a special visit to the 'Duane & Floppy Film Festival',” Iowa Hall of Pride director Jack Lashier said. “This is a unique opportunity for Iowans to see and learn more about Floppy and the Hall of Pride all at one time.”
In response to public demand, a second showing of the film festival has been added. Showings will now be held at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The 2014 edition of the "Duane & Floppy Film Festival" contains 90 minutes worth of material from the famous central Iowa duo who entertained thousands through their daily programs on WHO-TV and personal appearances throughout the state. It marks the first time Duane & Floppy's work has been shown in public in more than three years.
The film festivals are produced by award-winning Iowa broadcast historian Jeff Stein, who has worked with WHO television for the past six years preserving footage from the television shows. Stein has created three separate DVDs of Duane & Floppy material, including an original one-hour retrospective of the duo's long career.
The DVDs, as well as retro-style official Floppy t-shirts and vintage publicity photos, will be available for purchase at the film festival. They are also available online at www.TotallyIowa.com and www.TheFloppyShow.com.
In 1957, Ellett was asked to create a puppet for Channel 13's "Pet Corner" program as a device to help children understand how to care for their pets. The multi-talented Ellett taught himself ventriloquism, carved a beagle puppet out of balsa wood...and Floppy was born.
Soon Duane & Floppy had their own daily cartoon programs, "The Floppy Show" and "Duane & Friend", as well as various weekend shows such as the "S.S. Popeye" and "Floppytown Gazette". The pair would also make as many as 200 personal appearances a year in cities and towns across Iowa, including annual performances at the Iowa State Fair that drew large crowds.
Just a few weeks after celebrating their 30th anniversary in 1987, Duane Ellett died of a heart attack. Since 1993, Floppy and other puppets created by Ellett have been cared for by officials at the State Historical Museum in Des Moines, who agreed to make Floppy available for display at Saturday's event, which is the second in a series of film festivals to be held in various cities this year.
Advance tickets may be purchased at the Iowa Hall of Pride, 330 Park St., Des Moines, for $5.00 per person. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to support programming and exhibits at the Iowa Hall of Pride. Tickets may also be reserved by calling (515) 564-8507.