University of Texas at Austin

Norman Bel Geddes Database

Job 124, Bluebeard, 1927-1930

Summary: This adaptation of the French folk tale about a violent nobleman was written by Gloria Dorcas Ruthenberg. The production was part of a partnership between Bel Geddes and the puppeteer Harry Burnett. Burnett had spent a few months in the winter of 1927 in Europe researching marionette theaters, and upon his return he engaged Geddes as the designer for a new production of Bluebeard "in a modern manner, with some music and ballet" (Harry Burnett, letter to Norman Bel Geddes, November 8,1927, Norman Bel Geddes Papers, Harry Ransom Center). Geddes designed the puppets, settings, lighting, costumes and properties for the play, giving it an oriental theme. The most elaborate puppet that Geddes designed for the production was the Javanese dancer, a puppet with 20 strings.

Bluebeard was staged and performed in the Mobile Marionette Theatre that Geddes also designed for Burnett. Harry Burnett's Marionettes, formerly the Yale Puppeteers, toured Geddes's Bluebeard and Hansel and Gretel around the northeastern United States in the mobile theater from 1928 to 1930. The puppeteers included Dorothy Scott, George Cotton, and Robert Cressy. The production also featured music by Forman Brown. Some of the puppets from Bluebeard were later hung on the celebrity wall of Harry Burnett's Turnabout Theatre in Hollywood, California.

Hunter Code: MA 1
Hunter Guide: page 108

Box/Location Folder Description
flat file b 1-2 Renderings --- 'Ariane'.
oversize box 21 b 3, 6 Renderings --- 10 Sketches animal and female puppets.
flat file b 4-5, 7 Renderings --- 12 Sketches of animal and male puppets.
theater box 96 c 1-2 Costume Renderings --- Photostats of sketches.
oversize box 21 c 3 Costume Renderings --- Photostats of sketches (continued).
theater box 96 c 4 Costume Renderings --- Photostats of sketches (continued).
flat file c 5a-c Costume Renderings --- 3 watercolors.
theater box 96 c 6 Costume specifications.
flat file d 1 Drawings --- Details.
theater box 96 e 1 Preliminary Sketches --- 5 Sketches.
flat file f 1-9 Drawings --- 9 Plans and elevations.
theater box 96 h 1 Photographs --- Rendering 'Ariane'.
negative box 38 h 2 Photographs --- 4 Negatives. [2 damaged]
theater box 96 h 3 Photographs --- Photos of Burnett's puppets.
theater box 96 i 1 Publicity --- Flyer. Clippings and transcripts 1930.
flat file i 2 Publicity --- Poster.
theater box 96 j 1 Correspondence --- NBG - Burnett 1927-1929.
flat file n 1-4 Photostats --- Puppet renderings.
theater box 96 n 5 Photograph of postcard advertisement.
theater box 96 n 6 Photostats --- Chouinard School of Art brochure.
flat file r 1 Drawings --- Properties.
flat file u 1 Drawing --- Lighting plot.