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A scene from upcoming DVD

A scene from Buttons The Dresser from the Best of  Season 3 and 4.

Best of Season 3 and 4 Cover

Coming Sept 21st, 2010 – a new Puppets Who Kill DVD release.

It’s The Best of Season 3 and 4 – a special 2 CD set.

All our Puppets Who Kill DVDs are available on Laffstock.

Show Order for New DVD Set

For those of you who are curious what will be on the new ‘Best of Season 3 and 4’ DVD set, here is the episode line-up:

Season 4 Disc –

Joyride
Dan and the Garden Shears
Mr. Big
Dan is Dead
Buttons and the Make a Wish Foundation
Bill and the Berkowitzs
The Rival House

Season 3 Disc –

Buttons on a Hot Tin Roof
Cuddles the Manchurian Candidate
Buttons the Dresser
The Lovely Fred
Dan and the New Neighbour
The CBC is Killing again

While it’s always a shaky proposition to declare that anything is your best – these episodes certainly have among them some of the finest we ever made. And they are certainly some of the most expansive and varied shows we ever did. A number of them were singled out for Gemini award nominations [and winning them on occasion], and several were very favorably reviewed in the press.

No doubt some favorites were left out….but for those of you who are already fans, we think you’ll enjoy re-acquainting yourself with these episodes. For those of you not as familiar with Puppets Who Kill, these episodes are a great place to dive in.

John Pattison – Puppets Who Kill

In Development – Puppets Who Kill – The Movie

John Pattison and PWK Productions, the producers and owners of Puppets Who Kill, are pleased to announce that we are in development for Puppets Who Kill – The Movie.

PWK Productions has been collaborating with Telefilm – the film production branch of the government – for the past while on working to develop this project.

‘It’s very exciting to be in development for a feature film of Puppets Who Kill’ says John Pattison, founding creator and showrunner of the series. ‘We always felt it had good possibilities for the big screen.’

‘The movie has been in development for some time’ says John, ‘but we did not feel it was the right time to announce anything until now. There has been speculation and talk that this was in the works for the past couple of years. We now want to confirm that those rumours are true.’

The Puppets Who Kill movie script is being written by John Pattison.

We do hope to announce more exciting news about this project very soon – so stay tuned.

Here it is: we answer some of your frequently asked questions

We get asked a lot of questions about the shows from our fans.
Here are some answers to questions we get asked frequently – plus some cool trivia.

We hope you enjoy it.

WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT HOW THE SHOW WAS MADE?

One of the things that made this series work was the way in which it was produced by John Pattison and Shawn Thompson. Pattison and Thompson have known each other since their days as stand-up comedians at Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto in the 80’s. Puppets Who Kill was their first collaboration together. Pattison did most of the writing, Thompson did most of the directing. Shawn was responsible for many of the stylistic elements that found their way into the series and gave the show a unique visual language that suited the scripts. It was this close way of working together that made the show unique.

Trivia Note: Shawn Thompson, by the way, has a very wide ranging resume. He has done everything from being a star of the soap opera Guiding Light, to appearing in the John Water’s movie Hairspray [as Corny Collins], to co-hosting the Joan Rivers show for one week.

More trivia: That’s Shawn Thompson’s voice doing the intro voice-over for the show.

We also made use of an extraordinarily large cast of additional actors – something quite unique in Canadian television. Every season we used some 80 guest actors – and because Toronto has many fine actors we had access to some of the finest people in Canada. We got some fantastic and memorable performances over the years from all these guest actors on the series.

We also used many people who are used to working in feature film on this series. Everyone from our editor [Caroline Christie] to our sound designer [Dan Pellerin] to our music [Carlos Lopes] and our Line Producer/Supervising Producer Colin Brunton – we had a group of very talented people working on our show.

WHERE IS PUPPETS WHO KILL MADE?

The show was made in Toronto, Canada. We made no effort to hide this in the visuals of the series, in fact we saw it as a strength. We made a conscious effort to place the show in Toronto and show parts of the city. The show is full of Toronto references, particularly the streetcars we used in the wipes between scenes.

The series itself was shot in a studio downtown, but every season we went on location for two weeks to get the characters out of the house. In season 4 we shot on location in Hamilton, Ont. for two weeks.

WHERE IS THE HALFWAY HOUSE?

The house in the establishing shots is the house of a friend connected to the show. It is located close to downtown Toronto.

HOW DID THE SERIES GET STARTED?

Puppets Who Kill started out as a one-man comedy play created and performed by John Pattison. It starred Bill the evil ventriloquist dummy and a few other characters who evolved into the ones you see in the series.

WHO BUILT THE PUPPETS FOR THE SERIES?

The puppets came from different sources. Bill is a very old ventriloquist dummy from England, purchased by John Pattison in a junk shop in Toronto back in the 1980’s. Bill was in bad shape back then – in fact, his head was damaged and split open. Bill was restored by a very talented man named Geoff Felix in London, England. The other puppets were designed and built by various talented puppet builders in Toronto.

WHO WROTE THE EPISODES?

Most of the episodes were written by John Pattison.
Dan Redican was brought in to help the scripts where necessary, especially by adding gags and jokes to the scripts. Dan is a highly accomplished joke writer and came up with some fantastic jokes for the series. Dan also wrote some episodes of the series, which in turn were story edited by Pattison.

There was no one way of working on this series. Some of Pattison’s scripts have very little of Dan’s work in them…a few have quite a few of Dan’s gags in them. Conversely, some of Dan’s scripts have a lot of John Pattison’s story plotting and writing in them….some have almost none.

It might be a good time to mention that Puppets Who Kill was never conceived of as a sitcom – something a number of TV reviewers fail to notice. The show was never intended to be too ‘gaggy.’ Puppets Who Kill was an attempt at a form that has become more common in TV since it first came out: It is a hybrid of a drama with comedic elements.

WHO ARE THE ACTORS WHO PLAY THE CHARACTERS? HOW DID THEY GET CAST IN THE SERIES?

Dan Redican [who plays Dan] has long been on the comedy scene in Toronto. He is best known for being a member of the comedy group ‘The Frantics.’ John Pattison had worked on the same bill with the Frantics many times and had been a fan of theirs for years. Dan brought the right quality to the character Dan, playing the put-upon straight man to these awful characters.

All the puppets in the show were performed by comedians and puppeteers who John had known for many years.

Bruce Hunter [Rocko] is a very talented improvisational comedian/poet/songwriter and former member of Second City. Pattison thought Bruce would be perfect for Rocko – he had the right attitude and energy for the part.

Trivia note: That’s Bruce playing the cop in season one who Cuddles punches and he falls out of the tower to his death.

More Trivia: You can check out some of Bruce’s poetry and music on You Tube. He recorded them under the name Dumigod. Check it out.

Jim Rankin [Buttons] is a hugely accomplished actor and puppeteer. He is especially adept at character voices. Buttons was actually written with him in mind to play.

Gord Robertson [Bill] was given the part of Bill, which was originally going to be played by Pattison himself – who originally created the character and the voice. Pattison found that being showrunner/writer was already a fulltime job and brought Gord in to assume the role of Bill. He did a tremendous job – adding a lot of wonderful stuff to the character. Gord and John Pattison have known each other since the Fraggle Rock days in Toronto back in the 80’s.

Bob Martin [Cuddles] is a Second City comedian/writer. Although Bob has no puppet experience he was perfect to play the part. He has such a gentle delivery and simplicity in the way he plays the part – it just made the character come alive. Bob is one of the busiest men in Canadian entertainment. He is a writer/actor on the acclaimed series Slings and Arrows, and is one of the creators/writers of the wildly successful Broadway hit The Drowsy Chaperone.

Trivia note: Bob puts in a small appearance as an actor in season one in the episode Dash the Greeter.

More Trivia: Bob’s unavailability for Season 4 necessitated John Pattison to play Cuddles for that season, and Bob dubbed the voice in later.

For Jerry Juhl –

In March ’07, there was a tribute for Jerry Juhl in New York City.

Jerry, of course, was the gifted writer behind so much of the Muppets work, including The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Jim Henson Hour and many fine films.

The Canadian contingent that night consisted of myself [John Pattison] and Larry Mirkin, one of the producers of Fraggle Rock. People gathered and shared stories about Jerry and we talked about the part he played in our lives.

Jerry Juhl was kind enough to give me my first scriptwriting job in television as a co-writer of ‘The Wizard of Fraggle Rock’ episode of the Fraggle series. I was a puppeteer on the show, but I also pitched story ideas Jerry’s way and he was good enough to give me a shot when I pitched him this one. I have to say it was a bit of a leap of faith on Jerry’s part to do this – I had no professional experience as a TV writer at this point – but he teamed me up with Jocelyn Stevenson and a script was produced. I’d like to think I carried my weight, but it was really Jerry and Jocelyn who patiently guided me through the process and did the heavy lifting. It was a real act of generosity on Jerry’s part to take the time to do this. Being a headwriter of a series is a lot of work, and the last thing you need is someone who is going to slow you down. But Jerry was patient and generous with his time to help nurture talent.

We had a Fraggle Rock reunion in Toronto some years ago, I think in ’03, and Jerry was there. I gave him a couple of copies of Puppets Who Kill to look at. I didn’t hear from him for the longest time and assumed he didn’t like it, but one day an e-mail arrived. It said something to the effect of: ‘I bet you thought I didn’t like your show and didn’t want to write you…but the truth is I’m just lousy at keeping up with my e-mails.’ Jerry went on to praise Puppets Who Kill in the most glowing terms, calling it brilliant. What more could you ask for than
praise from the master himself.

Apart from his fine writing gifts, Jerry was truly one of the finest persons you could hope to meet. He always had time for everyone, and never an unkind word for anyone.

john pattison
puppets who kill
jan/08

Puppets Who Kill on You Tube

There are now many clips of Puppets Who Kill on You Tube…and a few that have nothing to do with PWK but are using the name.

Here are a few of our favourites:

Buttons on a Hot Tin Roof – Season 3

Prostitutes For Jesus – Season 2

Joyride – Season 4

Bill Sues – Season 2

Dan and the Garden Shears – Season 4

Buttons the Dresser – Season 3

Dan and the Necrophiliac – Season 2

PWK cast member a star on Broadway

Bob Martin, who plays Cuddles the Comfort Doll on Puppets Who Kill,
has also been a star on Broadway for the past year and a half.

Bob is a writer/performer on the Tony Award winning Broadway hit show ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ which just closed Dec/07 at the Marquis Theatre. Bob also starred in the London West End version of the show. Drowsy Chaperone is now on a national tour throughout the U.S..

Congratulations to Bob for an incredible run.

Mark Breslin lauds Puppets Who Kill

Jan/08

Mark Breslin, Toronto-based founder of the Yuk Yuks chain of comedy clubs, local impressario and former talent co-ordinator on the Joan Rivers Show pays tribute to John Pattison and Puppets Who Kill in his most recent comedy column in the Toronto Post City Magazines.

Mark writes: “Locally, it’s John Pattison who should make us proud….his stewardship of the Comedy Network hit Puppets Who Kill earns him a
place in ventriloquist history. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s about
a bunch of miscreant puppets who live in a halfway house and lie, cheat
and steal every chance they get. Hilariously funny.”

a message from John Pattison – writer/founding creator

Jan/08

Greetings to Puppets Who Kill fans everywhere and a happy 2008 to all of you…welcome to our pwk productions website – now up and running since Sept ’07. The main Puppets Who Kill site has now been updated for you, and all new postings and news from here on in will take place at this site. Sorry to take so long to update the site…too much to do and too little time…we hope to do better in the future.

First off: We’ve made 4 seasons of Puppets Who Kill and had a blast doing it. I hope you’ve had as much fun watching the show as we have had making it. I really appreciate the support and kind words you’ve sent our way over the past four seasons…so a big thank you from all of us here at Puppets Who Kill….

Stay tuned. There may be some more PWK information coming along shortly.

all the best

John Pattison