That Christmas my wife Vicki got me a book called hand puppet magic by Ian Adair and it gave me loads of ideas from set ups to routines which really helped me decide on everything I was going to do.
The next thing to decide on was where I was going to get a rabbit puppet from, I had a look on Google and lots of versions came up but they were children’s toys and didn’t look how I imagined it would. They were also not practical and too small. For a while I considered getting a wooden head version like in Punch and Judy but decided to keep the two separate. I asked friends in the entertainment business and they recommended a few puppet makers and let me tell you a professional puppet is not cheap. Yes, it is made of just material but it is a specialised skill, I got quoted £2701 by one maker. I looked around and came across two people whose puppets stood out to me their work was unique and I liked that, they were professional and friendly. Sadly, one was out of my price range so went with the other company but I didn’t regret it.
Here is an example of why collecting puppets can be an expensive hobby. This Fizzgig puppet from Jim Henson's Labyrinth sold in the region of £8,000 - 10,000
What was this character going to look like? I already had a cartoon rabbit on my website and promotional material. At the time I needed something that said I did magic in an image so drew a rabbit in a hat simple. I gave the designer this picture as a starting point and told him a few specific things I wanted the puppet to have and left him to it. The maker kept me up to date on the building process because I am intrigued in how it is all done and after a few trial and errors on his side it was done. Now I am getting excited.
While the puppet was being made I held a competition on my Prof Dan Facebook page to try and find a name for this new character one of the suggestions was Mr Cuddles but in the end we went with Coco short and simple. Now all we had to do was wait for him to arrive.
Professor Dan Slater