Our little (toy) revolution

Puppeteer Jessie Caballero revels in playful pacifist pals during “Our Little Revolution” music video shoot; photo by Chloe Rice.

Marlene Sharp is the proud proprietor of Pink Poodle Productions. Previously, Marlene served as Director, Production at LEVEL-5 abby, home of YO-KAI WATCH and other hit video game-based franchises. Formerly, as Producer, TV Series, at Sega of America, Marlene worked on much more than the Teen Choice Award-nominated cartoon SONIC BOOM. For example, her Hedgehog duties took her to the heights of nerd-dom as an official San Diego Comic-Con 2017 panelist. As a freelance journalist, Marlene concentrates on popular entertainment for buzz-worthy online fan destinations, such as DOGTV, ToonBarn.com, and Geekified.net. As a short film auteur, she has snagged prizes at the Canine Film Festival, the San Luis Obispo Film Festival, and many more. As a screenwriter, her professional stamp is embedded in lots of merchandise-driven cartoons – such as SNACK WORLD – and in her original, award-winning creations, such as BORN IN LA, MASCOT MAYHEM, and THE GIRL WHO LOVED NOSES. She is the winner of 2019 LA Shorts International Film Fest Script Competition (an Oscar and BAFTA-qualifying fest), at which her backdoor sitcom pilot received a staged reading by The Groundlings. And as a human being, basically, she loves dogs. For proof of the aforementioned, please see her website www.pinkpoodleproductions.com.

There is a revolution afoot, and it threatens to smash the SESAME STREET, SHAUN THE SHEEP, and SQUISHMALLOWS content and consumer product empires. Possibly more puppet regimes are in peril. The reason lies within a singular new music video for an original tune entitled “Our Little Revolution” from The Lightjackets. The on-screen novelty stars are a toy coup waiting to happen. Moreover, this felt-infused, stringed repertory company is in most capable (human) hands.

One of the custom sets for “Our Little Revolution;” photo by Ragmop & Goose.

Quick background check: The Lightjackets are a somewhat under-the-radar Los Angeles-based band that includes veteran showmen Vance Degeneres (THE DAILY SHOW, SNL, ELLEN), Eddie Jemison (WAITRESS, OCEAN’S TWELVE), Dermot Kiernan (VIKINGS, CELTIC WOMAN), Bill Angarola (former Warner Brothers VP of Post Production Services), and Tim Ford (CINEMATIC TITANIC). There’s no need to conduct an internet search for the ensemble’s website; there is none. Instead, the group maintains robust Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter presences.

Behind the scenes of “Our Little Revolution;” photo by Ragmop & Goose.

Upfront fun facts: The author has history with Degeneres due to their shared New Orleans roots, coupled with Degeneres’ unmatched magnanimity just prior to the author’s cross country move to Hollywood many years ago. At the time, Degeneres was a big time TV writer, and the author was anything but that. She penned and mailed a letter to him, he responded, and she soon visited him at the Disney Burbank lot on which he worked. He gave her solid career advice and leads; in return, she followed him faithfully and indefinitely on Facebook. Decades passed, and the “Our Little Revolution” video launched last week. The author took notice noticeably.  Incidentally, the author, c’est moi!

The author’s collage rendering of “Our Little Revolution” end credits.

Rave review: As a tune, “Our Little Revolution” calls to mind the family-friendly, super sing-able, laidback listening experiences of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” and “Octopus’s Garden,” and the Kermit the Frog classic “Rainbow Connection.” “. . . Revolution” is a song about enemies who turn into friends. Like Kermit’s star turn in THE MUPPET MOVIE, the corresponding “Revolution” screen content features puppet protagonists; similar to Muppets, the “. . . Revolution” leads are in position to break out in a big way. TV series and toys seem inevitable. A big reason for the fuzzy actors’ appeal is due to their parentage: Ragmop & Goose.

Not-so-secret admiration: The author fan-girled – and continues to do so – over Ragmop, Goose, and their gaggle. An online overture ensued, and a response arrived! Jessie “Ragmop” Caballero’s reply is below:

We are Ragmop & Goose, and we run a “Puppet Adoption Agency” where we hand-make, ahem, excuse me – clone – puppets and put them up for adoption! The lore to our business is Ragmop (a.k.a. Jessie) is a puppet conservationist (think the Steven Irwin of the puppet world) and Dr. Goose (a.k.a. Gus) is a mad scientist, and together, we discover and rescue different species of puppets – all in the name of reviving the world’s love of puppetry. We have a family of zany puppets – each with their own unique personalities – that help us manage the agency by prepping any Adoption Certificates, Personal Records, and Puppet Parenting Guides needed for our adoptees being sent off to their new homes! They also star in our videos that we share across social media platforms. 

Our collab with The Lightjackets starts many years ago, upon the opening of a little Sherman Oaks [California] gem called Augustine Wine Bar. Gus started working there in 2015, and Vance was a patron. Over the years, we’ve developed a friendship with Vance, and he’s always been supportive of our puppet work. Late last year, he asked us if we’d be interested in filming a puppet music video for the band’s newest EP, and we couldn’t say no!

We had such an incredible experience filming the video, and we learned so much! We built full sets in our studio and filmed on location with a full crew of our friends standing in as puppet extras. Since the video has been published, it’s gotten over 92K TikTok views and counting. We’ve heard great feedback from friends and colleagues . . . Some people have even told us it made them tear up. Best of all, Vance and The Lightjackets absolutely love it, and we’ve never felt more proud of a project.

Unsolicited puppet prognostication and lofty conclusion: By taking a page from the 1983 Cabbage Patch Kids playbook, and mixing it with a Jim Henson sensibility and a killer song, the “Our Little Revolution” melodic and marionette artistes are destined to overtake the world. Could a CPK-style holiday toy riot ensue? If so, then may it be as peaceful and hilarious as “Our Little Revolution!”

Puppet revolutionaries are (from left) Alex Pardee, Chloe Rice, Jessie Caballero, Gus Renaud, Matt Swain, Julien Fannon, Renn Lazzerin, Ty Amato, and Giles Dabao. Photo by Chloe Rice.

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