American puppeteer, Larry Smith, Died at 79

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Larry Smith was born in 1938 and died on February 19, 2018.

He was a puppeteer and producer of children’s programming in the Cincinnati area since 1957.

His most notable work was a popular afternoon puppet/cartoon show airing on WXIX Television.

He was raised in Dayton, Ohio.

At the age of five, Larry began a lifelong fascination with puppets, learning to make them at home using items around the house as store-bought materials were expensive.

Smith made his television debut in 1952, and he began his professional career two years later at WHIO television.

After high school, Smith attended Ohio State University and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

In 1955 he met Burr Tillstrom, creator of the Kukla, Fran and Ollie show.

During 1957 he auditioned for, and won a part on The Uncle Al Show; officially he served on WCPO’s art department, but he performed puppets. Smith was with The Uncle Al Show for six years.

He achieved his greatest fame by the late 1960s, when he went to then-new TV station WXIX in Cincinnati to host an afternoon puppet/cartoon show which came to be called Larry Smith’s Cartoon Club, which he hosted throughout the 70s.

He and his puppets were the first stars of WXIX when they performed on the station’s sign-on ceremony in August 1968.

He died at 79 year old.

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