Presented by Frank & Maisie
glittering show business career, Frank Mumford
and his late wife, Maisie, created one of the
most glamorous and highly successful Marionette Variety
Acts ever presented. They played the world's top
Entertainment Venues, including the Moulin Rouge,
Paris, the London Palladium and the
Sporting Club, Monte Carlo. Their routines
were endlessly inventive and their manipulation
Interviewed in 2007, Frank shared some memories of key
points in his career ...
"In 1928, I saw the British Puppet & Model Theatre
Guild's Annual Exhibition in Leicester Square.
I met regularly with H W Whanslaw, Waldo
Lanchester, The Bickerdikes, Victor
Hotchkiss and the young Stanley Maile.
I visited the Lanchester's Marionette Theatre in
Chiswick ... I quickly became a resident puppeteering
"Billed as Master Mumford & his Marionettes, I
played Wood Green Empire at age 14. Through the
Guild I began to make contact with other puppeteers and
in 1937, expanded to form "Puppet Productions."
We designed, built and performed full-scale marionette
shows. They were ambitious affairs and performed
at the Players Theatre, The Grove, Gate,
Kew, The Arts
and the Grafton Theatre using 18 inch string figures ...
Also in 1938, I met my future wife, Maisie."
Mumford Puppets - La Boheme
"In 1947, we began Cabaret - playing Night Clubs such as
The Coconut Grove, Grosvenor House,
Ciros, The Embassy, Dorchester Floor Show
and Starlight Room. Then in 1949, a 3-month
contract in a Revue at Le Beouf Sur Le Toit in
Paris, then opening at the Palm Beach Casino in
Cannes ... By the 1950s, ninety per cent of our work
was based in Europe. We'd return (to the UK)
primarily for Pantomime and Moss Empires Tours."
Star of the Mumford Puppets - Mademoiselle Zizi
built Zizi in 1947. She was modelled on
photographs of Lana Turner and Gypsy Rose Lee.
At 26 inches tall, Zizi proved to be an instant hit with
the audience. The Watch Committee banned her in
the 1950s when we played Birmingham Hippodrome -
for kissing male members of the audience - making
instant news headlines and greatly increasing our revenue
and profit that year!"
Frank & Maisie Mumford's
distinguished career included many highlights with
performances for Royalty, numerous television appearances
and design and costume work for other high-profile
shows. Most recently, Frank has appeared at the Leeds City Varieties Theatre, in their Annual
revival of traditional Music Hall.