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History of Topo Gigio
History of Topo Gigio:
little Italian mouse was created by
Maria Perego from Milan, Italy. Topo Gigio had already been
around for awhile before Ed Sullivan, but almost everybody remembers
him best for being a recurring guest on "The Ed Sullivan Show".
Gigio was the star of his own Italian movie in 1961 called "Le
Avventure di topo Gigio" ("The Adventures of Topo Gigio"). In
1965, this film would be released on CBS-TV and called "The Magic World
of Topo Gigio". However, Topo made his first American appearance
on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on April 14, 1963. In 1965, Mrs. Maria
Perego Caldura received an American patent for the complex mechanisms
of the Topo Gigio puppet. It took three people to operate Topo
Gigio, with a fourth supplying the voice.
Topo was ten inches tall and made of a half pound of
He was controlled by sticks (not strings, like most puppets). The
puppeteers wore black hoods, black velour clothing, and worked against
a black backdrop so they were invisible to the audience. And if
you remember seeing Topo, you KNOW they're invisible. The little
mouse looks like he's a lifeform of his own!
The puppeteers moved Topo with their hands and three
Maria Perego, Topo's creator, moved Topo's mouth and legs.
Frederico Giolo moved Topo's arms, while his wife Annabella controlled
the puppets oversized ears. The man who gave Topo his voice was
Peppino Mazullo (some sources have called him Giuseppe Mazullo), who
provided it offstage.
Topo Gigio appeared on Ed Sullivan over 50 times and
closed the final
show in 1971. Although finished in America, Topo found new fame
as his creators took him to South America, Spain, and Japan. Topo
also appeared on a weekly Italian TV show and a 1980s Japanese cartoon