At the request from a reader, this post includes two photos of Fry-Fry, the nemesis of the “Squirrely Shirley Meets Fry-Fry” show.

The story behind the creation of this puppet started with a comment by a friend years ago when I was on the board of a downtown Tucson (AZ) historic neighborhood association. Being on the board meant that I got to know a lot of really interesting people. One of our neighbors was an extremely talented man who had been a chef for several years. During neighborhood fundraisers, dinners and ice cream socials, I came to know and admire David and his wife, Kathryn, because they knew how to organize events and bring ideas and people together. One evening during a conversation about bad restaurant experiences, David described the greasy food odor wafting from some fast-food places as being “fry-fry.” What a great image! His off-handed reference to greasy food made a lasting impression on me.  

As I was writing the “Squirrely Shirley Meets Fry-Fry” show, I considered introducing a puppet with a fondness for greasy, sugary, salty food.  I envisioned this puppet as the bad guy for our 2012 show about making healthy choices. Thanks to David, the descriptive image of fry-fry smells from fast-food places seemed like a good place to start exploring what I had in mind.  

The puppet character evolved to be a rather inarticulate and irritating troublemaker. I had a lot of fun constructing this stick puppet shaped a little like a French fry container. I decided to give him a mouth that could change from a smile to a frown during the show.

So, now you know a bit about the character of Fry-Fry, and how he evolved from an off-handed remark, to an idea that eventually became an unforgettable puppet. I am grateful to this odd little character, because he helped me envision a family friendly, interactive puppet/storytelling program about the value of exercise and good food choices. I now consider this light-hearted family show as my contribution to the First Lady’s national campaign to combat childhood obesity.