Wayback Wednesday: Pedal-Powered Public Puppet Performances

Today’s Wayback Wednesday brings us to ten years ago today: January 22, 2010. That was the day we took this photograph of a puppet bike.

A puppet bike on the corner of Randolph and Michigan on January 22, 2010.
A puppet bike on the corner of Randolph and Michigan on January 22, 2010. (File)

A puppet bike is a large tricycle with a puppet theater grafted onto the back of it. They would be seen intermittently in the busier areas of downtown Chicago, entertaining tourists and being largely ignored by the locals.

The theater performances were audible on busy city streets thanks to speakers powered by solar panels on the roof. The performer inside was powered by a donation box on the front of the contraption. In this photo, you can see there is dollhouse furniture inside the box so that George Washington can rest comfortably.

According to the Wikimopedia, at one point there were as many as nine people conducting performances around the city. We haven’t seen a puppet bike in a very long time, and the web site long ago disappeared from the intarwebs, so we’ll consider this form of public entertainment well and truly in the city’s past.


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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  1. I saw the bike about two weeks ago in Andersonville and then again near Grant Park. Still making rounds.

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  2. Absolutely not dead! I see this show regularly in Andersonville, saw it setup outside Christkindlmarket this past December, and just saw it last weekend in front of the Wrigley Building! One of my favorite things about Chicago, always gives me joy. :-)

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  3. Puppet bikes are still a thing in Andersonville! There are stories about it on WTTW and other sources.

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