Puppeteer behind ‘Hattie the Witch’, ‘Uncle Al show’ dies

Puppeteer behind ‘Hattie the Witch’, ‘Uncle Al show’ dies

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A famous puppeteer and local legend passed away Monday at the age of 79.

Larry Smith fell in love with puppeteering as a five-year old boy and went on to entertain an entire generation of children with his famous characters, including Hattie the Witch, and Snarfie R. Dog.

Smith and his puppets appeared on every local television station in Cincinnati, including FOX19 Now, and on the famous Uncle Al Show.

In 1957, Smith first appeared on Cincinnati airwaves with his live show Puppet Time Morning. He also took responsibility for all of the puppet work on the Uncle Al Show, according to his obituary posted on funeral home Bolton and Lunsford's website.

"WXIX-TV 19 along with Larry's 'The Larry Smith Puppets' show premiered August 1,1968 and was an overnight sensation. Within six months Larry's five-day-a-week two-hour late afternoon show was the number one rated television show in it's time-slot, beating all other nationally syndicated and locally produced shows," Smith's mentee, Wayne Martin, wrote on Facebook.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 3 at Bolton and Lunsford Funeral Home, 3042 Harrison Avenue, Cincinnati. Family will receive friends from 1-3 p.m. prior to the service. Private interment.

In lieu of flowers, Smith's family is asking for a memorial gift to Media Heritage Museum (www.mediaheritage.com), Puppetry Guild of Cincinnati (www.cincinnatipuppetryguild.com) or Mercy Health West Park, 2950 West Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45238.

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