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The Puppet Bar

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Why is an old photo of ``The Puppet Bar'' on Stray Casts?


It's a piece of history from the Fox Chain O'Lakes.

I was knocking around the Chain Sunday with Pat Harrison and his friend Jim Schaefer of JDSPINNERS Guide Service when Schaefer started talking about ``The Puppet Bar.''

His parents (George and Audrey) ran Eagle Point Park on Pistakee Lake in Fox Lake when he was a kid. He explored the Chain with an Arkansas Traveler with a 9.5 hp Evinrude.

The place was known as ``The Puppet Place'' or ``Puppet Bar'' into the mid-80s. In those days, there was dozens of places like that, now long gone for houses and condos.

I didn't remember it, but ``The Puppet Bar'' sounded fascinating. So the next day, Schaefer sent some extended memories:

``Yes, the Real name was Eagle Point Park but many nicknamed it ``The Puppet Place'' or bar.

There was a secret song on the juke and when people found it and it played, we would flip switches on a board behind the bar that would turn on over 60 hand made motorized puppets of all different sizes.

They would dance, jump and do what ever they were designed to. Some Puppets were made up like the four Beatles, Emit Kelly (the clown) and others.

A dancing rubber chicken that would drop from the ceiling and dance, pictures spinner on the wall, clocks would spin their hands as if time was flying etc.

When the song ended, we would shut them all down and some would slowly disappear behind hand made curtains or rise into the ceiling.

There was even a 6 foot tall human like Indian like a cigar store Indian and if you pulled his flap up a siren would go off.''

There's some strings of memories of the place on the message board of

Then Schaefer went one better and e-mailed the photo: ``Dale you got me thinking and I dug through some old pictures. Here's one from the bar in the mid/late 60's. More puppets were added by the original owners before we bought it but this gives you some kind of idea what it looked like.''

I love this stuff.

For JDSPINNERS, go to or call (630) 939-6600.

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Growing up in the early 50's, my parents took us to Eagle Point Park almost every second weekend all summer long. The owners were our dads childhood friends. Mr. Pav built all the animated figures by hand. He was a machinist by trade. The gorilla that danced on the bar was made from his wifes fur coat. The other stuff was either built from scratch or was reworked existing toys and dolls. Besides the indian that set off a burgular alarm when his loin cloth was "accidentally lifted" in the ladies rest room was a hidden speaker that was connected to a microphone behind the bar. At the appropriate time, the bartender would say stuff like"hey, what are you doing... Im up here, cant you see me, dont do that...... as if he could see the patron. Potty humor at its best. They never allowed any photos to be taken, to keep the surprises going. They served food and drink. It was always clean and brite. Rentals of boats was all you needed to reach the abundant fish population. NO JET SKIS!!! how nice the old days were. Wish the old place was still around but that aint the case. Maybe someday


I also spent many great times at Eagle Point Park from the late fifties and throughout the 1960's. I continued going there in the seventies, bringing friends in my boat that had heard of the place but had never been there. Needless to say, all were delighted!

The secret song that is referenced above was actually the "Blue Chip Polka". The owners had the song selection masked out on the old Wurlitzer, But I figued it out by watching each time the song was played. What a treat when the puppets would begin their dance!

I don't know exactly when the place closed and was torn down, but I still cruise by the property in Pistakee Lake and remember one of the fondest parts of my childhood.


loved this place as a kid. the photo brings back great memories, though the dancing witch and gorilla scared me. grandpa would have a beer, and i'd have my kiddie cocktail, then search for the secret song.

Denny Farrell, I was the guy who would do the 1950's 60;s 70's and some 80's DJ partys through out Fox Lake back in the early 80's. The Puppet Bar and Cub's cove were two of the best ...what a time we all had. Anyone rember the phone booth at the Puppet Bar? Yes it was a coffin
rain or shine it was the place to be, not the coffin, but the chain of Lakes it was the place to party back then.

Denny Farrell

Just found this site--Great info-working on book Bars of Chain of Lakes--Past to Present --Does anyone know when it was closed,torn down,and what happened to all the things inside??

Do you have a publisher and all that? That has potential to be a real good tale. I will ask somebody who might have an inkling on your question to the inside stuff. I think I might know somebody who might know somebody who knows.

Bar book still a project in work,tracked bars,resorts through phone books from the 1930s to current,except can't find any phone books from 1962 to 1974.Nothing at the historical societies,or libraries,even ran wanted ads in Advertiser. Project at a standstill under I can find stuff for this time period

Used to run around with a horse stick.

I remember the tavern quite well.
George and Audry employed me to help tend bar on weekends.
When some one played tic toc polka on the jukebox one of us bartenders would raise the volume and activate the toggles switches to start the puppets dancing.
In addition Gene Janski and I would play the boom bahhs. (Lol)
It was a time 1971-1975 that I will never forget, the customers were the best.

Yes, many memories of summers gone by of the puppet place, the ship and mineolas. Sad to see those places gone.

I am almost 50 years old now but I certainly remember the 70's and this particular bar. How could a kid age 7-12 not be totally facinated by all the puppets going on and especially kiddie cocktails. Good ole Polka music - always got my parents and my aunt/uncle on the dance floor. Thank you for the memories.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 28, 2008 10:12 PM.

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