One of my earliest TV watching memories is a show called "All Aboard with Mr. Be". It aired on WDCN, the Nashville public television station we watched in my hometown of Clarksville. A little recent research revealed that the show was shot at WKNO in Memphis. I also read that the puppets were built by legendary Nashville puppeteer Tom Tichenor, and performed by a Memphis high school student named John McDonald. I have always remembered the name of one of the puppets, "Poncey de Lion", who was of course a lion.
And today I got confirmation via email that the "Mr. Be" puppeteer was the same John McDonald who is now artistic director of the Roxy Regional Theatre in Clarksville! John and Tom Thayer have done an incredible thing in creating a professional theatre in Clarksville. I saw their "Into the Woods" a couple of years ago, and was very impressed.
As I told John, my childhood self would be very proud that my grownup self knows Poncey de Lion personally!