When a philosopher of note penned the immortal lines - "Hope springs eternal in the human breast" - he might have added an appendage. For judging from the antics of the characters on the "Kukla, Fran & Ollie" opus, hope springs just as eternally in a puppet's upper anatomy.
Take for instance, the recent action of Col. Richard H. Crackie, who was recently observed to impulsively plant a kiss on Mme. Ophelia Ooglepuss' startled countenance. As any self-respecting Kuklapolitan will tell you, it was just not the thing to do - especially in light of what has gone before.
A continuing courtship between the aforementioned had blossomed into the real thing. According to their plans, on June 8, 1951, and via WNBQ and the entire NBC-TV network, the two would become one.
With Kukla, Fran, Ollie, Cecil Bill and Fletcher Rabbit in attendance, all was in readiness. But unable to face matrimony, Mme. Ooglepuss and the Colonel, at the last moment, and while millions of viewers waited breathlessly, decided to call it quits. The biggest double-jilt in the history of TV and enough ammunition for tongue-wagging Kuklapolitans to keep the gossip mill turning for months.
You might think that that would end the matter and both parties would leave well enough alone. But here's Col. Crackie back at the old stand displaying all the ardor of a frustrated Don Juan.
But before you condemn the Southern gent as a fatuous old swain, consider the environment in which he resides. He's not the only incurable romanticist on the premises. The Kuklapolitan woods are full of lovebirds.
Probably most practised in this business of amor is Oliver J. Dragon. A wolf in dragon cloth, he has more romances brewing than a lonely hearts club. Ollie has displayed unabashed overtures of emotion toward such illustrious entertainment world figures as Margaret Truman, Nina Foch, June Valli, and even "dahling" Tallulah Bankhead. All have been responsive.
Ollie's formula for keeping all the gals happy is simple enough - "Never let them get together. Divide and conquer." Only once did his ship of romance run aground.
That was in the spring of 1952 when Fran left the show to travel with "The Breakfast Club." In her absence orothy Collins and June Lockhart served as foils to Ollie's advances. Upon Fran's return be neglected to mention his little affairs d'amour. But unbeknownst to him, she had followed the show on TV. At first slightly ruffled, it wasn't long before the lovable dragon had again won her good graces.
Even steady, dependable Kukla is a pushover on matters of the heart.
Though not apparent on the surface, he's a part of the eternal, if, in this case unusual triangle. With Fran the pawn-there's a continuing battle for her attention and affection-between him and the dragon. Nothing serious mind you, but if you watch closely, it's there.
But because Kukla and Ollie are undying friends - they never allow emotion to overrule intellect. They're content to keep the status pretty much quo-sharing Fran without ever one or the other getting too possessive.
With such an undercurrent of romance a continuing feature, "Kukla, Fran & Ollie" has kept its appeal strong for the young in heart.
So - when the sap begins to rise - you can be sure that the Kuklapolitans will, too - to love's mandatory call. And the type of love displayed will be as fresh as the first breath of spring. ("Kukla, Fran & Ollie" is seen each Sunday at 3:00 on NBC.)