Crankies with Puppetry

From Baltimore, Katherine Fahey with Annie Howe.

Puppetry has been used with moving drops for centuries. Hand puppets, marionettes and mechanical puppets were used in front of the scroll. Shadow puppet images with backlighting created images from behind the scroll.

A Compilation of Shadow Puppetry by Katherine Fahey
Sampler video of shadow puppet work and crankies by Katherine Fahey. Videography by Michael Patrick O'Leary and Allen Moore. Edit by Travis Kitchens. Music by Wye Oak.
From Winnipeg, Manatoba, Cody Neal Creed added puppetry, a revolving scroll, an additional parallax scroll of trees, a robotic train, sound effects and a "drop scene." This wins the prize for the number of bells and whistles! 2019
La Chasse-galerie by Dejah Leger - 2013
From Seattle, Washington, La Chasse-galerie by Dejah Leger. 2013
Waxwing by Erin Elliott and Alexandra Ramirez - 2019
Original song by Alesdair Roberts. Artwork by Alexandra Ramirez. Erin Elliott built the crankie box and is singing and playing shruti. Performed at the Saying and the Said's All Hallows Cabaret in Portland, Oregon. 2019
Bicycle-Powered Crankie Box - 2011
From the Big Tadoo Puppetry Crew in California, a bicycle safety puppet show for chidren. www.facebook/bigtadoopuppetcrew
Ora - artwork by Maeve Clancy
From West Ireland, music by Lisa Hannigan, artwork by artist Maeve Clancy.
Francis Whitmore's Wife by Katherine Fahey - 2010
From Baltimore, Maryland papercut images by Kathrine Fahey who made the artwork, shadow puppets and is also singing.Katherine was the first artist to use Tyvek for the crankie scroll in 2010.
The Lost Gander by Anna and Elizabeth - 2010
In the hills of West Virginia, during the Appalachian String Band Music Festival -aka Clifftop- Elizabeth LaPrelle and Anna Roberts-Gevalt show some friends one of their crankies, an old time story telling device, which tells the tale of "The Lost Gander." Learn more about Anna and Elizabeth at
St. James Infirmery by Blair Thomas - 2010
From Chicago, Blair Thomas is the founder of Blair Thomas & Company. This was created in 2010.

Learn about the history of puppetry with moving drops.

Horse race by Mantell Manikins featuring the revolving drop. The original marionettes and drop are part of The Cook/Marks Collection at Northwest Puppet Center.

Before crankies were called crankies (beginning in the 1960s) they were called moving drops as well as other names.  The history of using puppetry with scrolling backgrounds goes back centuries.   To learn more, visit the Northwest Puppet Center webpage.