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Chapter II:

In Maria Perego’s workshop there is a lot of excitement and so many puppets are being created with the new material, but not yet Topo Gigio.

Even if I had so much desire to come into this world, in the meantime I was stuck in the puppet limbo, there like many others waiting to be born. Maria with the new material started to sculpt many other characters. For example all the puppets performed songs of the TV program “Canzonissima” in 1958-59, authored by the great Sandro Giovannini and Enzo Garinei.

Maria and her husband Federico, with a truck full of the precious material, moved for three months to Rome where they molded many cute and fun puppets, who after I was born became my friends, like the other puppets I told you about. This is the period of the Clown character that I developed with plastic discs and rubber bands that permitted it to extend and contract as needed, creating a world of pure fantasy.

When it extended, with ease, it would grab the musical notes as they came out the instruments in the orchestra. The Clown would compose melodies from stings taken out of a rainbow. It would capture stars that had the resemblance of little girls, singing in chorus or would take clouds with its long arms and mash them to create snowfalls that would whiten the scenes.

Then Guaglione was born. In that period the song “Guaglione” was very famous. Federico and Maria created a puppet that resembled shoeshine boy-street urchin (as the American soldiers had branded the Neapolitan children that gained the daily bread by shining the soldiers’ shoes).

Later on, when I was born, at night we would climb out of our boxes and would party up; each one of us would do a number with our favorite instrument , that were aplenty in the workshop. When the Guaglione performed his song, the whole environment would warm up with great happiness.

But I don’t want to give too much away... yet.

At the end of the show “Canzonissima”, Federico and Maria went back to Milan, and straight away riding the momentum of their success in Rome, they were contracted to take part on the Saturday night show, where every week, among stars from all over the world, Maria and Federico would visualize songs with puppets in their fantasy world.

To get inspiration Federico and Maria would listen to popular songs all day long, but would also distort the music by slowing down or fast forwarding the records, giving them new ideas for puppets and fun situations. From my limbo of existence, I would peak and see the creation of insects, fish, singing flowers, cactuses with large sombreros and guitars-imitating Mariachis, dancing skyscrapers that sang to the rhythm of jazz. I was envious as I couldn’t wait to have my moment.

Finally one day I heard the voice of Domenico Modugno that sang “La Sveglietta”, a very fun song, then I heard the same song fast forward, and Maria exclamation “But this is the voice of a little mouse!”. Then I heard a rumbling noise scissoring away, a sowing machine and, little by little, I fell asleep.

Then I woke up in a very different world then my limbo, next to me I saw Maria’s face that happily said: “You know, this little, happy and cordial mouse came out great. And inspired by the fable of Trilussa, he will be a country mouse that I will call Topo Gigio, the nickname used in the Venetian countryside for Luigi”. So finally I came to this world: it was 1959 and I quickly realized that it was not an all rose colored world.

Chapter III - Topo Gigio’s first steps >>