Who was the original puppeteer in Fantasyland? It certainly wasn't Stromboli. He didn't show up until 1984. And am I the only one who wonders why Stromboli's wagon doesn't sell puppets??? Maybe it's part of the terms of his probation!
It turns out that the original puppetmaster was Bob Mills. The following is a wonderful article from 1991 that was published in the Disneyland Line employee newsletter. I wish every Disneyland Line could be this informational!
A feel that a couple of points should be clarified or updated:
Bob has since retired from his career as a makeup artist according to IMDB; hopefully he is in good health and the retirement was his choice and not the undertaker's.
The article mentions that Bob worked at Children's Fairyland in Oakland prior to coming to Disneyland. Another early Disneylander, Dorothy Manes, was hired from there also. Based on what other information I've found (thanks Progressland!) she was still working at Disneyland in 1970 and presumably retired prior to 1975 since she isn't listed as a Club 55 member in park literature from that year. I'm not sure, but I think she was the youth group coordinator. She passed away in 1984.
I wish I could tell you more, but that's all Walt wrote.
Next time: What does the Indiana Jones Adventure have to do with Las Vegas and Norse Mythology?