Eugene Lambert was born in Bay View Terrace, Sligo Town in 1928 was a mischievous puppeteer and owner of the Lambert Puppet Theatre in Monkstown, Dublin, Ireland.
As a puppeteer and ventriloquist, Lambert was long a stalwart of the Irish vaudeville scene, particularly in Dublin, although he also toured the country frequently with his wife Mai, with whom he had 10 children. His most common acts were with Finnegan, a mischievous storyteller, and Judge, a pensive dog.
With the rise of television in the 1960s, the Lambert Puppet Theatre became a fixture in Irish broadcasting. In the early 1960s, Lambert devised a puppet series for children entitled Murphy agus a Chairde. Murphy was a giant who lived in a magical kingdom. Its king, “An Rí”, only had one problem – constant mischief from two witches, Feemy and Babóg.
The Irish TV broadcaster RTÉ was the only station most Irish people could receive, and Murphy‘s adventures were soon an important part of most childrens’ viewing. Murphy himself appeared as the in-vision continuity announcer all through one of RTÉ‘s Christmas Day broadcasts.
Lambert later co-starred in the children’s television series Wanderly Wagon as the mischievous and greedy “O’Brien” , known for his child-like curiosity and cowardice in the face of magical events. Lambert and his family provided many regular (puppet) characters – Judge the dog, Mr Crow (who lived in a cuckoo clock), the mysterious Foxy Loxy, and the untrustworthy Ssneaky Ssnake. The series also featured Irish actor Frank Kelly, who later appeared as Fr. Jack Hackett in Father Ted.
Another series created by Eugene Lambert was adapted from a childrens’ book by Patricia Lynch, Brógeen Follows The Magic Tune. Brógeen was a leprechaun who teamed up with a fiddler who had heard a piece of music created by the fairies – and they wanted it back. The series was a great success and won several awards internationally. Some years later, when Lambert enquired about the 2″ master video tapes, RTÉ admitted to having re-used them. Brogeen (and most of Wanderly Wagon) was gone forever.
The Lambert Puppet Theatre was established in 1972. Eugene Lambert founder and Director of the Lambert Puppet Theatre had an interest in puppetry from a very early age, making his own ventriloquist dummy Frankie, which later developed into Finnegan the vent act, which he still performs today.
In the early years with Finnegan, Eugene toured UK and Ireland extensively and in later years he promoted Ireland for Irish Tourist Board, touring USA, Japan and Australia.
Lambert’s Puppet Theatre was responsible for producing the popular 1980’s childrens television character Bosco who was an ever present fixture on the Irish national station RTÉ One
Eugene and his wife Mai had a large family, ten children to be precise. Rearing the ten children took a lot of work. Eugene supplemented his day job as a refrigeration engineer with his “Punch and Judy Show” appearing in private houses and night time was taken up with appearing with his vent act Finnegan at Gala concerts and Dinners.
The Lambert family participated in Jury‘s Irish Cabaret for 7 years bringing topical puppet acts to the American audience.
Eugene and his wife Mai visited The Harlequin Puppet Theatre in Colwyn Bay and an International Puppet Festival in Prague, inspired by what they saw they decided to open a puppet theatre of there own, The Lambert Puppet Theatre.
Eugene Lambert sadly passed away on March 23rd 2010.
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