Jero Magon (1900 – ?)
“Jero Magon was born in 1900 in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. He was educated at Pratt Institute and New York University. From 1936 until 1956 he taught art and puppetry, first at the School of Industrial Art and later at Erasmus Hall High School. Jero Magon began his career in puppetry with Fannie Goldsmith Engle. His many productions include The Emperor Jones (1933), Marco Millions (1938), and The Man Who Married a Dumb Wife (1948). In 1951 he produced Shadowland, a film on the shadow theatre. Jero Magon has written widely on puppetry, including a book Staging the Puppet Show (1976).” [From Toward an Art of the Puppet: New York’s Heritage exhibit brochure, pg. 25]
Magon was a man of many talents. Within the puppetry world, he was a renaissance man, an author, director, builder, teacher and instigator. Beginning his career in 1949, late in his life, he participated in productions for the stage, for film and for television, performing on Channel 2 as well as Carnegie Hall. A teacher to the stars, he was mentor and friend to the famous Paul Winchell, who used Magon’s initials as homage in his famous dummy, Jerry Mahoney. He valued all experiences, touring with children’s’ shows, as well as creating a documentary for film on the development of Shadow puppets.
He also served as a lecturer around the Greater Miami area. Some of his most memorable efforts can be seen in the shows in which he experimented with light and shadow . Magon experimented with marionettes and flat figures for the staging of Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones and Marco Millions as well as Hamlet and King Solomon’s Secret.
Magon served as the Puppet Theater Editor of the PLAYERS MAGAZINE for 9 years from 1951-1960. He was as president and founder of The Puppet Guild of Greater Miami. Founded on March 19, 1965, it boasted over 20 professional puppeteers as members and held meetings every two months which showcased the Guilds talent and featured guest lecturers, films and demonstrations. The Guild funded the annual Miami Regional Festival yearly was eventually sponsored by the Greater Miami Cultural Arts Center, making it a integral part of the Miami community.