Candle Cove was an American experimental puppet TV-show, aimed at children. It was originally going to be called "Pirate Place".
Locally produced in Ironton, Ohio, the show advertised itself as modestly trying to handle avantgarde educational contents through new techniques, both visual, artistic, and technical.
It apparently was loosely based on a short story called "The Nickerbocker's Tale" from 1767.
The first Candle Cove announcement was made on May 14th, 1968, at a local TV-News show, in a Chronicle about education in the city. An interview was held at the Visual Arts department of the University of Ohio with two students named Caroline Barker and Mary Prescott, who revealed themselves as working on a TV-show project involving puppetry called Candle Cove; according to Barker and Prescott, they were the ones comissioned on building the puppets; during the documental, some shots of puppet designs, drafts and even unfinished puppets were taken.
On January 12th, 1971, the Culture and Arts Note from the Local Network made the first announcement of the Candle Cove Premiere in a 12-minute interview with the executive producer of the show, Tom Thrives, and the director of the show's first episode, Lynn Huntington. In their speech, Candle Cove was a project that took 5 years to develop, and was expected to put "Kids and Educational Ohio TV" to the national top. The rest of the show after the pilot was directed by Emerson Grimes.
Pilot Episode (1971)
The launch was much anticipated by both kids and adults, and many educational critics expected to write a review of the first episode. It premiered on Channel 58 at Primetime (7 PM) on January 19th, with a live performance where the main characters and the concept of the show were presented. That 20-minute special (16-minutes in actual time, with a cut at the 14:20 minute mark to include advertising) was called "Welcome to Our Happy Ship" and was accompanied by a live audience.
The first reviews for the pilot episode were mixed. Most of the critics recognized a "potential heart-warming" attitude in the characters, but they complained about the "cheap" and "realistic" look of the puppets, with Alexis tanner from The Ironton Reporter calling them "disturbingly human" and "morbid". Other commentators dismissed the "bad" look of the puppets by saying that the show was "playing by its own rules" and considered that "plausible" since the purpose was "bending fantasy and reality in an integral way".
Talinka Staropoli, Ph. D. from the Ohio University Southern Campus, referred to the show as "a genuine original proposal" and predicted a good future for the show.
Season One (1971-1972)
Following some good reviews of the pilot, it was quickly greenlit a complete "first season" for the show consisting of 9 episodes, that were going to be produced weekly. However, the show was pushed to a schedule more adequate for kids, right after the Local News, at 4:30 p.m. No other episodes were broadcasted live. Instead, they were presented with two commercial cuts, previously recorded.
Season Two (1972)
The second season of Candle Cove was aired two months after the first, and consisted of an additional three episodes to the standard nine, bringing the total count to twenty-one episodes. There were no major changes to the shows framework and it continued with the same themes. Oddly enough, by this time the last few episodes were not widely broadcast due to undisclosed reasons. This went generally unnoticed and unquestioned, leading to the belief that there had been only 9 episodes. The season also included the alleged "screaming episode".