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Punch and Judy

A stained glass illustration of Mr. Punch by Professor Ignorant

Punch and Judy is a popular British glove-puppet show for children, featuring Mr. Punch and his wife Judy. The performance consists of a sequence of short scenes, each depicting an interaction between Mr. Punch and one other character (the show is traditionally performed by a single puppeteer, known as a Professor, who of course can only perform two characters at a time).

Mr. Punch wears a jester's motley, is hunchbacked and his hooked nose almost meets his curved jutting chin. He carries a stick, as large as himself, which he freely uses upon all the other characters in the show. He speaks in a bizarre rasping voice, produced by a contrivance known as a swozzle which the Professor holds in his mouth.

The Punch and Judy show has deep roots; it is ultimately based on the Italian commedia dell'arte, and the figure of Punch derives ultimately from the stock character of Pulcinello[?]. Punch has lent his name to Punch, a long running British humour magazine.

A transcript of a typical Punch and Judy show in London of the 1840s can be found in Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor.

Featuring, as it does, a deformed, child-murdering, wife-beating psychopath, who performs appalling acts of violence and cruelty upon all those around him and escapes scot-free, it is greatly enjoyed by small children.

Punch and Judy is also the name of an opera by Harrison Birtwistle; see Punch and Judy (opera)[?].

Tony Hancock appeared as the title character in the 1961 movie The Punch and Judy Man.

Punch & Judy is also the name of a song about marital strife from Marillion's 1984 album Fugazi.

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