Who We Are
Allie's enthusiasm for puppetry was contagious and Bill caught the fever even before the wedding bells rang. The early years found Allie and Bill building marionettes in a one bedroom apartment, while both had full time jobs. Eventually their puppet workshop was in a guest bedroom, then a basement and finally a garage.
In 1968, with the advent of enclosed shopping centers, Allie and Bill saw an opportunity to fully utilize the skills they had developed over the years. A store front was rented and four full length, marionette shows and stages were produced and built especially for shopping center promotions. Within a few years, 50 additional shows were built and the area served broadened to include all of the USA and Canada. Resident marionette shows were produced and enjoyed at amusement parks in the USA and Ireland. This led to an agreement with the Keebler Cookie Company to build and tour a promotional marionette show on a trial basis. The success of the promotion led to a new agreement to build a promotion to introduce their new characters — the Keebler Elves.
The quality and craftsmanship of Scollon puppets, marionettes and productions were paid the ultimate compliment when Disney permitted Scollon to design, build and tour the Mickey Mouse songfest. This show toured the USA and Canada between 1978 and 1983.
Having a desire to broaden the base of their company, Allie and Bill applied their talents to creating life size character costumes. In 1970 an order was received from Hanna-Barbera to build costumes of the Banana Splits characters. Shortly thereafter, under a special agreement, the Scollons created and toured The Banana Splits Show. The overwhelming response to The Banana Splits show and request for additional live shows was extremely gratifying and made it evident that Scollon Productions, Inc. had found another area where they were an integral part of the exciting world of promotions. Ultimately Scollon Productions acquired the exclusive touring rights to the Flinstones, Yogi Bear, and 50 other established cartoon characters.
Both live cartoon character and marionette shows were produced, built, toured and perforrmed at malls, fairs and special events throughout the USA and Canada. The vast experience gained from both building and performing in costume led to construction techniques and innovations that are now considered standards throughout the industry.
Due to the numerous touring problems caused by the oil embargo of 1973, the emphasis of the company was slowly shifted from road shows to creating and building costumed characters. Within five or six years we had turned our full attention to the production of quality costume characters. Senior Vice President Ellery Locklear, with four years of Scollon road show experience joined the management team in 1978. Additional artists, shop technicians, pattern makers, seamstresses, etc. were trained in the “Scollon Method” of building high quality costumes.
In 1981, five acres of land was purchased along I-26, just outside of beautiful Columbia, South Carolina. A new 10,000 square foot production facility was designed and built. Since then we have added more buildings and doubled our production capabilities, We have also increased our staff at the rate of ten percent a year. As we go to press, another building is on the drawing board.
In 1987 we introduced our Ship and Store service. This relieves our clients from the herculean task of storing, shipping, following-up and maintaining their character costumes. This service currently employs a full-time staff of eight, and manages over 800 costumes.
Having grown up in the business, and after seven years in special events & promotions, son Rick Scollon, Vice President, joined the management team in 1993.
Now, over 30 years since it began, Allie has “retired” to open The Columbia Marionette Theatre. After just five years Allie and son John, designed and built the country's first building constructed specifically for a marionette theatre.
We build hundreds of costumes for a wide variety of clients. Our clients range from start-up businesses to industry leaders worldwide. We are still testing and experimenting with new materials and techniques. Additional personnel are always being trained in the “Scollon Method” of building high quality costumes. Scollon built costumed characters have been enjoyed in almost every country around the world.