Welcome to the Muffin the Mule Collectors'
When the Muffin the Mule Collectors' Club was set
up in 1999, it was, primarily, for collectors of 'Muffinabelia',
that is, items produced in the 1950's associated with Muffin and
his friends. Since that time the club has grown to include other
members whose interest is puppetry or nostalgia TV in general. We
hope that, whatever your interest, you enjoy your visit to the new
look site and....join the Club.
Because of the great interest in Muffin, there was
considerable range of goods marketed at the time. Muffin appeared
weekly in the TV Comic and the original Muffin Club was promoted
with articles and information about club members and their activities.
The money raised through subscription and fundraising undertaken
by individual children, was used to buy televisions and radios for
hospitals - for sick and deprived children.
Muffin and his friends were Hogarth puppets and we
have been fortunate to have the support of Sally McNally, who owns
Muffin. Sally is the daughter of Ann Hogarth and Jan Bussell (who
were The Hogarth Puppet Theatre), herself a talented puppet manipulator
and actress. The importance of the Hogarth Puppets in the history
of British Puppetry and television make the written contributions
from Sally a very important part of the club newsletters.
Special 2007 deals…
Adrienne Hasler is available for talks to groups
in the Essex /North East London area.
Fees are donated to the club charity - Friends
of Lyndon House (see charity information for full details).
Please email through the website to book a talk.
SPECIAL Book Price £12
includes postage & packaging. Click here
for more details.
*20th October 2006*
60 years ago today, a small wooden mule took
his first steps assisted by his manipulator, Ann Hogarth, onto the
top of a grand piano.
Given the name of 'Muffin' by his human companion,
Annette Mills, Muffin the Mule went on to become an international
star of stage and screen.
60 years on, he is once again entertaining both
adults and children both in his original form as a marionette (stringed
puppet) but also as an animated star of CBeebies.
Now accompanied by Ronnie Le Drew (whose credits
include his well known role as Rainbow's Zippy), Muffin is heading
back to the stage as guest star in a panto this Christmas.
June 10th 2006
Maybe not the best day to have chosen for the
annual club meeting which brings together Muffin the Mule and members
of the Collectors' Club. However, a bright blue sky, high temperatures
and the promise of full television access to England's first game
in the World Cup ensured a good turn out.
This afternoon held even more memories than
ever and was a prelude to celebrations for Muffin's 60th anniversary
later this year.
A mix of well established members and new members
attended the event to meet, for the first time, Muffin's new manipulator,
Ronnie Le Drew. It was with some trepidation that the afternoon
was organized as it would be difficult for those of us who knew
Sally to see Muffin in someone else's capable hands. Ronnie was
magnificent. Not only is he a wonderful puppeteer but he bridged
the gap between The Bussell family (Hogarth Puppet Theatre), of
which Sally was a member, by describing his own youthful employment
with Sally's parents.
The day was further enhanced by the attendance
of Jane Eve (nee Tyson) and Jane Phillips. For those in the know,
both 'the Janes' are also brilliant professional puppeteers. Talk
about an abundance of talent! By coincidence, not only did we have
three professional puppeteers but we had three professional (Hogarth)
puppets. For the first time in decades, Muffin was reunited with
Crumpet the Clown whose appearance on For the Children in 1946 was
brief, unlike the Mule. Not to be ignored, Katie the Kangeroo also
met Muffin. Katie being one of 'Muffin's friends' makes an appearance
in many of the story books. She had been gifted to Pauline Jackson
who worked with Ann Hogarth on the Muffin shows and on tour as puppeteer.
Katie has now become a fixture in the club.
The audience consisted of children of all ages,
all watched with great glee as Crumpet and Muffin performed together
for the first time in 60 years. It was a great privilege to see
three fabulous performances...from Ronnie and the two Janes....
All in all, a wonderful, busy, tiring day.
A parting question...will there be another next year? A question
to ponder as I lay in a darkened room....hoping that the washing
up would mysteriously disappear.
If you would like to meet Muffin, join the club
and help us raise more money for our charities.
Muffin meets Crumpet the clown for the first
time in 60 years - a lot of news to catch up on
Katy the Kangeroo meets her old friend from
the Muffin the Mule stories
Children of all ages love Muffin
It is very tiring being a celebrity
60 years ago…on 20th October 1946…
Muffin the Mule started his life known merely as the
Kicking Mule. He was carved by Punch and Judy expert carver Fred
Fred Tickner maintained his reputation as a highly
respected puppet carver throughout his life and his Punch and Judy
puppets are still highly desirable and used by professional puppeteers.
The Kicking Mule was created as a commission for Jan Bussell and
his wife, and business partner, Ann Hogarth. The Bussells having
formed the Hogarth Puppet Theatre in 1932 and the Kicking Mule was
to partner Crumpet the Clown as part of their Circus.
The Kicking Mule was created in 1933 but it was not
until some thirteen years later that Muffin came into being.
Puppet Theatre was (and remains) a highly professional
and busy form of performance and the Bussells were constantly expanding
and improving the acts they created. After a while, the Mule and
Clown were retired to make way for other acts. The aggressive little
Mule sat with the other retired puppets until one day a visit from
Annette Mills changed the lives of all concerned.
Selecting puppets to use in her BBC programme For
the Children, Annette chose the mule and clown. She named the mule
Muffin and the rest, as they say, is history.
To read more about the Hogarth Puppets and Muffin
and the merchandising that was created click here
for information on Muffin the Mule - Commemorating 60 years of Muffin
the Mule with Memories and memorabilia.
The Collectors' Club will celebrate the 60th anniversary
of Muffin's BBC television appearance with an afternoon allowing
members to meet Muffin and friends. To be held in June. Details
to be announced in the February newsletter.
If you would like to meet Muffin please contact the
club for a membership form. Family and friends welcome.
Adrienne Hasler with
Photo courtesy of Ron Hasler
Photo courtesy of Derek McNally
In the days before he was renamed by Annette
Mills, Muffin was known merely as the kicking mule, associated
with the clown in the Hogarth Puppet Circus. Following his
television fame, Muffin again appeared in circus performances
as a star of TV
He's Back... 8th September 2005
Photographs Courtesy of the BBC September 2005. Please
note that all of these images are copyright of the BBC.
Muffin returns to the BBC some 58 years eleven months
and twenty days after his first appearance (20th October 1946).
His new timetable can be found on the BBC's CBeebies
Muffin has returned minus his strings but retaining
all of the charm and personality that made him the first international
television star. Of course, he was already a widely travelled puppet
being part of the highly respected Hogarth Puppets troupe which
toured the world. Muffin's television fame brought him to the forefront
of the puppet theatre.
The new animated series draws on the original personalities
of Muffin and his friends but brings the world in which they live
up to date. Having been allowed to have a sneak preview of the programmes,
I have little doubt that 'new' Muffin will be as popular with todays
children as he was with my generation of children.
If you would like to read more about vintage Muffin
and how the new series developed, please click here
and you will find details of the definitive guide to Muffin the
As the Collectors' Club celebrates its 6th
birthday, Club members are looking forward to seeing the new animated
version of Muffin the Mule scheduled to be shown on the BBC's 'CBeebies'
The series is to be accompanied by the publication
of a 60th anniversary annual and four new stories featuring the
'new' image Muffin the Mule and, an anniversary DVD is also planned.
In addition, also available - 'memories and
memorabilia guide' book written by Adrienne Hasler which covers
the both the history of the original Muffin the Mule (and the humans
involved with him) and contains the first ever collectables guide
listing original merchandising.
for more details.
The club continues to support the designated
charities through donations from subscription and other fund raising
activities at our annual Club afternoon. This year the meeting will
be on 8th October and, as usual, will feature the original Muffin
the Mule and many of his friends.
Muffin meeting a young admirer. Courtesy of Mrs
Sadly, Sally McNally died from cancer in May 2004.
She leaves behind her, her family - her husband, Derek, daughter,
Lucinda and son, William & their respective families. Derek has
been involved in Sally's work with Muffin for many years and has
generously agreed to carry on with recollections of his own for
Sally saw the first of the new animated stories and
had the knowledge of all that is to come as the BBC and Muffin work
towards celebrating 60 years of children's television.
Muffin himself (& his friends) will continue to delight
children (young & old) at our Club days….the next will be a celebration
of those first 60 years.
Sally McNally born 1936 died 2004
Since its beginning, the Collectors' Club has attracted
not only the collectors who can take advantage of having a book
and toy dealer as members but, also, those people with an interest
in the actual Muffin the Mule programmes and related 1950's children's
Muffin and his friends are now set to return to the
BBC sixty years after Muffin's first appearance.
In the spring of 2003, Maverick Entertainment Plc,
a company that specialises in the creation, acquisition and development
of Intellectual Property Rights in children's television programmes,
characters and related products, signed a deal with Sally McNally
which will allow them to bring Muffin back to our screens in 2005/6.
Although Muffin will be animated, and not be seen
on a piano top, it is not the first time that he has appeared in
this way. In the late 1950's, Jan Bussell and Ann Hogarth produced
an animated story featuring Muffin. Club members who attend the
annual Club Day have been privileged to be shown this delightful
Muffin loses none of his charm by being seen in animated
form and I believe that a new generation of Muffin fans will to
be found viewing the programmes.
In the mean time, the DVD and video of eight original
episodes can be purchased from the usual high street and on line
I am Adrienne Hasler, who, when not hunting for Muffinabelia,
looks after a grown up family. My nursing background did not prepare
me for the computer skills required to set up this site so I would
like to thank my eldest son and his girlfriend for their support
and work in setting up and revising the site.
I set the club up in the summer of 1999 because,
during the course of my own Muffin collecting, I found myself appearing
on the C4 programme "Collectors Lot". I discovered other
collectors were having the same problems as myself - of finding
sources of Muffin items. I have now established several contacts
and indeed, two of my first members were the toy dealer who has
been very helpful finding items for me and also the book dealer
who has been my source of several books. Both work hard in their
efforts to find items for Club members.
As with the original Club, we are non-profit making
and are supporting two charities from the subscription fees - one,
"Friends of Lyndon House" - a respite home for children
with special needs and the other, "Freshfields" is a rescue
centre for donkeys with a unique facility to help children with
special needs. Click here to read more
When the original Muffin the Mule Club was in existence
in the 1950s, the club donated money to buy televisions and
radios for childrens hospitals.
Carrying on this tradition, the Collectors Club
is nonprofit making and thus far, since the club started in
1999, we have raised over £6,000 for our chosen charities.
is a unique charity in that it has a dual purpose.
It is responsible for rescuing donkeys from inappropriate situations
and caring for them in a very special way.
The donkeys are cared for by children, who, themselves, have
The children are allocated their own donkey for the duration
of their stay and under supervision, the child cares for their
Freshfields is the home of The Michael Elliott Trust (a registered
charity) and is situated near Buxton in the heart of the beautiful
Peak District National Park in Derbyshire.
Should you wish for further information about this charity,
please visit their web site at www.freshfields.org.uk
of Lyndon House
Lyndon House offers short stay care services
for children with learning disabilities and a healthcare need.
The unit is part of the Solihull Healthcare NHS Trust but, as with
many other units, relies on fundraising to help supplement the basic
equipment required by such a unit.
The unit is staffed by specialist registered nurses and dedicated
care staff, many of whom support the fund raising efforts of the
Friends of Lyndon House.
If you have any Playstation games or other games or
toys that you feel might be of use to the unit or, if you would
like to have more information, please write to or email the club.