This is the third in a series of INKUBATE Writer Profiles. Thank you, Rod, for granting us permission to speak publicly about your life and work.
INKUBATE caught up with Rod Butler exactly where you would expect to find him: in a room filled with laughter, children and, of course, puppets. These were young children too—Preschoolers—yet they were thrilled to sit and watch, for a solid half hour, the uplifting antics of this one-man puppet show. Rod told us that when the show was over, and he was packing up, a lady from the school business office came down the hall with a quizzical look on her face, and had to ask him, “What was going on in here? I've never heard the children laughing so much!”
A professional puppeteer for over 30 years, a children's radio personality for over 20 years, and an aspiring author for longer than he can remember, Rod grew up in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. “I was born the same year as Disneyland, and like Walt's wonderland, I've always wanted to entertain people and make them laugh. Especially children. But my adventures really took flight in high school, when I said a simple prayer—that my life and my talents would be used to spread laughter and blessings to others."
In college, Rod began puppeteering for friends, on a children's TV show and at a local children's hospital, where he learned the impact that even a puppet can have on people and families facing difficult journeys.
And all along the way, Rod never stopped writing stories. “Guess it's in my blood, this writing thing. I grew up listening to the snapping keys of my dad's manual typewriter as he wrote short stories for Dime Detective magazine, and later screenplays for Republic Studios, several starring Roy Rogers and Trigger. My stories are a bit more far-fetched than his were, but he must have ingrained in me a love for playing with words.”
Now living in Arlington, Texas with his wife and three children, Rod Butler divides his time several ways. By day, he's the Director of Children's Programming for 90.9 KCBI and the creator and host of their nationally syndicated Coconut Hut Radio Show, heard every Saturday morning from 8 to 10 a.m. CST. Kids call him Bongo Rod, and he's joined on the air by the characters he voices, including Bob Dah Lobstah, Coco & Nutt, Finny the Fish, and a comical superhero, Captain FlashLight, with his trusty LumaDog, Blinkie. Rod has garnered four Tesla Awards for his audio production.
By night, or whenever possible, he continues to pursue his other loves: puppetry, traveling to libraries for their Summer Reading Programs; writing screenplays for his animated series in pre-production, The Brilliant Adventures of Captain FlashLight and producing his very first children's picture book, which was just printed a few months ago by his non-profit company, Filament City Media.
Which brings Rod to INKUBATE with three posted submissions: his picture book and audio CD, “Finneas McBly with a Log in his Eye,” the Junior Captain FlashLight novel, “Time to Shine” and his "HANDS ON!" Puppet Workshop Manual.
What's next for Rod Butler? “Wherever I'm asked to go, and whatever I'm asked to do, I hope that a big part of it will always be laughter!”
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