Buelah Witch – Broomstick Airlines

Buelah Witch is a liberated, somewhat hard-of-hearing puppet witch featured on the NBC/ABC children’s puppet show KUKLA, FRAN AND OLLIE (1947-57).

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Voiced by Burr Tillstrom, Buelah Witch was one of many stock puppet characters called the Kuklapolitans who communicated with Fran Allison, the show’s beautiful, charming hostess.

Madame Buelah Witch is a pilot for Broomstick Airlines. In her early years, she attended a school called Witch Normal and later received a degree in electronic magic where she learned to brew special potions. Buelah thinks her gold broomstick should have electronic controls.

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Her fellow Kuklapolitan puppet friends included:

  • Kukla, a bald, bulbous-nosed puppet with a high-pitched voice.
  • Oliver J. “Ollie” the Dragon , a reptile with one tooth who lacks the ability to breath fire..
  • Cecil Bill, the stage hand, who spoke a nonsense language (Tooie-ta-tooie) which were intelligible only to Kukla.
  • Madame Ooglepuss, a red-haired lady with a horribly crooked nose and the manner of a grande dame.
  • Colonel Cracky, a gallant Southern gentleman who calls every woman…his fragile magnolia blossom.
  • Fletcher Rabbit, the talkative postman, who sometimes starches his floppy white ears.
  • Naughty Mercedes, a spoiled child.
  • Clara Coo Coo, a frivolous cuckoo bird with a southern accent who used to work in a clock in Santa’s workshop. .

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In 1954, Buelah Witch appeared as Pitti-Sing in the Kukla, Fran, and Ollie puppet adaptation of ‘The Mikado” that appeared on NBC television.

NOTE: The Buelah Witch character was named after Beulah Zachary, the show’s producer. The misspelling of “Buelah” was intentional.

Buelah Witch had her origins in the 1945 Junior League production of “Hansel and Gretel” which featured a witch and a rabbit.

The lead ship of the 450th Bomber Group (723rd Squadron Serial No.41-29228) that lead the WWII Steyr mission of February 23, 1944 dubbed itself “The Buelah” after “Buelah Witch” in the 1940s cartoons.

On the ABC fantasy series SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH, Jo Anne Worley (of LAUGH-IN fame) appeared in the Halloween episode “Good Will Haunting” as Aunt Beulah, one of the Spellman family’s eccentric relatives who lives in an Insane Asylum in the Other Realm.

Buelah Witch
c/o Broomstick Airlines

Kukla, Fran and Ollie (IMDB)
Buelah the Witch – Kukla, Fran and Ollie – That Old Black Magic (Video)

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About

Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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