The Optimist (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 75, No. 35, Ed. 1, Wednesday, January 27, 1988 Page: 3 of 6
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
Wednesday January 27 198B page 3
IBmBBbSSHSHP "THBHMHoSfflSKsHHB!iP jHiF ' 'Hfiai2
J i. w
r vi "
Nelson Coates is excited to be
home and he's excited about
The excitement is in his voice
when he speaks of the little puppet
and the project he came home to
complete. He gets exdted his eyes
light up and he raves.
"Gerbert is wonderful" says
Coates ACU alumnus and son of
Drs. Ed and Jane Coates. "You can
get expressions in his face. He's
Coates and Gerbert were in
Abilene last week filming a children's
series to be aired on the Christian
Broadcasting Network beginning in
April. CBN did the filming at the
Paramount Theater and Gerbert's
co-stars were a group of 22 Taylor
Brad Smith an executive with
CBN Chris Christian also with
CBN and writer of the lyrics for the
musicals; and Coates attended Taylor
Elementary School in their youth.
Peggy Drennan who still is music
director at Taylor Elementary taught
the three when they were in the
' Coates said he end Smith came up
with the idea to use the Taylor
IBlllBllHlHHUBBHlHBiniHBHalllBBaH lBTW flBBBBBBI
hIbBki JBi&jh. ''fl
w ; jEL iPsT
duy VwgNVSpwIal to th OptMrt
Top: Nelson Coates sits among tho sets he
designed for the children's series entitled
Gerbort. Several ACU students made the sets.
Right: Coates shows three Taylor Elementary
students the proper moves for their part in the
musical video being filmed at the Paramount
Theatre last week.
Above: Gerbert tho rod-headed orange puppet
whom the show was name after pops into the
show dressed as a doctor.
Gerbert teach through film
Elementary students. "We thought it
would be neat to see if we could in-
So Coates come to Abilene in No-
vember and auditioned the children
without their knowing they were be-
ing auditioned. Children were
chosen the sets were made by ACU
students the children learned the
music and the show was rolling.
Coates returned to Abilene from
his Dallas home a week and a half
ago to begin rehearsals finish the sets
and prepare for Gerbert's arrival.
Gerbert is an orange puppet with
bright red hair who Coates hopes will
become as famous as Big Bird some
day. Gerbert wears a little beany
high tops and green shorts. He was
originally created for the Highland
Church of Christ puppet ministry 10
years ago and later his character was
polished by Kermit Love who also
has created Big Bird Snuggles and
other famous puppets.
"Kermit Love said it was one of
the strongest character puppets he's
ever created" Coates said.
He said the children just love
Gerbert a condition that appears to
catch anyone who meets the ram-
bunctious little puppet who pops in
1 . '
1BBHBBHBBB HbBBBB1MP T)l jtflBBBBBBBIIIBBHBBHIBflBr iMHllHBlHHIBV&BalBBBBBBBBBBBBBBHBBBBIIBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBHIIBBBBBBBBHBH
BBHNB;.tJ!t''r. 'y JHHHHiBlBiBlllBVHIllllllllllillllH
IHIpPil i " HbhhHHbbhibiiBiibbmIIiibbiiiiiibhiibIIiI
mwrnii - -- iiiiiiiiiiiFffiPWBIWi
and out of the children's little music
The music is designed to introduce
occupational roles Coates said. The
children sing lyrics such as "I'm glad
the mailman is my friend trustwor-
thy to the end." Children also sing
about firemen doctors teachers and
even the neighbor.
Coates duties include creating the
sets and teaching the children the
choreography. Coates says he loves
children a fact that is evident when
the Taylor students jump into his
Coates said this film series is a way
to tell children about God and for
him i3 a combihation of three
loves."I love kids and I love the the-
ater arts and I love the Good News"
said Coates a 1983 graduate of ACU.
He said with Gerbert he "is trying to
reach the unchurched as well so they
can relate to Gerbert."
Coates' interest in the theater arts
didn't come Until the years after his
graduation. He was a Sing Song host
while at ACU and also a cheerleader.
He worked as featuresgraphic design
editor for the Optimist and when he
graduated with a degree in mass
communication he worked as a free
HnniTtiliilr.MTiiii in $
lance graphic designer.
But after moving to Dallas and
becoming involved in Northeast Arts
Institute he began to feel the pull of
"In my spare time I was starting to
do more theater work and design-
ing" he said. "Several clients and I
started thinking about creating a co-
op with several businesses." Source
Four a graphics company was
Source Four allowed Coates to
work on his own including some
work in front of the camera and his
current project which came about
through a fellow Abilenian.
Coates said he knew Andy Holmes
Gerbert's master and maker through
church at Highland.
Holmes went to Dallas and began
trying to market Gerbert When
plans for a pilot video were in the
makings Holmes asked Coates to be
The video was released last year
and CBN picked up the show and
decided to run a series The show
will be called "Gerbert" and will run
for 13 weeks beginning April 1.
Coates said the series is unique
because so many people from Abilene
Not only are Coates Christian
Smith and Holmes from Abilene but
Mark McCord another ACU gradu-
ate also is participating in parts of
And the project is special because
the Taylor Elementary students are
involved and part of the filming is be-
ing done in Abilene. "It's kind of fun
to come home with a project like
this" he said.
And then of course Gerbert is
from Abilene or at least Abilene
can claim him. Coates said he hopes
to see the puppet become famous. Al-
ready Dillard's has a clothing line
named after him and many hospital
pediatric wards use the little puppet
as their mascot including Hendrick
But Coates said Gerbert's real
value comes because children can
relate to him and learn from him.
"He's allowed to have feelings"
Coates said. "He's allowed to feel
alone or scared. People help him
make a solution."
In turn Gerbert helps the children
find a solution and Coates said that's
what the show is all about.
- By CANDY HOLCOMBE
IMBME'gJMWWiWEMt I'llUF WMBUL'S 'l""
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Newspaper.
The Optimist (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 75, No. 35, Ed. 1, Wednesday, January 27, 1988, newspaper, January 27, 1988; Abilene, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101436/m1/3/: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Abilene Christian University Library.