Life on a String: The Yale Puppeteers and the Turnabout Theatre Audio Tour

15. Otto Rothschild, The Turnabout Mainstays, Ca. 1940s

Transcript below

b/w photo of the four women and two men who were Turnabout Theatre mainstays reacting to performance



Throughout the years, talented performers came through the doors of the Turnabout Theater, and many stayed as members of the extended Turnabout family.


Here we have a photo of the Turnabout mainstays, who were there for most of the Turnabout's existence. Starting on the left-hand side, we have Dorothy Neumann who was referred to as the fourth Turnabouter, who was their business partner; Harry Burnett; Frances Osborne; Elsa Lanchester; Forman Brown; and Lotte Goslar.

And you can see they're seated inside the Turnabout Theatre on one of the flipping seats with the autograph wall behind them. And there was a large number of people who came in and out of the theater but this group of people were really the core and the beating heart of the Turnabout Theater.


Roddy Brandon is not pictured in this photo as he often remained behind the scenes, working the box office and managing the troupe's business affairs. But actress Dorothy Neumann, a long time Turnabout associate, recalled that he was the one who called the shots.


I always say he was the glue, or the mortar, that held Forman and Harry and me together. I've been asked many, many times about what the relationship was amongst the three of them. It was unique, and I never really knew or bothered to ask. Or I would turn those questions away and say, "I really don't know." Sure, they're gay, and a lot of the charm of the theater is due to the fact that they are gay, and several touches about the theater were very interesting and I think came from their own sensitivity.

Life on a String Audio Tour Credits

  • Produced by the Los Angeles Public Library
  • Written by Claudia Bohn-Spector
  • Edited by Acousticguide, Inc.
  • Interviews with James Reynolds, Christina Rice, John F. Szabo, and Charles Taylor recorded at the Central Library Octavia Lab
  • Interview files edited by Sye Gutierrez, Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
  • Archival audio of Dan Bessie, Forman Brown, Harry Burnett, Odetta, Dorothy Neumann from the documentary Turnabout: The Story of the Yale Puppeteers (1993). Used courtesy of Dan Bessie.
  • Images of puppets and costume taken by Keith Kesler, Los Angeles Public Library Public Relations Department