Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Eclipse of 2017

Everyone has been so excited about the eclipse of August 21, 2017, that they've bought their special eclipse viewing glasses and are planning to stand outside to see the moon completely cover the sun.

Even these guys.

And girl.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Missy - not going to let you stop her...

We copied the previous comic strip here so you now know why Missy was looking in the window while Muley, Buford, and Roy Duck were watching TV.

You can see these comics and more information if you sign up for the newsletters at which shows the greatest old movies, shows, newsreels, and cartoons!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Updated Kids' Messages by Muley the Mule

Our church home is First Congregational Church, and ever so often Muley gets up to talk to the kids and the congregation about some important topic.  Usually something bible-y.

Each Sunday morning, someone shares a lesson with the kids before they go to children's church.  The other leaders are inspirational, and even the adults find something thought-provoking and interesting.  We lean on the energy of these people for our presentations.  Keith Norman, Marsha Walton, and Butch Odom are the others, and their deliveries are beautiful!

Come join us sometime and see what it's all about.  The music, the people, the message.  It's a good home to be a part of!

Below follows the kids' messages, and further down is the schedule for Kevin's turn in children's church.

There are just so many people to name for Children's Church.  It's such a great time, and the kids are brilliant and fun!

July 16:  Kevin and Muley
August 13 Kevin and Muley
September 3 Kevin and Muley
October 1 Kevin and Muley
October 29 Kevin and Muley
November 26 Kevin and Muley
December 31 (New Year's Eve) - Kevin and Muley

July 30 - Kevin Williams
September 17 - Kevin Williams
October 15 - Kevin Williams
November 19 - Kevin Williams
January 7 - Kevin Williams

Monday, June 26, 2017

Muley's June 18, 2017 Kids' Message

As is well-known, we attend First Congregational Church on Sunday mornings with a Meet-n-greet session in the Commons area with snacks and coffee starting at 10:00 am.  Services begin at 10:30 am.  One of the first things that drew us to the church was the beautiful performances of the choir.  Before continuing, CLICK HERE to hear "The Ground" from Sunrise Mass (video added by Mark Ratay, leader of the Cafe Congo which feeds 500 people each week {donate here}).  It's beautiful, and sounded even more beautiful in person.  Come hear them.  And will sound great while reading this.

So, as the church anthem begins, our own right-hand man to Roy Duck, DaMarco Randle, makes his way to light the worship candle.

Photo by Mark Ratay.

Followed by Muley's presentation.  His message follows (it changed a little bit during the presentation).

Photo by Mark Ratay. Julia Hicks wrote in "The Congo Beat" newsletter: "Muley never
fails to captivate during the Children's Sermon!  Thanks to Kevin Williams for his
talent and commitment to our children's ministries."
Good morning, Friends!  Today is one of my favorite times ever, and that’s when I get to be here, and I get to see all your faces.  Yup, looks pretty much like all our friends are here.  And some new friends.  Hi, new friends.  And some really OLD friends.  Hi, old friends.   
So, friends.  Let’s talk about friends!  Not the TV show, that was so 90’s! I mean real friends.  The people we see, talk to, e-mail, and that we love very much.  Friends will help you when you need them, friends will watch after you, and sometimes friends can be closer than even family members.  And some family members can be your closest friends!  Friends love you unconditionally AND friends are fun and funny.  You can play jokes on each other and not get mad. Friends are people you can share things with, like food, toys, probably not clothes, but you get the idea.  Friends are truly a treasure.  At least to me.  I have a friend who’s a dog, a duck, a cow, my cousins are also my friends and that’s a donkey and a horse; but, I also have human friends.  I consider you all my friends, too.  Do you all have friends?
Oh, have you ever had a friend that moved away?  That’s always the saddest.  I’ve had one of my friends move away and we couldn’t see each other or hang out anymore, but we can e-mail, write letters, and talk on the phone.  That’s always a good way to keep in touch.  I once heard some people talking and they said that you can always tell your very best friends.  They’re the ones that you can be away from a long time and when you do finally get together again, it’s just like old times!  Which, for us, “old times” is more like a few weeks ago, right? 
Well, we’re in a season of Pentecost, and it’s that period of time after the crucifixion and all, and Cleopas and a friend are walking away from Jerusalem.  Now, Jesus had 12 disciples, right?  Well, he had more than just 12.  He had a lot of followers who were also disciples and Jesus sent them out into the world also.  And of those other follower-disciples, here comes Cleopas and his friend, walking away from Jerusalem, and they were very sad.  They met up with a stranger and had to explain everything that just happened, and the stranger began to tell them how all the prophets through time gave news and the bible says that the stranger “interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.”  Hmm. “things about himself?”  He stayed the night with them, and at dinner he took a piece of bread and broke it and gave it to them, and then they realized that the stranger was Jesus! 
I wonder if Jesus is sometimes on the sidelines of the disciples’ activities, and then just jumps out all of a sudden and says, “Ta-daa!  It’s me! Jesus!”  That would be fun!But, Jesus let Himself be known when he broke bread over dinner.  Still, He was their friend and they didn’t recognize Him at first.  Kinda makes me wonder.  I wonder when I’ve been out and about and didn’t realize it, but do you think Jesus could show up to us even now?  Have we met Him and never known it?  The man on the corner asking for food?  The cold child who needs a jacket? The little old lady who needs the door open for her?  Jesus is everywhere! 
I think Jesus is always with us, and is even in this room right now.  Jesus is always with us, and is always right here…in our hearts.  We show others love, compassion, and fair treatment, and that’s what Jesus wants.  That’s what Jesus wants for us and from us, because Jesus loves you, and so does your pal Muley, and I’ll see you real soon!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Muley in Black and White

There's a couple of references here, wondering if you will see them; but, I'll share below.  This has been drawn to run with a newsletter from ACME Classics TV.
If you saw our show "Millionaire Magazines" on ACME Classics, you will notice the ball thrown into Jonathan's head at the end of the show; but, also from the table when the boys are doing art there are 3 drawings, the Bug toy (what other reference does this toy make?), and their box of crayons.  And, as always, Missy Mule is stalking Muley from outside the window.

Another 'inside' joke we have in the MuleyVerse is that dogs are supposedly color blind; but, we always let Buford the Dog make references to color.  Indeed, they're watching a good old movie ACME Classics TV.

In black and white.


I was once asked why our puppet shows use old music, or why the comics or props are always "old" items.  Well, "everything old is new again," meaning that modernized telephones, televisions, radios--the designs are SO BORING!  This comic strip wouldn't have the same effect if it were a new LED Flat Screen TV.  Just another insight from our MuleyVerse!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Superman Celebration - June 8 - 11, 2017 - Schedule

It's time to put your underwear on the outside of your pants and tie your cape around your neck, it's time for Superman Celebration 2017!!  Special Super Guests this year are:
Dean Cain
James Marsters
Margot Kidder
Sarah Douglas
John Ostrander

When darkness descends upon the City of Metropolis, there's only one hero that can don his cape, fly down into the city, and bring about justice!!

Superman.  Yeah, yeah.  You thought we were going to say SuperMule.

But, SuperMule won't be far behind.  So, keep your eyes peeled for him!  Here's the schedule for Superman Celebration 2017:

CLICK HERE to get directions from where YOU are!!

Muley and Friends events are in the Smallville Tent, located right next to the Lois Lane statue and straight down the street from the fantastic Superman Statue!  Be sure to say hi to Joan who heads up the tent each year and hosts the Super Kids' Costume Contest with Muley!  Right next door to the tent is Artists' Alley where you can meet many fantastic artists and writers.  On the opposite side of the tent are those inflatable things you can run through if you are under a certain height.

Friday, June 9:
11am - Puppet-making workshop with Kevin L. Williams
4pm - Muley and Friends Show
4:30pm - Muley and Joan co-host the Kids' Costume Contest!

Saturday, June 10:
10am - Puppet-making workshop with Kevin L. Williams
2pm - Muley and Friends Show

Here's what to expect:
-All of our presentations are family-friendly and fun!
-After a brief introduction about what puppetry and its history, we gather around a table full of great items to create our unique and one-of-a-kind sock puppets.
-Come sing and dance along with Muley the Mule and Friends as they bring some good tunes back from the dark ages of music history.

As promised to the puppetry workshops:

Prints on 8.5x11" paper.

Prints on 17x11" paper.

Prints on 17x11" paper.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Muley's Kids' Messages - First Congregational (January - July)

We're ready to share this first half-year schedule for Muley's visits to First Congregational Church, where he is now also a member.  Possibly the first Fabricated-American member of this very diverse church!

The kids' messages that are shared at First Congo are not just for the kids; but, also for their adults.  It's an opportunity to parents to continue the lesson in conversations with the kids even after church, reinforcing the lesson taught and learned.  As with anything being taught children.  It helps for parents to remain active with their children during any lessons to be taught from school, church, educational television...

While church services begin at 10:30 am, there is a meet-and-greet with members in the upstairs cafe at 10 am.

After church, be sure to stay in Midtown and visit one of the following restaurants which help the Food Ministry feed the hungry community (nearly 500 people per week!):
Strano Sicilian Kitchen & Bar
Celtic Crossing
Panera Bread

Other supporters not near the church:
Deja Vu
Whole Foods

January 29:  Kevin and Muley
February 26:  Kevin and Muley
March 19:  Kevin and Muley
April 23:  Kevin and Muley
May 21:  Kevin and Muley
June 18 (father's day):  Kevin and Muley
July 16:  Kevin and Muley

Photo by Angela Moore

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Congo Cabaret: That's Entertainment, Hosted by Muley the Mule

January 22, 2017, is fast approaching and with it comes the Congo Cabaret: That's Entertainment.  This variety show hearkens back to the days of vaudeville.  The twist?  This show is hosted by none other than Muley the Mule and Friends!

The event is created/produced/directed by Joel Chapman, one of the counselors of church's mental health center, and is meant to help raise funds for the food program at First Congo.

You can buy your tickets in person after services on Sundays with a check or cash, in the Global Goods Store with credit, or log into, click on DONATE, and when buying your ticket list how many seats you need when buying the $40 family package (up to 4 seats) or the $25 single seat ticket.  You can also buy single seat tickets for others who might not be able to afford it otherwise.

Seating is limited to only 100 people, and as of this writing over 1/3 of those seats have been sold!  Don't wait, buy your ticket now!

We will have performances by Brennan Villines, Pastor Cheryl Cornish and Mark Allen, Sibella, Prof. Randy Rushing, and a bunch more surprises.  Also, you know our history: Being hosted by Muley the Mule and Friends ANYTHING could happen!!

The press release is below the video (which works on some browsers, or CLICK HERE.)

(Poster by Joel Chapman)
First Congregational Church, fondly known as “First Congo”, in the Cooper-Young
Neighborhood, is presenting “That’s Entertainment”—a big evening of dinner cabaret to benefit the social justice ministries of the church. On Sunday, January 22nd, with supper beginning at 5:30 and the show starting at 6:00, there will be a wide array of semi-professional and professional performers to brighten a winter’s evening, raise funds, and gladden the hearts of children and adults.

Hosting the cabaret is Muley the Mule and Friends—a fabulous troupe of puppeteers who not only will introduce the acts, but will perform and bring some surprises as well. Check them out at Some of the artists scheduled to appear are Dr. Randal Rushing, Professor of Voice at the University of Memphis’ Scheidt School of Music who will “channel” the likes of Hank Snow and Merle Haggard. Pastor Cheryl Cornish and her guitarist husband, Mark Allen, will play the music of PDQ Bach. You don’t want to miss that.

Director of the show and tenor, Joel Chapman, and baritone, Jonathan Devin, will join to sing the haunting “Lily’s eyes” from “The Secret Garden.” Duo Sibella will perform some of their original songs, and song stylists such as David Winter and ZB Davis will
represent the blues and musical theatre genres. The music director for “That’s Entertainment” is rising pop singer and composer, Brennan Villines, who recently gave a wow big band performance at Playhouse on the Square and who will sing a selection from his 2015 album, “Free.” Check him out at

Tickets are $25 for singles, $40 for a family up to four, and include a delicious spaghetti supper. There will be a cash bar for beer and wine. The cabaret takes place in First Congo’s new Hub where approximately 400 people per week are fed a hot lunch and where clothing and toiletries are available in the clothes closet and pantry.

The Hub includes a stage where it is hoped coffee house and cabaret productions will become a regular part of the First Congo community outreach.

Tickets must be pre-paid and can be claimed at “will call” the evening of the show. Tickets can be purchased at the church, 1000 S. Cooper St., by check, cash or credit card. Or, go to and click on the “Donate” button. Be sure to indicate your payment is for “cabaret” and clearly indicate the type of tickets you are purchasing: singles, family plan, or a combination. We have to know the total number of seats you are purchasing. Please leave a phone number in case we have questions.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

2016 Kids' Messages Schedule Pt. 2

Well, folks, the second half of the year is upon us and here is your schedule for when you can hear Muley speak to the kids and the whole congregation of First Congo!!

August 14
September 11
October 2
November 6
December 11

And January 29, 2017!

Meet-n-greets start at 10am, services begin at 10:30am.
Hope to see you there!

Photo Credit by Roger Courts

Monday, July 4, 2016

Farewell to a Super Woman! Noel Neill 1920 - 2016

Oh, so sad today.

One of the things that's great about Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL, is that you make so many wonderful friends that it feels like a home-coming celebration instead.  And as a part of that family I had a great chance to meet such a sweetheart, graceful lady. For the many years that we went to Metropolis for Superman Celebration, Noel Neill (the original Lois Lane) was there and generously gave her time to visit and share her love. 

Many conversations were had between her and Muley, and it seemed as delightful for her as it was for us! Her bright eyes and big smile was always a happy moment for us and I hope we brought her that same joy. I think we did!

After a fall some years back, I sent her a care package including a signed, framed photo of her and Muley. While talking to her close friend, biographer Larry Ward, I asked if she got it and he said, "Yes, and I'm a little jealous. I went to visit and it was there on the nightstand where my picture used to be."  Today, Larry replied that we brought her joy and thanked me for loving her in that way--and, you know, it was my greatest honor to have been there wiggling that mule for her enjoyment.

Knowing Muley was the first thing she saw in the morning, and the last thing at night, brought me joy! And I hope brought her even more joy.

I'm thankful for the opportunity and blessing to have become acquainted with this beautiful, super woman.  My heart aches; but, is also filled with joy for having been able to claim one part of my life touched by such a great woman.

My advice to Larry stands true to all our Metropolis Family:  Having lost friends I know that time does NOT heal all wounds; but, time allows us the opportunity to find new ways to share our love, celebrate and continue to show our appreciation for them.  That will bring us all comfort.  Keep in mind, also, that our lost loved ones are only a spoken word away, and they're always with us.

Fly high, super woman, and thank you for such wonderful, beautiful memories.

From her friend and biographer, Larry Ward:

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of my very close friend, actress Noel Neill, the original "live action" Lois Lane from Superman.   Noel passed away yesterday at her home in Tucson, Arizona after a long illness.  She was 95.

Noel Darleen Neill was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1920, the daughter of Minneapolis Star Tribune news editor David Neill and New York vaudeville performer LaVere Neill.  She hit the stage early in life in local productions at the age of five, and also offered dramatic radio performances on local Minneapolis stations as early as 1929.   She was childhood friends with the Andrews Sisters as they attended dance school together, with Noel eventually branching out as a solo singer and dancer.   Noel and the Andrews Sisters barnstormed middle America together playing many of the RKO Orpheum Theatres throughout the region, as well as performing at countless county and state fairs throughout the midwest in the 1930s.       

After graduating from Central High in Minneapolis in 1938, Noel and her mother headed west by automobile, reaching Los Angeles a week later where she would eventually make her permanent home.   Soon after her arrival, at almost 18 years of age, she was hired to sing with Bing Crosby's band at the Del Mar Racetrack.  Other singing jobs followed in San Francisco, Tucson, and in Los Angeles.

And then Hollywood came calling.  With the help of Crosby, Noel signed a seven-year contract with Paramount Pictures in 1941.  She initially made several short films, then appeared in mostly non-speaking roles, gradually gaining leading lady status beginning with 1944's Are These Our Parents?    

In total, Noel made close to 100 films in her long and incredible career, and surprisingly, most were Western films made in the 1940s and 1950s.  She worked with many noted directors such Cecil B. DeMille, Vincent Minnelli, and Hal Roach, and starred with actors Bob Hope, Crosby, Gene Kelley, Clayton Moore, Johnny Mack Brown and William Holden.  

But it was her role as Lois Lane in the 1948 Columbia movie serial Superman that caught the interest of fans everywhere.  She was bright, funny, assertive but with a quick sense of humor; and opposite film's first Superman, Kirk Alyn, the serial was a hit which necessitated a sequel, 1950's Atom Man Vs Superman, again starring Alyn with Tommy Bond as Jimmy Olsen.

Her work in the iconic 1950s television series, The Adventures of Superman with the late George Reeves, however, best defined and cemented her legacy as "the intrepid reporter."  After years of playing bit parts in bad films and great roles in forgotten films, she finally found her niche.  As a teenager she knew all about the newspaper business from her father and she had also actually written for Women's Wear Daily in the late 1930s, so it was a role she believed she was born to play.  And as she would admit in interviews later in life, she simply played herself.   

Arguably the most prolific actor in the Superman science fiction genre, Noel would also go on to work with Christopher Reeve in the 1978 film Superman, in the 1980s in the Superboy series with Gerard Christopher, the 2004 Jerry Seinfeld webisode Hindsight is 20/20; and finally, in Brandon Routh's 2006  feature film Superman Returns

The recipient of many awards over the years, she had long professed that her 2004 Golden Boot Award - for her many Western films - as presented to her by her friend and fellow actor Tom Selleck - was likely her favorite.   

The town of Metropolis, Illinois, which had proclaimed Noel Neill  First Lady of Metropolis some years ago, also dedicated a Lois Lane statue in her likeness in 2011 for her love of the role and her many visits to Metropolis over the years.  The statue is a popular attraction and has been visited by thousands of her admirers since its dedication.           

As Noel's close friend, companion and biographer, I found Noel to be generous with her time and the same person off the screen as she appeared to be on the screen.  Her stamina was legendary as she happily made personal appearances and attended book signings well into her 90th year.  She was kind, selfless, hardworking, funny with a quick wit, and assertive - all the same qualities that embodied the character of Lois Lane.   Noel truly was Lois Lane, and for many of us, she was the first working woman seen on television.  Few of her fans actually knew her real name, almost always simply calling her "Lois" to which she would unfailing answer with a bright smile and a kind word.  It was more than a role to her.  "Lois" was someone she believed in and a character she happily and warmly embraced.  
Noel Neill maintained that bright, perky and engaging personality up until her death.  

Funeral services will be private with a public memorial held later this year.  

Larry Thomas Ward, July 4, 2016  

Photo credits:  Both photos of Noel Neill with actor George Reeves in 1957.    

Click the banner above to read the Metropolis Planet Article.