Franz von Pocci

1807 – 1876

In 1858, the puppeteer Joseph Leonhard Schmid (1822-1912) asked Count Franz von Pocci, the music steward at the court of the King of Bavaria, to write plays for the children's puppet theater he was planning to open in Munich. At the time, Pocci had already made a name for himself as a composer, illustrator and author of children's literature. The son of an Italian officer who had entered the service of Bavaria and a Dresden baroness, Pocci trained as a lawyer and became master of ceremonies to King Ludwig I at the age of twenty-three. He cultivated the arts as a dilettante, making a name for himself through his illustration work and the caricatures he published in the satirical press and illustrated magazines of the mid-century. At the time of his meeting with Schmid, he had already published stories of Kasperl illustrated with shadow figures in the Münchner Bilderbogen - just like his contemporary, Karl Reinhardt. His collaboration with Schmid made Pocci one of the most prolific puppet writers in the German-speaking world, and indeed in the whole of Europe. The "Puppet Count" wrote more than 50 plays, which gave rise to countless rewrites and adaptations from the 20th century onwards. His character Kasperl Larifari became the embodiment of puppet theater in Germany. As for Pocci, he would have a Munich metro station named after him...