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Sheri Robinette

Sheri Robinette

Sheri, a newly-hired Librarian, just finished organizing the card catalog system when a man approached her, “I was admiring the puppets you have displayed in the children’s area”, he said. “Do you know who made them by chance?” Sheri glanced at the puppets in the distance and smiled, “Oh those are just a few I sewed for storytime and to amuse the younger ones. I just started creating them recently.”

“Ah!”, the man exclaimed. He appeared pleased and continued. “Would you be willing to produce a larger puppet? Say… overnight?” Sheri looked at the man puzzled. “Here’s the deal”, he said quietly. “I’m Rick Dees’ Agent, you know, the local disc jockey? He just produced a song that’s bound to be a hit. We need a duck puppet to accompany him on stage at an airing on The Tonight Show and American Bandstand in just three days. The song is called Disco Duck.”

The man appeared concerned, almost desperate to address his need. “If you can create a puppet by tomorrow morning I’m willing to pay $250… CASH.” he said proudly.

Sheri was taken aback. $250 was as much as her whole monthly salary (this was 1976, mind you).

“Well… I,…. uh…. okay”, she replied. “I think I have enough material, and it’s… well. 5:30 pm… I guess I need to clean up here and get started”, she said under her breath.

The rest is history. The Disco Duck was created that evening and gave Sheri the confidence to begin working commercially with ad agencies in Memphis and Nashville producing fabric props, costumes, and illustrations. And, with time lead her to develop a portfolio that landed her first job in the toy industry.

Disco Duck

“Disco Duck” became a nationwide hit in the United States by September 1976. On the
Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, it peaked at number one on October 16, 1976, for one
week, held the number-two spot for the following four weeks and remained in the Top 10
for a total of 10 weeks.

Sheri’s Creative Career

Sheri began her career in the early 80’s as a Senior Design Director at Hasbro®, overseeing a staff of eight executing notable products such as the GloWorm®, the Wuzzles®, Cabbage Patch®, My Little Poney® clothes and many more.

Later in the 90’s she held positions as Product Design Director at Tonka Toys®, Senior Designer at Milton Bradley®, and now partners with her husband at Terry Miller Associates creating board games, books and trading cards.

The couple currently resides in Ludham, England in a 400-year-old thatched home.

Pictured: Sheri Robinette and husband, Terry Miller – Malaga, Spain – 2009

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John Robinette

John C. Robinette

John Robinette lives and works in Memphis and is a 1966 graduate of the Memphis College of Art where he earned a BFA degree in painting. For the past 40 years, he has been involved at one time or another in virtually every aspect of the visual arts including illustration, stained glass design, sculpture, mural painting as well as teaching at the University of Memphis and the Memphis College of Art.

John has been the recipient of numerous awards over the years including medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York and feature articles in Communication Arts magazine and the book The Ultimate Portfolio.

During his years as an illustrator, he produced work for clients such as Time-Life Books, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, Random House, Psychology Today, RCA-BMG Music, Walt Disney and Buena Vista TV.

In recent years, John has devoted his time to his personal work which involves the Mississippi Delta Landscape and Origins of the Blues subject matters. Works from the Delta Series are in many corporate and private collections across the United States.

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