Tamara Toumanova in the country. Photo by Serge Lido, 1949.
In 1936, while Toumanova was performing in Chicago, an 18-year-old boy named Burr Tillstrom came to see her perform. Following the ballet, Burr went backstage to meet her. As they talked, Toumanova and Tillstrom became friends. Some time later, Tillstrom showed her a favorite puppet and she, surprised by his relevation, exclaimed “Kukla” (Russian for “puppet.”) Burr Tillstrom went on to create a very early (1947) television show for children, titled Kukla, Fran and Ollie. (Wikipedia)