French family of Parisian casteliers (booth players) active from 1818 to 1980. Police regulations during the Restoration period forced the first Guentleur to move his booth, mounted on wheels, regularly into different side roads off the Champs-Elysées. In 1820, he obtained authorization to settle in the Avenue Marigny, but had to clear all his equipment each evening. In 1848, his son was finally allowed a fixed “pitch” where he built a staging which he called Le Vrai Guignolet (The True Guignolet), playing with string puppets and glove puppets alternately.
A version of La Tentation de saint Antoine (The Temptation of Saint Anthony), which inspired Gaston Baty for his own version in 1942, was from the outset part of the family’s glove puppet repertoire. Also included were Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid) and La Mère Michel (Mother Michael) and, with string puppets, short comedies which were fashionable at the time: Les Poissardes (The Fishwives), Mademoiselle Javotte marchande de fleurs (Miss Javotte, Flower Seller), Monsieur et Madame Denis (Mr and Mrs Denis). The number Le Matelot en goguette (The Sailor on a Spree), in which a sailor sheds his clothes in rhythm to the music, has gone down in the annals of expert manipulation.
Similarly, Guentleur II created a new repertoire for a character he invented, “Guillaume”, whose success allowed him to head off his competitors on the Champs-Elysées, all of whom slowly disappeared.
Guentleur III stopped using string puppets in 1870, and Guentleur IV changed the location of the theatre to the corner of the Avenue Gabriel and the Avenue Matignon in 1932. The following generations enjoyed more or less fame without any other innovation until 1980, when the last Guentleur puppeteer had to give the concession of Le Vrai Guignolet to a puppeteer who was not a family member.