Some evidence suggests that we've been entertaining ourselves and our communities with marionettes - puppets controlled from above by wires or strings - since 2000 BC. This may even pre-date actors performing on stage.
The most 'famous' marionnettes in North American culture are 'Pinocchio' (Disney) and Howdy Doody - riding the rising wave of film and television in the 1940's.
Just think of the possibilities today to bring back this all-but-lost art, both in it's traditional form, and in a 'Geppetto meets Arduino' mash-up with today's computer and robotic technology.
Marionettes at a shop in Austria - Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)