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The 1st Ping was published on January 6, 2000.

August 5th, 2000

Duso the Dolphin

Recently I had a flashback to kindergarten and first grade guidance class. The guidance counselor would come around to each classroom and talk about “issues” — ranging from behaviorial issues to social issues. What stands out most about those visits was that our counselor brough along “Duso the Dolphin,” a hand puppet she used to get across her messages to the younger children. There were usually stories constructed along the way in a serial type of fashion, and it left us kids wanting to know what happened to Duso and his friends (Lefty the Octopus, Soupy the Turtle, Clarissa Clam, and Salina the Swordfish).

Did anyone else have Duso as part of their curriculum?

Thanks to the wonders of the Net, a search for Duso has turned up some information. First, Duso actually stands for Developing Understanding of Self and Others. And apparently, some people don’t really care for ol’ Duso. And either does this person. And this article criticizes Duso for being “new age” (guided imagery) and points to the dolphin as one of the possible causes for Columbine. Ouch.

I always thought Duso was just a nice break in the middle of the stressful kindergarten day! -ram

Posted in Childhood Memories

Peggy September 11, 2006, 1:48 am

Wow! I’ve been reading these postings in total astonishment that anyone could possibly link this program to brainwashing, think it anti-Christian, evil, etc., etc. I started teaching in 1971 and am now a guidance counselor in an elementary school. I happened to inherit an office with some materials left by a former counselor and just recently looked through them and found the DUSO program. I took it home this weekend to review it and listen to the tapes and read the stories to see if it might be suitable for my counseling groups. I thought it was a fun way to introduce some important concepts to children–like being kind to others, cooperating, making decisions (anything sound remotely satanic so far? I don’t get it! I’d be laughing, but actually I think it pretty sad, really!! I googled in hopes of finding a site to order some missing components of the set. No luck so far–but it was interesting and enlightening (certainly not in the sense of reaching a higher state of consciousness, to be sure) to discover the controversy surrounding these friendly puppets! Now on to continue my search!

anonymous January 12, 2007, 8:49 pm

I was in 1st Grade in ’67. I Remember DUSO the Dolphin! As the writer put it…It was a welcomed break from the same old..same old!

gina February 9, 2007, 5:52 pm

i recently bought duso for myself.i remember in 1st grade the teacher using the puppets to entertain as well as teach us those special values.i think todays schools need this so that kids will not only think of themselves but the consequences of their actions.my kids saw the 45’s that came with it and couldnt believe that we actually listened to them..oh the good ole days.

Charlotte, NC December 11, 2007, 10:53 pm

I RECEENTLY HAD A MEMORY OF DUSO…WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO “CLARISSA THE CLAM?”

Catherine January 10, 2008, 12:50 am

I was singing the song today and decided to look it up. I don’t remember the other characters, but do remember how happy I felt when the counselor would come to my classroom and use the puppets and tapes.
I taught non-english speakers for a year and would have loved to have had Duso to help them understand some of the concepts that I was teaching.
I am now in HR……and am wondering if it could help here too.

I am a graduate of the Boone Community School District in Boone, IA – class of ’86.

Thank you so much for having this website!

Catherine Reed

JD March 9, 2008, 8:43 pm

I remember. I’m 40. 1st grade seems about right. I also remember S.R.A.’s This was some kind of self guided reading/comprehension tests at the same time.

Regards,

JD

Craig April 7, 2008, 5:13 pm

I remember DUSO from my early school days in the late 70’s. The guidance counselor would show up once a month or so for a DUSO show. THE CLASS LOVED IT. I don’t remember much, but what I do remember sounds nothing like what the detractors point to as corrupting my young mind. So unless my guidance counselor has planted a “Manchurian Candidate”-esque plot in my brain and it is still waiting to be fulfilled, I give DUSO thumbs up!

Jim W. May 26, 2008, 7:47 pm

I remember Duso as a child in the early 1970’s. The person would come in, put a cassette in the tape player, and start from there. It was fun and I remember it fondly. The song I heard that was played at the start of the performance went like this..I can only remember part of it ‘Hey Duso, come on out, hey Duso, come on out…’ I often wondered if anyone else had heard of Duso.

Jim

ed September 29, 2008, 6:33 pm

i’m currently an elem. school counselor who still uses duso & the kids still love “him”. the lessons are still useful even as old as the program is .”old” can still be useful!!!!!!!!!

Linda October 21, 2008, 7:26 pm

Tee-hee!! I’m a school counselor and at the request of some of the other “oldies but goodies” like myself, I revived poor old Duso from his dusty hiding place. The current first graders and kindergarteners love him, and it’s enhanced my popularity in the school. “When are you bringing DUSO to our room?” and “How’s DUSO today?” I think today’s kids are so wrapped up in video games, computer games, and TV that a puppet (although MY Duso thinks he’s real!!!), is a rare treat for kids whose imagination may be squashed, subdued, or non-existent. DUSO is still teaching the same values he always did, and what could we want more in our world–compassion, altruism, taking care of each other and our environment, human kindness. I say “Up with DUSO!” Bring him back out of his hiding places!!

sarah20xoxo January 5, 2009, 12:17 am

omg i remember duso. i just found this page by doing a search for duso. i remember there was a song it was like “hey duso come on out..” unfortunately thats all i remember. and there was the clammy the clam or whatever her name was and other weird characters. our councelor in elementary had the puppets and i liked when she would bring them in but at the same time even in like 2nd grade i thought it was weird haha. making puppets talk to us about our problems ahah. weirdness.

wizzy November 4, 2009, 2:45 pm

I remember Duso, but only “Hey Duso, come on out.” I do not remember my guidance counselor making us do anything weird…all I remember from 1st grade are bits and pieces….getting spanked for staying in the bathroom too long, the special way our teacher whistled to get us off the playground, the brown lockers we had, the green gym walls…the mean teacher’s aide…a few kids…bringing Charms lollipops in to the class for my birthday…but no new age funky stuff…I’m sure that if I can remember these weird tidbits, if Mr. A had told us to do something like the laying on the floor and imagining stuff, I would remember that…

SarahNebraska November 22, 2009, 2:59 am

I had the most wonderful Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Lindenburg and she would tell us stories about Duso the Dolphin. I am twenty-eight years old and i can still remember being very excited for Duso story time. For some weird reason, I though of the dolphin today and then found this page in a random search. Anyone can blame anything for violent actions such as Columbine, but truly how can you fault a character that brings out a child’s imagination while teaching them important life lessons.

KJNYC December 14, 2009, 1:07 am

I’m 35 and grew up in CT. Remember Duso the Dolphin vividly. “Hey Duso, c’mon out, hey Duso c’mon out. We like to listen and talk with you, we like your rhymes and your stories too…” I still sing this 30 years later.

Tiana April 19, 2010, 2:17 am

all i can say is WOW!!!! I certainly can relate with KJNYC! That jingle has been stuck in my mind for 30 years. as a matter of fact it was there tonight and I had to google it because I would like to share with my daughter. I am just blown away at all of the negative and accusing comments about the silly little puppet and never in a million years would have seen Duso as a topic of controversy. It has always been a pleasing memory of my child hood. I mean come on.. with the society we live in and all of the things that people allow their childrent to watch on tv and only God knows what 90% of them read or see on the internet and we are going to blame DUSO for actions like Columbine?? Just another reminder of what a horrible place the world CAN be.

Bryan July 22, 2010, 10:54 pm

I am 36 years old and from Denver Colorado. I too got traning from Duso the dolphin. I was in a special development class becuase I had a hard time reading when I was in 1st grade or 6 years old. How funny, I thought I was looking for a story book character but I do recall the puppet.

Beth Groves August 31, 2010, 8:44 pm

I would like to purchace a complete set of DUSO-1R and DUSO-2R. If anyone knows where I can get these sets please let me know by posting your information on this sight so I can contact you.Thank you

Kate December 21, 2010, 6:07 am

Wow! I’m glad to see someone else remembers this! It was my second grade class that was introduced to DUSO, and I think we all felt it was a little babyish for us. I’m 27 and have harbored an almost 20-year resentment for this stinking dolphin. Babyish though it may have been, I definitely remember actually being interested in and wanting to hear the DUSO stories. I was a painfully shy child with anxiety disorder who uually did not have to pay attention in class because I was beyond the level being taught and was constantly being pulled out of class for “gifted” enrichment – I usually just sat quietly in the back of the classroom during the rest of the school day and read, so it felt hard to act interested in the DUSO stories without the other kids noticing. The problem was that my teacher wouldn’t just leave well enough alone and share the stories. Sitting quietly and attentively wasn’t enough. She insisted we ALL sing along with that theme song and act like we were enjoying ourselves or she would stop class and practically yell at us and even refuse to move on to the actual stories. She just didn’t seem to understand the merciless teasing it felt like we’d have to go through if caught singing enthusiastically to a hand puppet at age 7 or 8. I don’t think she ever asked us to interact with DUSO beyond the initial singing and I’m glad to hear that there was more to it than that.

Jeff July 4, 2013, 10:36 pm

For some reason, I was thinking of Duso the other day so I thought I would run it through a Google search. I am 43 now and remember Duso from my second grade class. I don’t remember the lessons but I sure as heck remember that damn song. I especially remember changing the words to the song, singing it and getting sent to the principal’s office. My version was “Hey Duso, fart on out.”

Kelli July 6, 2013, 2:51 pm

I was in kindergarten in 88 and I loved Duso!!! He caused my most embarrasing school moment. I had to go to the restroom really bad but I wanted to hear the Duso story so bad I waited too long and wet myself. Im not so sure Duso was worth it but I sure did love him at the time!

Guy August 16, 2018, 5:50 am

We had “Duso” also. Sea gate Elementary Naples Florida

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