- The forerunner of Mr Punch in the English Punch and Judyshow. Pulcinella, one of the comic servants or Zanni of thecommedia dell'arte, was probably created by the actor SilvioFiorillo at the start of the 17th century. The Italians consideredhim to have typical Neopolitan attributes. A dullard with a hookednose and a hunched back, he probably derived from Maccus,a stock character of the Roman atellana. In the French Comédie-Italiennehe became the more cunning and witty Polichinelle beforeevolving, in England, into the irascible Punch.
Un secret de Polichinelle is a French phrase meaning nosecret at all, an open secret. In the old French puppet-shows Polichinelle'ssecrets are stage whispers addressed to all the audience.