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Danish railroad commercials

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by Fighbird, Aug 8, 2003.

  1. Fighbird

    Fighbird Well-Known Member

    Hi there, totally newbie here... :)

    I've been wondering about some commercials, that have been shown on danish television for the past 2-3 years or so, featuring a very Muppet-esque character, by the name of Harry.

    Naturally, he's not an official Muppet, but I read somewhere that the puppet was built and performed by a (former?) Muppeteer, and I was wondering, if someone hereabouts had the real story...

    Here is a link to the commercials shown on TV, and here are some stills of the Harry character.

    I know the name of the danish dub actress (yes, the character is a male, but the voice is done by a female), which is Søs Egelind. You can clearly see that the (presumably american) puppeteer isn't quite adept at syncing to the danish voicetrack, but he does a great job with it.

    The character is quite popular in my country, with lots of merchandise available, and in case anybody's wondering: The commercials are for the Danish State Railways (or whatever that translates into...).

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! :D
  2. muppet_dk

    muppet_dk Well-Known Member

    I've brought this up before.
    The guy performing Harry are called Matt Ficner.
    And apperantly theres been some confusing information giving to the press in our country or the press has misunderstood the information given.
    Heres what Secret Squirrel told about Matt in a thread that I started some time ago:
    "Matt is a Canadian puppeteer. I believe he currently lives in Ottawa. His TV credits include Under the Umbrella Tree, The Noddy Shop, Caillou, Groundling Marsh and Tales from the Longhouse. For the Jim Henson Company, he performed in Jim Henson's Brats of the Lost Nebula. Around that time he was also involved in some live work, including playing with the Chef in Florida."

    I don't know who build Harry but i think I can remember a program where some danish puppet builders talk about how Harry was created.
    So I belive his build by danish puppet builders, but then again I'am not sure about it.
  3. Animal

    Animal Well-Known Member

    WOW...another one from Denmark!


    Welcome onboard!!! :)

    -Hans :halo: :halo: :halo:
  4. Fighbird

    Fighbird Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys, and thanks for the info there, muppet_dk. I did search this board for a thread on this before I made this one, but didn't find the one you're referring to there...

    muppet_dk, what paper did you see the article in? I think I saw something in "Se & Hør" about a year ago with a blurred shot of the puppeteer lying on the floor in one of the IC3's...

    And for the puppet being build by danish makers, it sure looks a lot like a Muppet - especially considering what I call "the danish tradition" in respect to the puppets we've seen on television the past 35 years or so ("Magnus Tagmus", "Julerup Færgeby", "Anne og Lotte" etc.). It's a *huge* departure, IMHO. But I dunno...

    And sorry for all the danish, y'all, but that's what you get for having a board with international members... :D
  5. muppet_dk

    muppet_dk Well-Known Member

    I can remember seeing something in "Se & Hør" but unfortunely I did not save that article.
    If you want I can mail you the articles that I'am talking about. They are taken from a database so they don't have any pictures.
    In "Troldspejlet" on DR1 there were something from behind the scenes on one of the commercials. Where they also talked to Matt about Harry.

    I know what you mean. I'll try to see what else I can dig up about it. Actually maybe theres something in the articles about it. I'll take a look at them right away.

    Theres a thread somewhere where we tried to teach the others swedish and danish. So I don't think they really mind.
  6. Fighbird

    Fighbird Well-Known Member

    Oooooh, I'd love to see that article! Please mail it to my personal e-mail addy if possible (if you can find it anywhere here...). :)

    I actually wrote an e-mail to Mr. Ficner about 3 hours ago, asking him about the Harry puppet. According to his webpage http://www.cyberus.ca/~ficnerjdm/matt/, he does hold seminars in puppet building, so maybe he tought some danes some new tricks. :D

    Dagnammit, I missed that on Troldspejlet. I usually work mondays, so I never watch it anymore (even though I have been watching since 1988 or something) - but on the other hand, they seldom show anything *really* worthwile on Troldspejlet anymore, but that is another matter...

    Thanks, man! Fedt! ;)
  7. Fighbird

    Fighbird Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the article! You're da man! :D
  8. muppet_dk

    muppet_dk Well-Known Member

    Let me know if you get an answer from Matt Ficner about Harry, and what he says.
  9. Fighbird

    Fighbird Well-Known Member

    I got a nice e-mail from his wife, Debbie Ficner, today that

    Harry is not a puppet build by Matt, but was already the mascot for the Danish railway when Matt began to perform "Harry". Unfortunately Matt is no longer performing "Harry" as of this spring.

    Interesting reply, really. First off, I don't remember seing Harry at all before the commercials started airing, and considering that those were probably made 3-6 months prior to airing, it seems strange that DSB already had the character developed... Looking like he does, I still think the merchandise was based on the puppet, and not the other way around. But maybe that's just me...

    ''Unfortunately Matt is no longer performing "Harry" as of this spring''... This past spring or the next one? Either way, it's a shame that Mr. Ficner won't be performing Harry anymore, let alone that that could be a hint about DSB has stopped making Harry-commercials. :(

    OT PS: Gotta love the emoticons on this board. :D
  10. BlueFrackle

    BlueFrackle Well-Known Member


    Harry is not a Muppet, And was not made by Henson's.

    But he is a great looking character !

    see ya
  11. muppet_dk

    muppet_dk Well-Known Member

    I've read somewhere that there are some new commercials on it's way. Apparently they include a old and young Harry puppet.

    Edit: I've just re-read the article that contains the info on the new commercials. It's not a old Harry that will appear but it's Harry's grandfather along with Bahnsen's grandfather. I guess it's basicly still the Harry puppet that have been made old.
    It's still both Søs Egelind and Søren Pilmark that play the roles.

    MFICNER New Member

    FEB 2005
    Hello, I am Matt Ficner.
    I just wanted to forward this information to those who may be interested. I was browsing the web and I happened across these questions in regards to the work I had done for the Danish railway DSB as a performer for the “Harry” puppet. I was the puppeteer for the puppet for 3 years (2001 – 2004) . I performed Harry for 30 commercial spots that aired on Danish television. The puppet was built in Denmark.

    A fantastic friend of mine and fellow puppeteer Bob Stutt is now performing Harry.

    There was a mis-translation during an interview that I did while I was in Denmark.

    I did spend time in a television studio with the Swedish Chef character. I was a guest of Bill Baretta and John Kennedy who where performing the Swedish Chef for a kids cooking show that was being produced at Disney MGM (sometime in 2000). Bill was performing and voicing the Chef and John was performing the Chef’s hands. I was merely a guest at the studio and was fortunate enough to have been in the company of such great performers.

    In my experience with many media interviews I have often found that they never get the story quite right. I also believe that, in this case, my story was lost in the translation.

    M. Ficner


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