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Keeping Hats on Heads

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by minor muppetz, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I'm not really sure where this thread belongs... I feel it's more Muppet-related than puppet-in-general-released.

    Anyway, does anybody know how the Jim Henson Company has usually kept hats on it's characters heads? Due to the shapes of the heads, some don't look like they can keep their hats on without help. Are the hats usally sewn on, taped on, velcroed on (is "velcroed" even a real word?), or something else?

    I think Fozzie might be one of the few characters whose hat is put on in place. The shape of the top of his head and the position of ears seem easy to keep it on, and his hat has unintentionally fallen off at times. And Fozzie is also one of the few hat-wearing characters to regularly be seen taking the hat off and putting it on (thoug most hat-wearing Muppets have rod-controlled hands so that would be hard for many).

    Given the shape of Kermit's head, I'd be surprised if he could hold a hat on his head. Whenever Kermit wears a hat (most notably his reporters hat) it looks like it's on the back of his head. His pingpong ball eyes on top of his head don't leave much room for a hat to just be at the top without blinding Kermit.

    There are many others who don't look like they can keep their usualy hats on without help... Characters like Dr. Teeth, The Swedish Chef, Floyd, and Sherlock Hemlock. And I wonder if anything is sued to stick Biff and Sully's heads to their helmets (both characters helmets have fallen off their heads at times when drilling, but both were otherwise rarely seen hatless... though given the head and hat shapes it looks like Sully's can stay on real well).

    I think Zoot and Janice can wear their hats without having to stick them on.
  2. BobThePizzaBoy

    BobThePizzaBoy Well-Known Member

    Usually the hat is pinned down to the puppet's head with safety pins. I can't answer the question regarding other characters.
  3. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    It seems they use a variety of methods. I'm sure velro/double stick tape is used a bit if they want the hat to stay on in a scene - thanks to the nice clear picture dvds offer, you can see the pin keeping Zoot's hat in place in early episodes. And if i remember correctly, when they brought out Fozzie as part of a puppetry demo at Muppetfest there was tape on his head under his hat (this may have been more for storage than performing though).
  4. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I decided to look at this thread now, after all these years, and wow, I don't remember getting responses before (though obviously I did within a few days of this post).

    A month or so ago, I asked this question during a live "Below the Frame" episode, and they said it was a variety of ways (which DW said here). Interestingly, they said that construction worker hats are hard to stay on (and now that I think about it, I don't think they actually said how they get them to stay on - maybe I just don't remember (and I could rewatch it), or maybe it was too complicated to reveal). Shortly afterwards I re-watched the scenes I mentioned where Biff and Sully's hats fall off when they are drilling, and in both cases the hats fly off when they start drilling (of course, Biff's does stay on when drilling in Elmopalooza). I recently saw the episode where Sully's flies off, for the first time in years, and saw that it fell off right when he started drilling, and then noticed a later scene, after an inserts break, that shows Sully still drilling but now with his helmet tied to his head with obvious rope (which I don't remember from when I first saw the episode). I thought those instances were just accidents that they chose not to re-shoot/fix, but now I wonder if they intended on having their hats come off on purpose (though having rope tied around Sully's head to stay on later seems weird.... but now I'd believe either way if they did it on purpose or not).

    A few years ago I saw An Evening with Jim Henson and Frank Oz, and when they brought out Fozzie, Fozzie made a big deal out of him needing his hat to be unpinned before he could go on (so he could take his hat off and put it back on). Somehow I think that's mainly for when he's stored, as it is not only common for him to be shown taking his hat off on-screen, but there's also been many times when his hat fell/flew off on accident (there's a behind-the-scenes clip from the Racquel Welch episode where his hat falls off, which doesn't happen in the finished version of the scene). And in the Below the Frame episode in question, it was said that they used to use pins for Fozzie but now use a magnet.

    Of course, whether instances of hats falling off heads are really accident or intentional, I'd have to really be convinced that it was intentional when Big Jeffy's hat falls off at the end of Sad. I don't really think his hat can stay on without applying something (which we can't see in the scene - and if it was pinned, shouldn't the hat have just fallen sideways and stayed, instead of falling off shortly after it fell over?), especially since there was also a take where the hat doesn't fall off.

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