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What do You Like to See?

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by D'Snowth, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    It's interesting in reading and hearing about what some people actually like to see when it comes down to puppetry, such as reading about how Matt Vogel actually would look for the rods and such that went into the puppets' hands, or hearing about how Sid & Marty Krofft once attempted to capitalize on the popular of Topo Gigio from The Ed Sullivan Show with minimal success because apparently audiences actually wanted to see strings and such.

    With the new Muppet movie that just came out, it's clear there wasn't a rod or anything to be see in sight, a lot of the character affects were done with chromakey and such, which does indeed work well on a big silver screen, but how do you personally feel about it? Do you like it when extra added effects are added to hide the rods and such, or do you actually like to see them and maybe headtops and such?

    In my own opinion, I DO like to see rods and the "sleeves" that come out of the puppets like from the bottom of their torsos, or from their glove hands; as impressive as visual effects are like in the new movie, to me, it's too much of an effort to hide the fact that what you're seeing are fake characters, and trying to make theme seem as real and as lifelike as possible... to me, what makes them believeable and lifelike is the characters' personalities the people who interact with them, and I've experienced that ranging from little kids, to even a grown man once, who can spontanouely carry on a conversation with a puppet, without any thought that, "Gee, am I seriously talking to a pile of foam, felt, and fleece?"... there's no acting involved in that, it's genuine, it's believable.
  2. Melonpool

    Melonpool Active Member

    Watch the Muppet Movie again (the original 1979 one). I have never seen a rod in that -- and that was made decades before it was easy to paint it out. I'd say that with the right puppeteers, a happy medium is the best option.

    There were two things I didn't like about the current Muppet film: Fozzie looked like he had really cheap fur (like from Joann's) and we saw the Muppets' feet waaaay too often.
    Enginerd likes this.
  3. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I think they went back years ago (back in the `90s?) and digitally removed all the rods from the original Muppet movies. If you're watching it on DVD or TV these days, chances are you're seen an altered version of the film. Rods don't bother me, but sloppy puppeteering where the rods are held really high in the shot does. If you watch all the classic Muppet stuff, they always do everything they can to minimize the rods so that they don't become distracting.
  4. Animal31

    Animal31 Active Member

    Personally, I liked all the imperfections of the Muppet Show and the original Muppet Movie, rods and arm sleeves are all part of it.
  5. Melonpool

    Melonpool Active Member

    I don't think the rods were ever particularly noticeable in the first 2 or 3 Muppet Movies. I remember as a 7 year old seeing the rods on Sesame Street and Muppet Show, but I never remember seeing them in the movies. I think clever framing and performance goes a long way. Multiple takes helps too. Remember that the Muppet Show was always framed similar to a 3-camera show over a couple of days, so they had to make a lot of concessions.
  6. The Shoe Fairy

    The Shoe Fairy Active Member

    Heh, I remember being younger and wondering why puppets always had rods, never was able to put 2 and 2 together. I figured that all puppets worked akin to hand puppets.
  7. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    That's the way I feel about it... I mean clearly it doesn't have to be obvious (like someone mentioned the hands being held too high where you can see too much of the rods), but it still isn't like drawing attention to the falsehood of the whole thing.
    Same here! When I was a kid, there was a BIG different between a "Muppet" and a "Puppet"... a "Muppet" was like on TV: Kermit, Big Bird, all those guys... a "Puppet" was a little toy that you stuck your hand into, and wiggled you thumb and pinky inside the little hands, and used your other fingers to wiggle the head.
  8. Gonzo's Hobbit

    Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    I remember I always had this vague thought every now and then that the characters were prisoners of some kind because of the rods. I had no idea why all the monsters had "strings" coming off of their hands.
    Personally I don't mind the rods in any respect. I've never seen a sleeve which is something that could be said for how well they do it.

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