Jim Henson’s The Animal Show With Stinky And Jake

Louise Gold puppeteered Tizzy Bee, Bunnie Bear, Rhonda Rat and other assorted characters on Series 2 (filmed in London in 1995), and, Series 3 (filmed in Norwich in November & December 1997).

 

Cast

Dave Goelz – Stinky The Skunk and other assorted characters (including: In Series 2: Margaret The Stork; In Series 3: Pavlov The Pug Dog, a Red Fox, a Yellow Fish, a Badger, a Mole, a Pelican, Socks the black & white cat)

Steve Whitmire – Jake The Polar Bear, and other assorted characters (including: In Series 2: Wingo The Shoebill; In Series 3: a Flying Squirrel, a shaggy yellow Dog, a Rainbow Coloured Snake, Pavlov The Pug Dog, Lawrence the Orangutan)

Bill Barretta – Armstrong The Chicken Hawk, Dullard The Aardvark Cameraman (Series 3), assistant puppeteer on Jake (Series 2 & 3), and many assorted characters (including: In Series 2: Lazlo The Hyena, Nemets The Ant, Travis The African Buffalo, Dkembe The Gemsbok, Ralph The Moose, Rudy The Roadrunner, Custer The Bison; In Series 3: Cornelius The Crab, Dave The Human Being, am Owl, Frankie The Crocodile, Mel The Lemur, Max The Wasp, Bart The Coyote, Galahad The Grasshopper, Charlie The Chamois, Julius The Spoonbill, Quincy The Flying Squirrel, Kyle The Secretary Bird, Malcolm The Lion, Timothy the Owl, Paul the Pelican, Larry the Fish)

John Eccleston – Yves St La Roach (Series 2 & 3), and other assorted characters (including: In Series 2: Milton The Blue-Footed Booby, Nico The Marine Iguana, Jackie The Orangutan, and Perry The Wilde Horse; In Series 3: Andrew The Reindeer, Stanley The Mouse, Andrew The Whale, Hector The Spider Monkey, Morris The Ant, Jasper The Jaguar, Yorik The Salmon, Cody The Colobus Monkey, Winston The Woodpecker, Melaine The Mink, Ernie The Mongoose, Harvey The Hummingbird, Barry The Honeybee, Warren the Warthog, A Blue-Footed Booby, Sly the Crocodile)

Louise Gold (Series 2, and, Series 3) – Bunnie Bear, Yvette The Roach, Tizzy Bee (Series 2), Rhonda Rat Rodent Reporter (Series 3), and other assorted characters (including: In Series 2: Trudy The Chimpanzee , Inidra The Whale, Natasha The Tarantula, Doreen The Camel, Phoenicia The Hippopotamus, Winnie The Wasp, Monica The Musk Ox, Lulu The Potto, and, Alicia The Volcano rabbit; In Series 3: Alicia The Snail, Mavis The Frog, Julie The Flamingo, Alana The Baboon, Vic The Monitor Lizard, Virginia The Red Fox, Kiki The Rattlesnake, Hortense The Hornbill, Gilda The Gorilla, a Red Fox, Stella the Stoat)

Katherine Smee (Series 3 only) – assorted characters (including: Sasha The Siberian Tiger, a Vulture a Spider Monkey, a Camel, Maxine The Indian Elephant, a Secretary Bird, a Snake, a Cheetah, Molly The Albatross, Priscilla The Honeypossum, Flaubert the Brown Black & White Anteater, Pearl The Pike, a Grasshopper Mouse, Penelope The Yellow-Footed Tortoise, a Penguin, a Marine Iguana, a Hornbill, Sandy The Giant Otter, a Rattlesnake)

 

Guest Puppeteers

Frank Oz – as Sam The Eagle in Series 3 Episode 18.

 

Opening Titles Puppeteers (this was recorded before the rest of the programme)

Nigel Plaskitt

Mak Wilson

 

Human Actors

Dave Goelz & Family made a cameo appearance in Series 3, as Humans.

 

Production Team

Director – Peter Harris

Production Design – Derek Brown

Production coordinator – Tatiana Bicat

Puppet Builders- Jane Howell, and, David Skelly

Computer Generation Development – Dave Housman, Hal Bertram, and, Karen Halliwell,

Development of HPCS:  Faz Fazakas, Brian Henson, Dave Housman, Peter Miller, and, John Stephenson

 

The character of Tizzy Bee on The Animal Show  marked a very important step in the development of Computer Generated (or CG) Puppets. It was the first television programme for which The Creature Shop’s famous Performance Control System, otherwise known as HPCS,  developed by David Housman, Hal Bertram and company, was in regular use. Some sources suggest that a primitive version of what would become the HPCS was in use on Labyrinth. However  the major development came with Waldo , the world’s first computer generated puppet character designed by Kirk R. Thatcher in 1990 for The Jim Henson Hour, where it was puppeteered by Steve Whitmire. In 1991 or 1992 (sources vary) Faz Fazakas, Brian Henson, Dave Housman, Peter Miller, and, John Stephenson received a Scientific & Engineering academy award for their development of the Performance Control System  In 1993 Hal Bertram and the team further developed the Performance Control System of operation along with a CG Puppet character called Pixel, who was demonstrated on Tomorrow’s World by Brian Henson. The following year Hal Bertram and David Housman were joined by Karen Halliwell and the three of them led the team developing Tizzy Bee for the first series of The Animal Show, where she was puppeteered by Karen Prell along with two assistant puppeteers (Mike Quinn being one of them). A year later, with Karen Prell having left, Louise Gold took over as Tizzy’s main puppeteer.

Bill Sherman described visiting the set of the second series of The Animal show, and watching the puppeteers and crew at work with the character of Tizzy as follows:

 

 The first part of the afternoon session consisted of several spots with Tizzy (performed by longtime Muppeteer Louise Gold). Tizzy is a bee “puppet” that is a 100% computer generated character, similar to the Waldo character of The Jim Henson Hour and Muppet*Vision 3-D. While Louise performed the voice, Tizzy’s movements were performed by three people (including Louise) – and a computer, all of which had to come together to make the end result.

   While the technology used to create Tizzy was more advanced than the days when Waldo was introduced, it was still on what is often referred to as “the bleeding edge.” In other words, it was quirky, and needed lots of coaxing. This caused shooting to get a little behind schedule, eventually prompting director Peter Harris (director of The Muppet Show) to come down from the booth to check on things.

   The format of “Animal Stories” is to bumper the commercial breaks with Tizzy posing and answering a question relevant to the guests on the show. Several of these segments were taped, each needing to be rehearsed, and then shot in several takes to get the movement and lines just right. Louise must have said the phrase “give it think, we’ll be back in a buzzzzzz” a hundred times.” Bill Sherman, MUPPETZINE, Issue #18, Fall 1996, page 18.

 

For a cast list of all The Animal Show characters, from all three series, and who puppeteered which please click here. (If anyone knows for sure of any inaccuracies in this list, please email to the webmaster)

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, and, Steve Whitmire , along with Frank Oz were all among the eight main puppeteers on The Muppet Show, and the special The Muppets Go To The Movies; and as part of The Muppet Show Eight can be heard on Muppet Show Music Album, Muppet Hits 1, Muppet Hits 2, all of which Peter Harris was also involved with. They all feature on the documentary Of Muppets And Men.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, and, Steve Whitmire can also be heard (along with Frank Oz) on The Great Muppet Caper (Soundtrack album), John Denver & The Muppets A Christmas Together, John Denver & The Muppets Merry Christmas 45RPM, Favorite Songs From Jim Henson’s Muppets, Put Some Zing In Your Spring, Muppet Music Sampler, Muppet Music Mix, The Muppet Christmas Carol (Soundtrack album), Christmas For Kids, John Denver Christmas, and, Music Mayhem & More.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, and, Steve Whitmire, along with Frank Oz were among the main puppeteers on the film The Great Muppet Caper,, on which Faz Fazakas, worked.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, and, Steve Whitmire, along with Frank Oz, were also all major puppeteers on The Creature Shop’s very first film, The Dark Crystal. On which Faz Fazakas, and, John Stepehenson worked.

 Dave Goelz and Louise Gold, along with Frank Oz had previously appeared together on The Royal Variety Performance (1977), and on the album Jim Henson Presents Silly Songs.

Dave Goelz, and, Louise Gold, along with Frank Oz can also be heard on the albums The Muppet Show Music Hall, and, The Muppet Show 2, both of which Peter Harris was also involved with. Excerpts from the latter album turn up on the single For What It’s Worth.

Dave Goelz, and, Steve Whitmire, along with Nigel Plaskitt, Mak Wilson and, Frank Oz had previously puppeteered on Labyrinth; for which The Creature Shop also did many innovative puppets.

Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Louise Gold, and, John Eccleston, along with Nigel Plaskitt, and, Frank Oz had previously puppeteered together on The Muppet Chrismas Carol, for which Jane Howell, and, David Skelly also built puppets; and on which David Housman, and, John Stephenson also worked.

Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Bill Barretta, Louise Gold, John Eccleston and, Katherine Smee, along with Nigel Plaskitt, Mak Wilson, and, Frank Oz puppeteered on Muppet Treasure Island, for which Jane Howell also built puppets, and on which Tatiana Bicat, John Stephenson, Hal Bertram, and, Karen Halliwell also worked.

Louise Gold and Steve Whitmire had appeared in The All Time Get Around Sometimes Play Together Every Other Friday Night Vaudeville Show.

Frank Oz’s recording credits include Born To Add, and, Elmo’s Lowdown Hoedown.

Nigel Plaskitt had previously puppeteered on the video for Spit In Your Ear, which Peter Harris was also involved with.

Nigel Plaskitt had previously puppeteered on  The Spooks Of Bottle Bay; He has gone on to puppeteer on The Creature Shop’s Alice In Wonderland, and, Space Sprogs, as well as directing Louise Gold’s cabaret act LOUISE GOLD...By Appointment.

Nigel Plaskitt and Mak Wilson had previously puppeteered on Spitting Image, which Peter Harris also directed.

Nigel Plaskitt, and, Mak Wilson went on to puppeteer on Mopatop’s Shop.

The Creature Shop also did the animatronics for Animal Farm, on which John Stephenson worked.

Louise Gold, and, Steve Whitmire, along with Nigel Plaskitt had previously puppeteered on Tale Of The Bunny Picnic.

Dave Goelz had previously done voice-work for the UK Co-Production of Fraggle Rock (as well as puppeteering on the main show).

Dave Goelz, and, Louise Gold, along with Brian Henson, and, Frank Oz had taken part in Jim Henson’s Memorial Service.

Bill Barretta, Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, and, Steve Whitmire’s recording credits include A Green And Red Christmas.

Mak Wilson had previously puppeteered on The Ghost Of Faffner Hall.

Dave Goelz, and, Louise Gold, along with Nigel Plaskitt had previously puppeteered on The Secret Life Of Toys.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, and, Steve Whitmire along with Frank Oz puppeteered on Sesame Street (in the early 1990s).

Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Louise Gold, Bill Barretta, and, Peter Harris contributed to the documentary I Love The Muppets.

Steve Whitmire probably puppeteered on ITV’s 50 Greatest Shows.

Louise Gold, and, Katherine Smee, along with Nigel Plaskitt went on to puppeteer on That Puppet Game Show.

 

Links about Jim Henson’s The Animal Show With Stinky And Jake

Muppet Wiki entry for the programme: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Animal_Show

Internet Movie Database entry for the programme: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0189239/

Tibby’s Bowl/Muppet Central interview with Louise Gold (she specifically mentions The Animal Show): http://www.muppetcentral.com/articles/interviews/gold.shtml

 TV.Com’s page for the programme: http://www.tv.com/the-animal-show/show/23961/summary.html

Muppet Central Thread about who performed what on The Animal Show: http://forum.muppetcentral.com/showthread.php?t=15124

United Electronic Industries page about HPCS (it happens to give a good basic description of it): http://www.ueidaq.com/press/appstories/49/

Puppetvison Blog’s section on HPCS: http://puppetvision.blogspot.com/2005/11/hpcs-and-other-digital-puppetry.html

InxDevices.com article about HPCS and it’s successors: http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS7692987833.html and  http://www.linuxdevices.com/articles/AT6435065918.html

Henson.com article about Labyrinth and the primitaive HPCS: http://www.henson.com/company/20060622.html

IMDB List of 1992 Academy Award Nominations (for it’s mention of HPCS): http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/Academy_Awards_USA/1992

Oscar 1991 List: http://www.mahawa.jw-music.net/oscar/1991.htm

 

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