26 Things I Learned At Jim Henson's Creature Shop
I traveled to the Creature Shop for an exclusive look at what's under the fur. Here's what the mentors from Syfy's Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge had to say about their creations.
Welcome to Jim Henson's Creature Shop, where all your dreams (and nightmares) come to life.
My tour guides were Julie Zobel, Peter Brooke, and John Criswell.
Here's what they taught me as we made our way around the Creature Shop.
This one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater is pretty much fully animatronic.
And he looks terrifying without his skin.
The wings are handled by puppeteers, and the rods are green so that they won't show up on screen.
After the animatronics come the skin, then the fur, then the individual hairs, which are added one hair at a time.
Some creatures are way more frightening than cute, like this two-eyed, two-horned, flying purple people eater.
This guy, named Attila, combines different types of puppeteering.
Those hand controls are heavier than you'd think.
Not every creature is created to scale. This little lady — her name is Yolanda — is supposed to be bigger than Attila. In real life, she's almost petite.
There are always extra eyes.
The finished creature looks a lot like Brooke's original design, which I saw later on the tour.
Skeksis are SO SCARY. But you knew that already, right?
But if you're feeling freaked out, take comfort in the knowledge that Skeksis don't really have bodies.
There's a lot of attention to detail, which is something Jim Henson always concerned himself with.
The last surviving dinosaur from Dinosaurs: Baby Sinclair.
Dinosaurs was an incredibly difficult show, which is probably why no subsequent series have attempted the same thing.
Alas, Baby Sinclair — like the rest of his family — won't be around forever, because foam latex usually only lasts six or seven years.
The pigeons from The Producers are still alive and kicking, and they look freakishly real.
The Country Bears are also still with us.
And there's another relic from Dinosaurs, a background head that's somehow still in one piece.
Seriously, though, there are eyes everywhere at the Creature Shop.
In addition to eyes, hands! So many hands.
Also, the puppets are clearly trying to take over.
There are familiar faces everywhere at the Creature Shop.
Running into another one of the Skeksis: still traumatic.
But for the most part, nothing is real.
And yet, there's something really cool about the fact that all of these creatures are tangible as opposed to computer-generated.
Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Syfy, and at 9 p.m. starting April 29.
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