David Barclay: The Puppet Path

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Movie Meltdown - Episode 432

This week we talk with master puppeteer David Barclay who not only helped to create Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back and Jabba in Return of the Jedi but also worked on Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Little Shop of Horrors and many other projects over the years.

And while we all want to go hang out at a bar with David Bowie, we also bring up… Tiny Tim, Red Sparrow, Suburbicon, The Florida Project, Stuart Freeborn, Frank Oz, Scooby-Doo kind of sounds, coach and focus the performers, that whole side of the theater and arts was very fascinating to me as a kid, originally they were called Wild Things, Mike Ploog, picking up Academy slack, learning computer animation, it was a huge crew of just puppeteers, Robert Zemeckis, animatronics for theme parks, Cats and Dogs 2, a Darth Vader marionette, this was all practical in-camera effects, Where the Wild Things Are, That sculpture looks like real skin, mechanical plants, Lost in Space, The Muppets Take the Bowl, very detailed storyboards, the Pixar way, Vitamin Doug, Kirk Thatcher, he had forty servers driving his face… seventy-six miniature cables going into his face, he would block it out as an actor, sensory deprived, $50,000 for one computer, developing a whole new style, Lyle Conway, Sir Didymus, I was drafted in to do the eyes, cathode ray tube, silicone doesn’t compress the same way as foam latex, I came in three hours early every morning, they just keep making more weirdos, George Romero, inside the cockpit of Jabba, we were involved in nearly every single shot in the whole film, Sprocket the dog, the Elstree Studios bar, little television monitors and earpieces, if you don’t get the good lighting… you can make the best animatronic look appalling, a snapshot of Americana, the other half of the Skeksis and the octopus bartender.

For more on "Lexington Comic and Toy Convention", go to: http://www.lexingtoncomiccon.com/

“While I was away from lunch… Mark Hamill came in and bought a $1000 worth of the puppets I was demonstrating.”

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