January 10, 2021

Ep #38 Dinosaurs Month - Week One

Brian Henson

Jane Gootnick

With college degrees in both acting and set design Jane first moved to Europe working in Belgium and London. In the mid-70’s she moved to NYC working with alternative theatre groups (LaMama, Joe Papp’s Public Theatre). Jane became head sculptor at Brooks Van Horn Costume Co. making props, masks and creatures for a large variety of venues: Broadway shows (Sweeney Todd, Dracula, Peter Pan), feature films (The Wiz, Hair), Warner Bros walkarounds, commercials,  Ringling Bros Circus, and the first four seasons of Saturday Night Live.

In 1978, the costume designer for SNL mentioned that the Jim Henson Company was looking for sculptors for a film called The Dark Crystal and suggested she interview.

Jane was offered three weeks work to build a prototype support harness for the Skeksis they were developing. So, she left her three-year full-time job for three weeks of work at Henson’s and stayed 40 years!

Jane has worked in both the New York puppet shop and the London Creature Shop throughout the years. Designing/building puppets and creatures, supervising builds, and running workshops on location for Muppet/Henson films and TV series, (Dark Crystal, Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, The Storyteller, The Witches, Ninja Turtles, Dinosaurs, Muppets Tonight, The Muppets, etc.). She has also worked on a variety of talk shows, game shows, and awards shows (Oscars, Grammys, Hollywood Bowl and many more).

Jane is an art director for print and media photoshoots, film posters and endless fashion shoots with Miss Piggy with Louis Vuitton, Prada and other diva designers.

Nikki Lyons

Marian McCoin

B.F.A SUNY Stoneybrook – Fine Art

Graduated 1980

Worked with Ray Diffen and Timothy Miles doing costumes for The Boston Opera.

Fall 1980 started work at Jim Henson Productions Ny. building Sesame St Live.

Asked to stay on and participate in Muppet University lead by Caroly Wilcox.

Trained in making Foam Latex by Tom McLaughlin.

Tv. & Film projects

Muppets Take Manhattan- Puppet Builder

Tale of the Bunny Picnic – Mayor Bunnypart, Baby Bunny, Helped with Dog.

Fraggle Rock-  Doozers

Labyrinth-  Puppet Builder. Goblins, Sheep Dog, Rigging of RC Didymus on Live dog, Ludo’s Feet.

Teanage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 & #2 Participated in London Creature Shop build.  On set Workshop Supervisor.

The Ghost of Faffner Hall-  Puppet builder and On set workshop supervisor.

Brats of the Lost Nebula. Puppet Builder and workshop supervisor.

 Aliens in the Family- Costume builder, Workshop Supervisor.

George of the Jungle-  costume builder

Jack Frost-  Jack  Frost costume builder

Cats and Dogs- Puppet builder

Dr Doolittle- Puppet builder

Where the Wild Things Are-  Costume builder.

Stuart Pankin

Five-time nominated, CableAce Award winning actor for HBO’s Not Necessarily The News. Master’s Degree in Theatre from Columbia University. Performed with the New York Shakespeare Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music Repertory Company, American Place Theatre, Lincoln Center, Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Odessey Theatre, Musical Theatre West, Reprise LA!. Starred in over seventy Off Broadway, summer, and regional theatre productions; Starred and/or featured in such movies as The Artist, Fatal Attraction, Arachnophobia, Life Stinks, Honey We Shrunk Ourselves, The Hollywood Knights, Irreconcilable Differences, and Striptease. Series regular on nine prime time television shows and pilots; Guest starred and recurred in over 350 television productions, including MOWs, Web series; voiced numerous cartoons including the award-winning Dinosaurs.

Lisa Rocco

Tony Sabin Prince

Tony Sabin Prince, spent the early 1980’s touring the USA and Canada, as a professional ice skater in the Ice Capades, before moving to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career.

Prince, in 1991, landing a role in Saved By The Bell, soon after landing the character performed on Dinosaurs as the body for the walk around character; Fran Sinclair, TV Series. Prince has done similar work on various non-Henson productions, Fuel TV and more.

Prince has worked on and off for the Jim Henson Company for twenty-Three years, on such projects as Dinosaurs, The Country Bears, Mage-Knights, Frances, TJ BearyTales, The Skrumps; Nightmares & Dreamscapes and Fusion TV, Good Morning Today, (GMT).

Prince, while not on set at Henson Studios, hits the auditions and in 2006 landing him in the Silk-Soy Milk Campaign, along with being a Print Model on various jobs.

Prince on his off time, is also skilled in snowboarding, Horseback riding, dance, martial arts, kayaking, ATV riding and more! And yes, catch him at a local ice rink every now and then.

Allan Trautman

Allan Trautman was born in Brooklyn, NY and moved to Miami Beach with his family at the beginning of 9th grade. He began acting in Miami Beach Senior High under the direction of famed drama teacher Jay Jensen. He spent four years in St. Louis at Washington University, earning a BA in Physics and Drama. He then earned an MFA in Acting from the California Institute of the Arts, where he met his wife, Diane.

While in St. Louis, he began his puppetry career working on The Letter People at public TV station KETC. He performed in all 60 15-minute episodes, each one shot on a Friday (he skipped classes).

Two years after graduating from CalArts, while working full-time at Leo’s Stereo in the San Fernando Valley, a friend told him about an audition notice for a “puppet school” sponsored by Sid and Marty Krofft. Allan spent the summer of 1980 at what were a series of workshops under the direction of Tony Urbano. There he met other young puppeteers who all became lifelong friends—Bruce Lanoil, Kevin Carlson, Tim Blaney, and others.

Much of the 1980s were spent working on projects for the Kroffts and for Dave Pavelonis and his Peppercorn Productions, as well as pursuing his acting career. During this time he was sent on an audition for Return of the Living Dead, and was cast as the Tarman, who went on to become an iconic zombie film character—among the first to ask specifically for “Brains!”

In 1990, as part of the then-pending purchase of The Muppets by the Walt Disney Company, Jim Henson came to Los Angeles to direct Muppetvision 3-D, an attraction for Disney’s theme parks. Again, a friend was able to get Allan into the audition, and this was the beginning of Allan’s career with The Jim Henson Company and the Muppets.

In 1991 Allan joined the cast of the ABC-TV series Dinosaurs as the animatronic puppeteer for Fran Sinclair. That show remained in production for 65 episodes, until the end of 1993, introducing Allan to sophisticated animatronics. This experience continued with movies like Babe, Men in Black, Doctor Dolittle, Jack Frost, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Monkeybone, Cats and Dogs, Men in Black II, and The Country Bears.

After Dinosaurs, two producers on that show requested his presence on their next show, Unhappily Ever After, a sitcom on the brand-new WB Network. Allan puppeteered Mr. Floppy, the lead character’s wise-cracking (imaginary) talking bunny, voiced in front of a live audience by Bobcat Goldthwaite.

In the meantime, Allan’s work with The Muppets included videos such as It’s Not Easy Being Green and Muppet Classic Theatre, the movie Muppets from Space, and, for TV, Muppets Tonight, It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, and The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz.

In the summer of 2005, Allan became a founding member of Puppet Up!—Uncensored, Henson Alternative’s puppet/improv show. He performed in the show off-Broadway, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, on tour throughout the U.S., and on the historic Chaplin Stage on The Jim Henson Company lot. He also acted as puppetry technique instructor.

He was one of three on-set puppeteers during production of The Jungle Book (2016), and was a core puppeteer on The Happytime Murders. Allan continues to work in physical as well as digital puppetry, in shows such as Splash and Bubbles for PBS Kids, and has moved into directing for that show and others.

John Kennedy

John E. Kennedy is a lifelong puppeteer who began performing at age three and met and worked with Jim Henson at the age of 22.  He has been a member of Sesame Street since 1994, and currently performs The Amazing Mumford, a character originated by Jerry Nelson. John has also been a Muppet™ performer on projects such as Muppets From SpaceThe Muppets Wizard of OzThe Muppets Take the Bowl, and The Muppets Take the O2. He has authored two puppet-making books (Puppet Mania and Puppet Planet)and has been a puppet captain, a choreographer, and a musician.  

As a puppet builder, Kennedy has represented Jim Henson’s exhibits around the world with his puppet kits; he has also instructed young puppeteers on cruises, camps, and festivals.  He lives in Ocoee, Florida with his wife, Julie, and creates custom puppet characters for theme parks and performs music with his band, Johnny K Band.


Julianne Buescher

Julianne Buescher is a whimsically versatile, classically trained actor, voice-over artist and Muppet Performer…whose new Muppet character Beverly Plume can be seen in “Muppets Now!” on Disney+!

Follow Julianne on IG at @juliannebuescher and see all her credits at IMDb.me/juliannebuescher

Rickey Boyd

Rickey’s interest in animation and puppetry began at an early age. At eleven, he and one of his friends produced their own crude TV puppet shows at a local cable access station and experimented with 8mm animated short films. During High School he continued designing and building his own puppet characters.

Later, he attended Shorter College in Rome, Georgia where he majored in art and theater. During an internship at a local cable station he worked with college classmates Keith Thomas and Jeff Brown to produce two children’s shows that featured his creations. This provided valuable monitor experience as well as enough footage for a demo reel. That reel would land him an audition with the Muppets.

In 1988 he was interviewed by Jane Henson then met and auditioned for Jim Henson himself. He was asked to continue working with Jim Henson Productions as both an assistant and as a featured performer on various productions.

He went on to performed various background characters on Sesame Street, The Abby in Wonderland special, Grandma Cookie Monster for Sesame Workshop’s “Sesame Beginnings” project, Scooter and Crazy Harry in “Muppet’s Wizard of Oz”, and Waffle in “Animal Jam”. Other projects include “Muppets From Space”, “Dinosaurs” the series, “Muppetvision 3D”, “Muppets at Disney World”, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, The Jim Henson Hour’s “Dog City” and “Song of the Cloud Forest”. Aside from  Henson Productions, Rickey has performed lead characters for The Nashville Network’s Peppercorn Productions. Most recently he continues to puppeteer as Doug the Slug in “The Slugs and Bugs Show” for RightNow Media, and as “George” in the web series “Wondermore” for In Touch Ministries.

In addition to performing Rickey is an Emmy winning Creative Director for Magnetic Dreams Animation Studios in Nashville, Tn. There, he designs and directs animations for clients such as “Sesame Street”, among others.

He lives outside Nashville with his wife Judy and their children Emily and Andrew.

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