January 31, 2021
Ep #41 Dinosaurs Month - Week Four
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 Space, The Muppets Wizard of Oz, The 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.
Jack Tate is an actor/puppeteer/voiceover guy. Mostly, he’s retired, but he’d work if someone asked. He was in movies: The Right Stuff, Monster in the Closet, Interview with an Assassin and many others. On TV, he did a lot of day-player roles: Fresh Prince, Frazier, Hotel, Murder She Wrote and many others, before he landed on Dinosaurs, as a regular player, a Unisaur, appearing as many of the characters interacting with the family. Another show he was a regular on later, was The Journey of Allen Strange, for Nickelodeon. He was more successful in commercials than TV or movies, doing pretty near 1000 of them, many as a spokesman for AT&T, Pepsi, Bud Light, Ford Mercury and played, for 20+ years, the character Jack in the Box. Dinosaurs was easily his career favorite.
Michelan began his performing journey as a musician, then an actor with multiple Broadway roles, which directly led to him becoming a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in the original live action movies (Michelangelo). Being Mikey, evolved into our ultimate animatronics show, “Dinosaurs”. The coolest suit show EVER! Since then, Mich has enjoyed 26 more years of Muppets and other neat things with puppets and motion capture. He has loved every minute of the trip.
Bruce ”B” Lanoil, spawned in Brooklyn N.Y., raised on steady diet of Saturday morning Cartoons, Sugary cereals, Mad Magazines, Jerry Lewis and Classic Star Trek, is today, a proud and grateful 30 year veteran Muppeteer,.. Oh, the beaten path was never in the mix!
As a Theater major at Cal State Northridge, a vaudevillian improvisational clown at heart, fate truly lent a “hand” when Master Puppeteer Tony Urbano chose Bruce from hundreds, for Sid and Marty Krofft’s exclusive 1980 workshop. Many Commercials and videos followed, furthering his performance skills with Master teachers, Paul Sills, Avery Schreiber, (Spollin Theater Games), and Harvey Kalmanson (V.O.).
Destiny and Jim Henson came knocking when Brian Henson cast Bruce as “Charlene Sinclair”, in TV’s DINOSAURS for five glorious seasons on ABC/Disney (1990-93). Animatronics and Facial Puppeteering was a specialty as Bruce traveled the world complements of the incomparable Jim Henson Creature Shop, both in Films, Dr. Doolittle (1998), Adventures of Pinocchio (1996), Jack Frost (1998), Cats and Dogs 1 & 2, (2001 2010) and Television, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss as The Cat in the Hat, Nickelodeon Season one (1996). Bruce helped pioneer Real-time CG animation with Henson’s HDPS-Digital Puppetry System, Are We There Yet (2005), Francis (2008), Sid the Science Kid Movie (2012) and partnered with Dave Barclay Studios Where the Wild Thing Are (2009), and Ice King (2017).
Muppet madness included MuppetVision 3D (1991),The Muppets Live at the Hollywood Bowl (2016),The O2 (2018), recent FEATURE FILM/TV reboots, The Muppets (2011) and Muppets Most Wanted (2014), and Muppets Tonight (1996), Muppets (2017). Live-action Reference Puppetry, Mon- keyBone (2001) Henry Selick Dir.,and Looney Tunes-Back in Action (2003) Joe Dante Dir., and nu- merous V.O. gigs, including voicing Lion King’s TIMON (SAFTY SMART! video series) for Disney.
Bruce is extremely grateful for lifetime of collaborative joy and laughter, and believes, that Everyone
deserves to give themselves the Inner Permission to pursue their truth and passion freely, with an open heart. As a Teaching Artist, his quest is to release fear and doubt, allowing each learner and Artist the opportunity to connect, to share, to Soar! We stand upon the shoulders of all creative souls before us, that enables every single voice to tell Their story, their version, of life’s unpredictable magnificent journey, while illuminating all our lives with the Magical Gift of Play 🙂
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
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.
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.
Terri has been performing and creative all her life. She started earning a living doing art and acting at age 8.
Known as Walt Disney’s Legendary Imagineer, she has designed and created attractions for Disney Theme Parks all over the world and is best known for creating the Dragon’s Lair in Paris Disneyland where you can see a 35’ dragon come to life before your very eyes.
She is also an accomplished actress, Puppeteer and Voice Talent. Her work can be seen in over 45 different films and television including GHOSTBUSTERS, MEN IN BLACK I & II, THE COUNTRY BEARS and CAPTAIN EO w/ Michael Jackson, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola.
She became a MUPPETEER with the Jim Henson Company in 1989 after meeting Jim in New York. Terri Hardin has worked on MUPPET 3D THEATRE, MUPPET MINI CLASSICS and DINOSAURS where she played BABY SINCLAIR’S arms.
Other projects include the FOSTER FARMS CHICKENS where she designed the Original concept and has played the PASSENGER CHICKEN since 1993.
Her career has given her many opportunities to work with a multitude of celebrities like Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Whoopie Goldberg and Guillermo Del Toro.
A fully TRADEMARKED artist and sculptor Terri’s work can be seen Internationally. Fine collectables, commissions and prototypes of all kinds she creates for clients DISNEY, MATTEL, G DEL TORO and MORE.
She has even had her sculpture featured in LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Her Company is TERRI HARDIN DESIGNS, INC.
Pons Maar trained as a visual artist in Florida, (yep, a Florida Man) then studied various performance disciplines in the SF Bay Area and, as a ‘performance artist’, created and toured his solo shows. He somehow ended up with a career in film and television appearing in; Return to Oz, Golden Child, The Blob (1988), Dead Heat, Masters of the Universe, Teddy Rex, George of the Jungle, Monkeybone, and Dinosaurs TV series.
Beginning with Return to Oz Pons also acted as Movement or Creature Coordinator on various productions.