Tuesday, November 21, 2006

An Amazing Experience

As a Cub Scout activity one of our leaders organized a tour of a local design studio. I've lived in Scappoose for 4 years and didn't know anything about this studio. I'd never heard of it, barely even knew where the building was. But as soon as I arrived there I knew I'd been missing out.

The first thing I see when I walk into Michael Curry Designs was this:

I looked at it and said "Wow", and then I realized that it was Scar from the Lion King. I did a double take after that because I saw this:

Do you see it too? Do you see that thing under Scar's head? It's an EMMY!

I began the tour a little star struck by being in the midst of such greatness, but soon that turned into utter awe as I saw item after item.

It was then that they started explaining to us what they do. The make puppets - this I knew - but when you say puppets I expect little sock looking things that go on your hands. No way, this place makes PUPPETS. As in, all the puppets and characters for Disney. As in puppets and special effects for Broadway shows. As in theme parks and Vegas shows and people in China and other far away places. They come to Michael Curry when they need unique, highly artistic pieces for their shows or decor. It was unbelieveable!

My personal faves were all of the Disney items. Disney-freak that I am, I was even more struck to see it all in person. At the moment they were working on characters for the Lion King stage show at Disneyworld, including this Pumba. Someone sits inside the Pumba and can make his head turn, his nose move, his eyelids move, his mouth open, his tail twitch, his body to move forwards or backwards, to spin, etc. Everything you could possible imagine this Pumba would do. Along with Pumba was this giant Giraffe for the show. Again, someone sits inside and controls it all. We found these two in the mechanical department getting fine tuned before they are meticulously decorated and sent to their new destination.

I was surprised by how hands-on they allowed these scouts to be. They got to try maneuvering a few characters. Here's a picture of Tristan being baby Simba. This exact Simba (he head fur and feet once! LOL) was used in over 8,000 Broadway shows of "The Lion King" and they let the kids move his head and squeeze the triggers to make his mouth and eyes open and close.

After the tour of their main warehouse they took us into the secondary warehouse, which stores some of their older puppets. This one immediately caught my eye:

Cooincidentally, this is the puppet that won Michael Curry the Emmy award. It was used in the ceremonies of the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.

There were so many other wonderful puppets to see and I was awed by the talent and ingenuity. Such a wonderful, unique experience that I hope the kids will remember and cherish.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

This is so cool!