Carnival Automata/Puppetry courtesy of Disney
So, I’ve returned from my Disneyland vacation and definitely had a good time. (The trip up and the trip back were terrible but the time there was excellent. The price we pay I guess.)
And while I was there I did sort of joke about the idea of being there for research into automata. Well, it really does work as research. Honestly what better place can you go to see the best automata (or animatronics if you will be happier with that term) then Disney, and rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure or even (save us all) Small World?
When you are looking at these rides with different eyes and looking for different details you see just how amazing some of this stuff really is. When you think of it in light of things like The Chess Playing Turk, and recognize that we’ve been fascinated by animated machines for so long Disney rides take on a whole new dimension.
But I think our biggest score (along this line of study anyway) was actually a puppet rather than an automata.
While visiting The Mad T Party we ran into a — well, hmmm, — it’s kind of, nooo — how about I just give you a video and you can decide from there?
Pretty darn cool, right?
Doing a standard “puppet” of this would be cool in and of itself. Doing it on stilts makes it that much cooler and gives me an excuse to break out the stilts again. (Not that I needed an excuse so much as just time.)
You can see fairly obviously that the head and neck of the puppet are under control of the “rider” which is cool, but what may not be obvious is the wings of the puppet. They are also well articulated and the “rider” has the ability to spread and flex the wings with a couple of levers on the harness in front of him. This added a really neat extra level of animation to the puppet.
I would have loved to have gotten up close with this puppet but not unsurprisingly the actor/puppeteer was very active and kept moving and animating the puppet. He was certainly in no position to have a meaningful conversation about the puppet we was working with.
So, as you can see, I did do research at Disney. Really. *smile*