Tony The Tiger
To help spread the word about their “Let Your Great Out” initiative for kids, Kellogg’s hired the Jim Henson Creature Shop to create a new Tony the Tiger walk-around suit with a fully articulated animatronics head. We were commissioned by Henson to handle all aspects of the control system. The head needed to be controlled remotely, with no wires to encumber the performer while wearing the suit. The suit included a built-in speaker to broadcast Tony’s voice while mouth movements and facial expressions were synchronized to match. The head operated in two modes. The first mode allowed an offstage puppeteer to control the mouth and expressions live while an actor performed the voice. The voice was transmitted wirelessly to the suit speaker, with a delay added to help the puppeteer keep up. The second mode provided for the playback of pre-recorded dialog with synchronized facial movements, activated remotely from a custom screen on an iPad. All required programming and playback of audio and animatronics control was accomplished using our VenueMagic show control system. All playback equipment was consolidated into a small, portable base-station console. Our contract included working with puppeteers to record matching movements for pre-recorded dialog clips. We also provided onsite technical support for Tony’s first live performance on Fox Morning News in New York and also for the Jimmy Kimmel Show in Los Angeles.