Back in 2009, I wrote this on my Puppatoons Blog:
He’s big, he’s bad, he’s bilious and barnacled–he’s Mega Mouth, and for the past two nights at Netherworld, I have been in charge of him. I have loved this guy since we were “introduced” when I had my interview. Then it was incredibly cool to find out that he’s in Zombieland.
Like many jobs involving puppeteering, I must wear all-black clothing. This was no surprise and no problem—knowing I was going to get hot and sweaty, I wore my Under Armor. I wear this stuff under my TIE Pilot costume when I go Trooping with the 501st. It’s great at wicking the moisture away from your skin. I threw on a black t-shirt and shorts over it,and wore black socks and shoes. I also had Netherworld-issued items like black gloves and a “blackout” hood to put over my head, to conceal my head and face.
I’m still not sure Mega Mouth even has eyes. There’s something next to my head that sort of looks like an eye, but up close it’s just another dark cavity in his face. Eyeless things are creeeeeeepy.
This is generally the view you get when Mega Mouth is coming at you from behind his scrim. I work back behind the enormous puppet, using a driver sort of mechanism that reminds me of the cargo loaders in Aliens. Not showing any photos; don’t want to reveal too much of the magic.:)
It is so much fun operating this thing–while the animatronics in the Netherworld “scarecape” have a sort of “safe zone” in which you can be comfortably out of their reach, you aren’t offered that luxury when you turn the corner and MM and I are waiting in ambush. I’ll have him barreling out of his cave faster than you can blink, grabbing you around the knees or in the stomach with that toothy maw.
.And I’m not telling where he is, either. You’ll have to “meet” him on his terms, when and where he’s ready for you. >:)
This is me before we open, fresh-faced and ready to start the work night.
This is me at the end of the night–sweaty, sore, and ready to go home! Mega Mouth takes a LOT of physical strength to operate properly.
Me doling out a bit of discipline–bad monster!
Anyway, it is a great experience getting to do this; just can’t describe how much fun it is. I guess I can compare it to what I said to my team lead yesterday. “I get paid for this?”
Well, that was eight years ago and I discovered the hard way that I am not a night owl. I worked two Halloween seasons at Netherworld,but just wasn’t up for continuing, especially since I was having eye surgery and my doctor just about fainted when she learned my night job would have me stumbling around in the dark. Operating the gigantic puppet also made a mess of my arms. I guess I bit off more than i could chew with the ol’ boy, but I still have fond memories.
Miss ya, buddy.