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Minor Characters in Time Piece

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In its short running time, Jim Henson's 1965 short film Time Piece showcased a wide range of characters. While many are glimpsed for as briefly as two seconds, some represent a specific target for social commentary, or contribute a particular noise to the rhythmic soundtrack which underscored the film. A few of the more significant characters are detailed below.


Picture Character Notes
Coptimepiece Traffic Cop The traffic cop, a symbol of authority, is seen in three quick cuts. His command is such that he can actually freeze the Man in midair, while crossing on pogo stick. The cop’s audio motif is his shrill whistle.
Timesecretary Secretary A voluptuous secretary is prominently featured in the office sequence. Seen in various angles, in multiple frame cuts running almost 20 seconds, the secretary is a source of sexual frustration for the man (made even more explicit by his stamping "SEX" and "DAMN" on his files.) A springing sound accompanies the movement of her ample cleavage.
Timeboys Boy(s) on Pogo Stick In a quick gag, and part of the recurring pogo stick motif in the film, the Man returns home to find a boy bouncing up and down on a pogo stick. When the man looks again, the boy's skin tone shifts from light-brown to black, as the camera cuts between two child actors. The character then disappears entirely. Paul Schreivogel, in Time Piece: Film Study, interpreted this as Henson's comment on racial integration. Later in the film, a gorilla suit performer is seen on the pogo stick.
Timedrummer Drummer A drummer, played by Dave Bailey, sets the rhythm for the nightclub scenes. His enthusiastic performance causes the already insistent drum and percussion beats to dominate the soundtrack, and in particular sets the pace for the striptease. The drummer appears in a total of six camera cuts, ranging from one to three seconds in length. In the fifth cut, as the strip act reaches its zenith, the musician turns and flashes an almost-leering smile directly at the camera.
Timedanceteam
Timepiececomic
Entertainers Prior to the performance of the stripper, a male dancer (Jim Hutchison) performs a slightly old-fashioned cabaret dance. He is later joined by a female companion, and the pair perform a few steps. This leads to a quick cut of a comic (Don Sahlin) getting a pie in the face. All of these elicit the same applause from the Man and his wife, but are mere appetizers for what is to come.
Timestripper Stripper Capitalizing on the sexual frustration hinted at with the secretary, a strip dancer (April March) appears, first in a long blue-green gown and feathered wrap. In an eleborate sequence, the dancer gradually disrobes, as the drummer's beat becomes more tribal. The man seems increasingly unnerved. The dancer's undressing is contrasted with the wife, in a bored and detached manner, simply dropping various outer garments. Though the stripper is never shown fully nude, the film intercuts scenes of a frozen chicken and skeleton, as paralells to how bodies are objectifed.
Timepiecejudge Judge A stern-looking jurist, sitting near an American flag, the judge sentences the man to the rockpile for shooting the Mona Lisa. Another grim authority figure, the judge's contribution to the score is the insistent rapping of his gavel.

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