Hi there, and welcome to our show. Tonight we've got ... (looks down at the lion) Now wait a second, what's wrong with you? What's the matter? You look scared. (pets the lion) What can a lion possibly be frightened of? (points to the puppet on the table) That? Why, that's just a devil. (walks over to the table) Now this is one of a series of devils that we made for an episode of The Storyteller. It's here tonight because I wanted to tell you about the place where it was built. You see, a few years ago, we opened a studio in England called the Creature Shop. And it specializes in building creatures and monsters for motion picture and television. Like the characters from The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, uh, Dreamchild, The Storyteller, The Witches — all those were built there. And because we have this place called the Creature Shop in London, we thought it was quite a coincidence when we discovered a novel by Nicholas Fisk. It's about this studio in London that builds creatures for the movies, and a 14-year-old boy who dreams of entering that magical world of the monster maker.
A clip is shown as a teaser.
It's a good story. So coming up next, Monster Maker. (puppeteering the devil) "It's devilishly clever." (giggles)
(playing with the devil puppet) Giving the illusion of life to inanimate objects … that's one of the things we've spent a lot of time trying to do. And you know, it's very very hard. 'Cause sometimes we go to the zoo and watch animals to see how they move. We watch their expression and attitude, and then we come back to the shop and try to build creatures that have that same amount of life. Now the truth is, we never really completely succeed. We don't even come close. But sometimes, using all of the tricks and techniques of puppetry and of film and television, we can make it seem like these bits of plastic and metal and cloth are alive. Remember how the Ultragorgon in Monster Maker seemed to move all by itself, run by computers and machines? Well, if you read the credits for Monster Maker carefully, you'll see it took nine performers to give that character its life. My son Brian was sitting in a chair in the neck of the Ultragorgon, operating the head with levers like this (demonstrates). So no matter how fancy the technology gets, it's always human performers, using their own personalities to give life to the characters. (picks up Kermit) Isn't that so, Kermit?
Yes, yes, actually, you do indeed speak the truth.
Well, that's all for tonight. We hope you enjoyed Monster Maker.