I’ve been building costumes and props for 12 years (monkey5studios.com), I was always that kid who made his own toys and who took his Christmas presents apart to see how they worked. Most of my costumes have been superhero and cartoon based, but in late 2013 I wanted to try something a little different that nobody had done right and something that touched a nerve with a wide age group; so Beaker was imagined after a conversation with friends.
A somewhat secret way to build accurate Muppets was devised in attempt to keep their signature look while scaling up to human wearable size, and Beaker made his first appearance at Rose City Comic Con 2013. He was not animatronic like he is now with a cooling fan, circuit board, mic and motor system. Initially Beaker’s mouth was activated by pulling a string which left one of my arms trapped inside of his lab coat and a floppy fake arm on the outside which looked a little odd. But he was still greeted with tons of hugs and people crying due to meeting part of their childhood and he was deemed a success, and his issues were quickly fixed.
Soon Dr. Bunsen Honeydew followed with a brain scanning device to encourage interaction during photos, as he seemed the next natural choice. The Swedish Chef happened next to make the 3rd Muppet, complete with wooden spoons to tap on things while singing his familiar song. He’s made a couple birthday appearances with special cakes, and they looked just how you might imagine a Chef cake would be.
The 3 Muppets ventured to Wizard World Portland where they were crowded around, lines formed to have photos taken, and Stan Lee even waited for his amongst the chaos. People asked where the other Muppets were, so Animal was born making the 4th, and he debuted at Emerald City in Seattle. Animal is played by an actual drummer who can mimic the voice and musical abilities perfectly, and the outfit has a spring-loaded jaw to complete the mannerisms. Miss Piggy followed a couple months ago and was a 2 person project to get her quickly ready for debut at Rose City Comic Con 2014, as I told people more Muppets would be around next year and I had to keep my word. Plans have already been made and materials purchased to build Kermit and Gonzo, which will also be 2 person projects as the people wearing them want to help with the build process instead of just me doing it. To top everything off, I might just build the rest of the Mayhem Band where gigs at cons and outings could be performed, but only if the outfits contain actual musicians to match Animal.
These Muppets are Official Members of the Portland Superheroes Coalition ( CLICK HERE for their Facebook Page) which is a collection of volunteers with superhero and pop-culture outfits that attend community events, charity and fundraiser functions, sporting events, and who make hospital visits. It’s great fun to make others happy, and if you have the ability and time to, why not spread some joy.
CLICK HERE for more photos !
Brady Danger Gage