This will be the first part of a two posts about the creation of the puppets, Stanley & JAX.
Stanley was the first character developed when we were coming up with characters for the show. We knew we wanted to do a puppet take on the classic nerd character. The show is called the Nerd-ament after all. Lots of images were passed back and forth between Russ and I trying to come up with just the right elements for Stanley. We discussed some things we wanted the character to have (glasses, etc.) and then Russ started building in his Puppet Garage and Stanley started to take shape.
One goal was to make both puppets lightweight as we knew we’d be holding them in the air for several minutes at a time while we did the interviews. Russ easily accomplished that. His use of lightweight foam is masterful and Stanley is super light and very easy to perform.
Above is the first Stanley prototype. I saw it and thought it was absolutely great. Russ however, said it was purely a mockup, but it really does look fantastic. There are some elements there that survived to the final (the ears) and some that were changed (the nose, hair). But as you can see, even Russ’ prototypes are great on their own.
Now our friend Stanley is coming together. Here he is, eyeless and bald, but close to done. His final clothing is here too. One reason I like working with Russ is that he’s got a good eye for how colors go together, something I do not have. Early on, Russ came up with the idea of Stanley & JAX having similar color schemes, so both have blue, red and orange on them. They are also very ‘superhero’ type colors. Again, Russ has that great sense of color. He’s also incredibly fast, one minute I’ll get a picture of a puppet in some stage of completion and then, an hour or so later, the puppet is done. His work on Stanley & JAX was no exception.
And there is Stanley! His final form is dyed fleece over foam with fur as hair and baby clothes as clothes. Just don’t tell him they are baby clothes. Stay tuned for part two, debuting next week, where we talk about our robot pal JAX!