The Barretta Brothers
Dick Blasucci, Anthony Blasucci, and Maria Blasucci

Dick Blasucci, Anthony Blasucci, and Maria Blasucci

June 17, 2021

The Blasucci Family Show Notes

 

On this episode, The Barretta Brothers welcome Writer/Producer, Dick Blasucci. Writer/Producer Anthony Blasucci. And Writer/Producer, Actress, Maria Blasucci, to discuss their work on shows like Family Guy, SCTV, Muppets Tonight, Ghost Ghirls, and Drunk History, just to name a few.

 

ABOUT OUR GUESTS:

Dick Blasucci

Dick Blasucci began his career writing for “SCTV” the NBC late night sketch comedy show. While on SCTV he won two Emmy Awards for Best Writing and was nominated nine times.

Other writing and producing credits include: “MadTV” “The Larry Sanders Show” “Tracey Ullman Show” comedy specials for HBO including “I, Martin Short Goes Hollywood” “Billy Crystal: Don’t Get Me Started” and “Muppets Tonight” which won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program.

He is currently writing and producing the SCTV Anniversary Special for Netflix and teaching classes in sketch comedy writing at Pepperdine University and the Harold Ramis Film School at The Second City in Chicago.

 

Anthony Blasucci

Anthony is an Executive Producer, Writer, and Story Editor on Family Guy

 

Maria Blasucci

Maria Blasucci is an actor, producer, and comedy writer. She is best known for her roles on shows such as HBO’s Family Tree and Ghost Ghirls on Yahoo Screen. She was an associate producer on the 2016 film Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. She currently stars in the Comedy Central series Drunk History and can also be seen on Netflix in the films Mascots and Patchwork. She and Amanda Lund co-host the weekly podcast The Big Ones and is the co-founder of the podcast network, Earios.

Jim Lewis

Jim Lewis

June 17, 2021

Jim Lewis Show Notes

On this episode, The Barretta Brothers welcome Emmy Award-winning writer/producer, Jim Lewis to discuss his decades of work with The Muppets, The Jim Henson Company, and much more.

 

ABOUT OUR GUEST:

Jim Lewis

JIM LEWIS is an Emmy Award-winning writer/producer, who has been writing for frogs, pigs and other Muppets since 1985, where he worked with the late Jim Henson.  

At The Jim Henson Company and later at The Walt Disney Company, Jim Lewis has written for, produced, consulted on and otherwise aided and abetted Muppet ventures in television and movies (e.g. Muppets Tonight!, A Very Merry Muppet Christmas) , theme parks (e.g. MuppetVision 3D, Great Moments In History…But Mostly America), as well as consumer products, live performances (e.g. The Muppets Take The Hollywood Bowl, The Muppets The O2) and media appearances, public relations and marketing. He has ghostwritten books for Kermit the Frog (“Look Before You Leap”), Miss Piggy (“The Diva Code”) and Pepe the King Prawn (“It’s Hard Out Here For a Shrimp”). He also developed and wrote a Muppet feature script with Frank Oz, “The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever”. He still believes this should be the next Muppet theatrical feature.

In addition to his Muppet work, Jim was also executive producer of the Hallmark Channel series Telling Stories with Tomie dePaola, wrote the theater production G2K R&H: Getting To Know Rodgers & Hammerstein for the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, has penned scripts for VeggieTales, Sid The Science Kid, Barney & Friends, etc, Las Vegas ventriloquist/impressionist Terry Fator, as well as done comedy “punch up” on Disney Executives (which is more fun than you can imagine).

Prior to purveying mirth and myth, Lewis was a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and worked at Lewis & Carey, his family’s New Jersey funeral home.  This explains a lot. Jim lives in Burbank, California with his wife, Judy, and son Danny. His daughter Mary Grace is at UC Berkeley and currently has green hair. No doubt a vestige of her living with a parent who has spent his life writing for a frog.

 

Dinosaurs Month - Week Four

Dinosaurs Month - Week Four

June 11, 2021

On this episode, The Barretta Brothers celebrate the TV show Dinosaurs and welcome the people behind the Unisaurus and Hand Puppet Characters.

 

Episode Outline:

07:200mins: Conversation with Julianne Buescher, Michelan Sisti, John Kennedy, Rickey Boyd, and Jake Tate

 

33:30mins: Conversation with Julianne Buescher, Michelan Sisti, John Kennedy, Rickey Boyd, Jake Tate, Bruce Lanoli, Pons Maar, and Terri Hardin

 

35:50mins: Conversation with Allan Trautman, Terri Hardin, Bruce Lanoil, Tom Fisher, and Pons Maar.

 

ABOUT OUR GUESTS:

Allan Trautman

Allan Trautman was born in Brooklyn, NY and moved to Miami Beach with his family at the beginning of 9th grade. He began acting in Miami Beach Senior High under the direction of famed drama teacher Jay Jensen. He spent four years in St. Louis at Washington University, earning a BA in Physics and Drama. He then earned an MFA in Acting from the California Institute of the Arts, where he met his wife, Diane.

While in St. Louis, he began his puppetry career working on The Letter People at public TV station KETC. He performed in all 60 15-minute episodes, each one shot on a Friday (he skipped classes).

Two years after graduating from CalArts, while working full-time at Leo’s Stereo in the San Fernando Valley, a friend told him about an audition notice for a “puppet school” sponsored by Sid and Marty Krofft. Allan spent the summer of 1980 at what were a series of workshops under the direction of Tony Urbano. There he met other young puppeteers who all became lifelong friends—Bruce Lanoil, Kevin Carlson, Tim Blaney, and others.

Much of the 1980s were spent working on projects for the Kroffts and for Dave Pavelonis and his Peppercorn Productions, as well as pursuing his acting career. During this time he was sent on an audition for Return of the Living Dead, and was cast as the Tarman, who went on to become an iconic zombie film character—among the first to ask specifically for “Brains!”

In 1990, as part of the then-pending purchase of The Muppets by the Walt Disney Company, Jim Henson came to Los Angeles to direct Muppetvision 3-D, an attraction for Disney’s theme parks. Again, a friend was able to get Allan into the audition, and this was the beginning of Allan’s career with The Jim Henson Company and the Muppets.

In 1991 Allan joined the cast of the ABC-TV series Dinosaurs as the animatronic puppeteer for Fran Sinclair. That show remained in production for 65 episodes, until the end of 1993, introducing Allan to sophisticated animatronics. This experience continued with movies like Babe, Men in Black, Doctor Dolittle, Jack Frost, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Monkeybone, Cats and Dogs, Men in Black II, and The Country Bears.

After Dinosaurs, two producers on that show requested his presence on their next show, Unhappily Ever After, a sitcom on the brand-new WB Network. Allan puppeteered Mr. Floppy, the lead character’s wise-cracking (imaginary) talking bunny, voiced in front of a live audience by Bobcat Goldthwaite.

In the meantime, Allan’s work with The Muppets included videos such as It’s Not Easy Being Green and Muppet Classic Theatre, the movie Muppets from Space, and, for TV, Muppets Tonight, It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, and The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz.

In the summer of 2005, Allan became a founding member of Puppet Up!—Uncensored, Henson Alternative’s puppet/improv show. He performed in the show off-Broadway, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, on tour throughout the U.S., and on the historic Chaplin Stage on The Jim Henson Company lot. He also acted as puppetry technique instructor.

He was one of three on-set puppeteers during production of The Jungle Book (2016), and was a core puppeteer on The Happytime Murders. Allan continues to work in physical as well as digital puppetry, in shows such as Splash and Bubbles for PBS Kids, and has moved into directing for that show and others.

Julianne Buescher

 Julianne Buescher is a whimsically versatile, classically trained actor, voice-over artist and Muppet Performer…whose new Muppet character Beverly Plume can be seen in “Muppets Now!” On Disney+! Follow Julianne on IG at @juliannebuescher and see all her credits at IMDb.me/juliannebuescher

Jake Tate

Jack Tate is an actor/puppeteer/voiceover guy. Mostly, he’s retired, but he’d work if someone asked.  He was in movies: The Right Stuff, Monster in the Closet, Interview with an Assassin and many others. On TV, he did a lot of day-player roles: Fresh Prince, Frazier, Hotel, Murder She Wrote and many others, before he landed on Dinosaurs, as a regular player, a Unisaur, appearing as many of the characters interacting with the family. Another show he was a regular on later, was The Journey of Allen Strange, for Nickelodeon. He was more successful in commercials than TV or movies, doing pretty near 1000 of them, many as a spokesman for AT&T, Pepsi, Bud Light, Ford Mercury and played, for 20+ years, the character Jack in the Box. Dinosaurs was easily his career favorite.

Michelan Sisti

Michelan began his performing journey as a musician, then an actor with multiple Broadway roles, which directly led to him becoming a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in the original live action movies (Michelangelo).  Being Mikey, evolved into our ultimate animatronics show, “Dinosaurs”.  The coolest suit show EVER!  Since then, Mich has enjoyed 26 more years of Muppets and other neat things with puppets and motion capture.  He has loved every minute of the trip.

Rickey Boyd

Rickey’s interest in animation and puppetry began at an early age. At eleven, he and one of his friends produced their own crude TV puppet shows at a local cable access station and experimented with 8mm animated short films. During High School he continued designing and building his own puppet characters.

Later, he attended Shorter College in Rome, Georgia where he majored in art and theater. During an internship at a local cable station he worked with college classmates Keith Thomas and Jeff Brown to produce two children’s shows that featured his creations. This provided valuable monitor experience as well as enough footage for a demo reel. That reel would land him an audition with the Muppets.

In 1988 he was interviewed by Jane Henson then met and auditioned for Jim Henson himself. He was asked to continue working with Jim Henson Productions as both an assistant and as a featured performer on various productions.

He went on to performed various background characters on Sesame Street, The Abby in Wonderland special, Grandma Cookie Monster for Sesame Workshop’s “Sesame Beginnings” project, Scooter and Crazy Harry in “Muppet’s Wizard of Oz”, and Waffle in “Animal Jam”. Other projects include “Muppets From Space”, “Dinosaurs” the series, “Muppetvision 3D”, “Muppets at Disney World”, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, The Jim Henson Hour’s “Dog City” and “Song of the Cloud Forest”. Aside from  Henson Productions, Rickey has performed lead characters for The Nashville Network’s Peppercorn Productions. Most recently he continues to puppeteer as Doug the Slug in “The Slugs and Bugs Show” for RightNow Media, and as “George” in the web series “Wondermore” for In Touch Ministries.

In addition to performing Rickey is an Emmy winning Creative Director for Magnetic Dreams Animation Studios in Nashville, Tn. There, he designs and directs animations for clients such as “Sesame Street”, among others.

He lives outside Nashville with his wife Judy and their children Emily and Andrew.

John E. Kennedy

John E. Kennedy is a lifelong puppeteer who began performing at age three and met and worked with Jim Henson at the age of 22.  He has been a member of Sesame Street since 1994, and currently performs The Amazing Mumford, a character originated by Jerry Nelson. John has also been a Muppet™ performer on projects such as Muppets From SpaceThe Muppets Wizard of OzThe Muppets Take the Bowl, and The Muppets Take the O2. He has authored two puppet-making books (Puppet Mania and Puppet Planet)and has been a puppet captain, a choreographer, and a musician.  

As a puppet builder, Kennedy has represented Jim Henson's exhibits around the world with his puppet kits; he has also instructed young puppeteers on cruises, camps, and festivals.  He lives in Ocoee, Florida with his wife, Julie, and creates custom puppet characters for theme parks and performs music with his band, Johnny K Band.

Bruce Lanoil

Bruce ”B” Lanoil, spawned in Brooklyn N.Y., raised on steady diet of Saturday morning Cartoons, Sugary cereals, Mad Magazines, Jerry Lewis and Classic Star Trek, is today, a proud and grateful 30 year veteran Muppeteer,.. Oh, the beaten path was never in the mix!

As a Theater major at Cal State Northridge, a vaudevillian improvisational clown at heart, fate truly lent a “hand” when Master Puppeteer Tony Urbano chose Bruce from hundreds, for Sid and Marty Krofft’s exclusive 1980 workshop. Many Commercials and videos followed, furthering his performance skills with Master teachers, Paul Sills, Avery Schreiber, (Spollin Theater Games), and Harvey Kalmanson (V.O.).

Destiny and Jim Henson came knocking when Brian Henson cast Bruce as “Charlene Sinclair”, in TV’s DINOSAURS for five glorious seasons on ABC/Disney (1990-93). Animatronics and Facial Puppeteering was a specialty as Bruce traveled the world complements of the incomparable Jim Henson Creature Shop, both in Films, Dr. Doolittle (1998), Adventures of Pinocchio (1996), Jack Frost (1998), Cats and Dogs 1 & 2, (2001 2010) and Television, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss as The Cat in the Hat, Nickelodeon Season one (1996). Bruce helped pioneer Real-time CG animation with Henson’s HDPS-Digital Puppetry System, Are We There Yet (2005), Francis (2008), Sid the Science Kid Movie (2012) and partnered with Dave Barclay Studios Where the Wild Thing Are (2009), and Ice King (2017).

Muppet madness included MuppetVision 3D (1991),The Muppets Live at the Hollywood Bowl (2016),The O2 (2018), recent FEATURE FILM/TV reboots, The Muppets (2011) and Muppets Most Wanted (2014), and Muppets Tonight (1996), Muppets (2017). Live-action Reference Puppetry, Mon- keyBone (2001) Henry Selick Dir.,and Looney Tunes-Back in Action (2003) Joe Dante Dir., and nu- merous V.O. gigs, including voicing Lion King’s TIMON (SAFTY SMART! video series) for Disney.

Bruce is extremely grateful for lifetime of collaborative joy and laughter, and believes, that Everyone

deserves to give themselves the Inner Permission to pursue their truth and passion freely, with an open heart. As a Teaching Artist, his quest is to release fear and doubt, allowing each learner and Artist the opportunity to connect, to share, to Soar! We stand upon the shoulders of all creative souls before us, that enables every single voice to tell Their story, their version, of life’s unpredictable magnificent journey, while illuminating all our lives with the Magical Gift of Play :)

Pons Maar

Pons Maar trained as a visual artist in Florida, (yep, a Florida Man) then studied various performance disciplines in the SF Bay Area and, as a ‘performance artist’,  created and toured his solo shows.  He somehow ended up with a career in film and television appearing in; Return to Oz, Golden Child, The Blob (1988), Dead Heat, Masters of the Universe, Teddy Rex, George of the Jungle, Monkeybone, and Dinosaurs TV series. 

Beginning with Return to Oz Pons also acted as Movement or Creature Coordinator on various productions.

Terri Hardin

Terri has been performing and creative all her life.  She started earning a living doing art and acting at age 8. 

Known as Walt Disney’s Legendary Imagineer, she has designed and created attractions for Disney Theme Parks all over the world and is best known for creating the Dragon’s Lair in Paris Disneyland where you can see a 35’ dragon come to life before your very eyes.

She is also an accomplished actress, Puppeteer and Voice Talent. Her work can be seen in over 45 different films and television including GHOSTBUSTERS, MEN IN BLACK I & II, THE COUNTRY BEARS and CAPTAIN EO w/ Michael Jackson, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola.

She became a MUPPETEER with the Jim Henson Company in 1989 after meeting Jim in New York.  Terri Hardin has worked on MUPPET 3D THEATRE, MUPPET MINI CLASSICS and DINOSAURS where she played BABY SINCLAIR’S arms.

Other projects include the FOSTER FARMS CHICKENS where she designed the Original concept and has played the PASSENGER CHICKEN since 1993.

Her career has given her many opportunities to work with a multitude of celebrities like Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Whoopie Goldberg and Guillermo Del Toro.

A fully TRADEMARKED artist and sculptor Terri’s work can be seen Internationally. Fine collectables, commissions and prototypes of all kinds she creates for clients DISNEY, MATTEL, G DEL TORO and MORE.

She has even had her sculpture featured in LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Her Company is TERRI HARDIN DESIGNS, INC.

 

Tom Fisher

No bio provided

Dinosaurs Month - Week Three

Dinosaurs Month - Week Three

June 11, 2021

On this episode, The Barretta Brothers celebrate the TV show Dinosaurs and welcome the people behind the characters, Roy, Monica, and Spike.

 

Episode Outline:

05:50mins: Conversation with Pons Maar about casting the show.

 

13:30mins: Conversation about the character Roy.

Pete Brooke, Julianne Buescher, Pons Maar.

 

30:50mins: Conversation about the character Monica.

Jack Tate, Julianne Buescher, and

 

55:00mins: Conversation about the character Spike.

John Kennedy, Lisa Rocco

 

ABOUT OUR GUESTS:

Pons Maar

Pons Maar trained as a visual artist in Florida, (yep, a Florida Man) then studied various performance disciplines in the SF Bay Area and, as a ‘performance artist’, created and toured his solo shows.  He somehow ended up with a career in film and television appearing in; Return to Oz, Golden Child, The Blob (1988), Dead Heat, Masters of the Universe, Teddy Rex, George of the Jungle, Monkeybone, and Dinosaurs TV series. 

Beginning with Return to Oz Pons also acted as Movement or Creature Coordinator on various productions.

Julianne Buescher

Julianne Buescher is a whimsically versatile, classically trained actor, voice-over artist and Muppet Performer…whose new Muppet character Beverly Plume can be seen in “Muppets Now!” On Disney+! Follow Julianne on IG at @juliannebuescher and see all her credits at IMDb.me/juliannebuescher

Jake Tate

Jack Tate is an actor/puppeteer/voiceover guy. Mostly, he’s retired, but he’d work if someone asked.  He was in movies: The Right Stuff, Monster in the Closet, Interview with an Assassin and many others. On TV, he did a lot of day-player roles: Fresh Prince, Frazier, Hotel, Murder She Wrote and many others, before he landed on Dinosaurs, as a regular player, a Unisaur, appearing as many of the characters interacting with the family. Another show he was a regular on later, was The Journey of Allen Strange, for Nickelodeon. He was more successful in commercials than TV or movies, doing pretty near 1000 of them, many as a spokesman for AT&T, Pepsi, Bud Light, Ford Mercury and played, for 20+ years, the character Jack in the Box. Dinosaurs was easily his career favorite.

Pete Brooke

Peter Brooke is the Creative Supervisor for the Academy Award®-winning Jim Henson's Creature Shop™ and is responsible for the conception, design and sculpt of each character and creature brought to life at the Shop's Los Angeles location. His work can be seen in such films as the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, George of the Jungle, Cats & DogsDr. Dolittle, and Where the Wild Things Are, as well as the television projects Dinosaurs, Jim Henson's The Storyteller, and most recently, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

Brooke works closely with the director and creative team of each project to guarantee that their vision is realized in the character he creates. He also liaises with the Shop's builders and supervises characters on set to ensure that the original concept and design style is maintained throughout the build and performance.

Brooke began his relationship with The Jim Henson Company in 1988 as a graduate of the film school at Manchester Polytechnic. His first project was Jim Henson's The Storyteller as a sculptor of the series' various fantasy and folklore characters. When the Company began production in Los Angeles on Dinosaurs in 1991, Brooke relocated to the United States as a sculptor and designer on the technically ambitious comedy starring an entire cast of animatronic full-body dinosaurs.

Brooke’s own fine art sculpture has been featured in galleries and museums across the country for the past 25 years.

He is a recipient of the Gold Medal for Best Sculpture from the California Art Club and the Award of Excellence from the Society of Animal Artists. His work has been featured in several magazines including Southwest ArtArt TalkArt Revue and Wildlife Art News.

John E. Kennedy

John E. Kennedy is a lifelong puppeteer who began performing at age three and met and worked with Jim Henson at the age of 22.  He has been a member of Sesame Street since 1994, and currently performs The Amazing Mumford, a character originated by Jerry Nelson. John has also been a Muppet™ performer on projects such as Muppets From SpaceThe Muppets Wizard of OzThe Muppets Take the Bowl, and The Muppets Take the O2. He has authored two puppet-making books (Puppet Mania and Puppet Planet)and has been a puppet captain, a choreographer, and a musician.  

As a puppet builder, Kennedy has represented Jim Henson's exhibits around the world with his puppet kits; he has also instructed young puppeteers on cruises, camps, and festivals.  He lives in Ocoee, Florida with his wife, Julie, and creates custom puppet characters for theme parks and performs music with his band, Johnny K Band.

Lisa Rocco

No bio provided

Dinosaurs Month - Week Two

Dinosaurs Month - Week Two

June 11, 2021

On this episode, The Barretta Brothers celebrate the TV show Dinosaurs and welcome the people behind the characters, Charlene, Robbie, Baby, and BP Richfield.

 

Episode Outline:

 

03:15mins: Conversation about the character Robbie Sinclair.

Day Murch, Steve Whitmire, Leif Tilden, and Lisa Rocco join Gene & Bill.

 

25:27mins: Conversation about the character BP Richfield.

Jane Gootnick joins Day, Steve, and Leif.

 

40:30mins: Conversation about the character Charlene.

Bruce Lanoil, MIchelan Sisti, and Jill Thraves join Gene & Bill.

 

1:07:00mins: Conversation about Baby Sinclair.

Kevin Clash, Terri Hardin, John Kennedy, and Jane Gootnick join Gene & Bill.

 

ABOUT OUR GUESTS:

Jane Gootnick

With college degrees in both acting and set design Jane first moved to Europe working in Belgium and London. In the mid-70's she moved to NYC working with alternative theatre groups (LaMama, Joe Papp's Public Theatre). Jane became head sculptor at Brooks Van Horn Costume Co. making props, masks and creatures for a large variety of venues: Broadway shows (Sweeney Todd, Dracula, Peter Pan), feature films (The Wiz, Hair), Warner Bros walkarounds, commercials, Ringling Bros Circus, and the first four seasons of Saturday Night Live.

In 1978, the costume designer for SNL mentioned that the Jim Henson Company was looking for sculptors for a film called The Dark Crystal and suggested she interview. Jane was offered three weeks work to build a prototype support harness for the Skeksis they were developing. So, she left her three-year full-time job for three weeks of work at Henson's and stayed 40 years!

Jane has worked in both the New York puppet shop and the London Creature Shop throughout the years. Designing/building puppets and creatures, supervising builds, and running workshops on location for Muppet/Henson films and TV series, (Dark Crystal, Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, The Storyteller, The Witches, Ninja Turtles, Dinosaurs, Muppets Tonight, The Muppets, etc.). She has also worked on a variety of talk shows, game shows, and awards shows (Oscars, Grammys, Hollywood Bowl and many more).

Jane is an art director for print and media photoshoots, film posters and endless fashion shoots with Miss Piggy with Louis Vuitton, Prada and other diva designers.

 

Steve Whitmire

Jim Henson invited Steve Whitmire to join his team in 1978 during the height of the popularity of The Muppet Show, and Whitmire had a hand in virtually every Muppet project for nearly four decades.

He originated such characters as Rizzo the Rat, Lips the Trumpet Man, Miss Piggy’s dog Foo-Foo, and Bean Bunny, and also sustained Richard Hunt’s characters, the hapless lab assistant Beaker and codger Statler after Hunt’s death in 1992.

Upon Henson’s death in 1990, Whitmire accepted the duty for the continuation of several of Jim’s characters and is best known for his 24-years as Ernie and his 27-years as Kermit the Frog.

Projects include Sesame Street and non-Muppet films such as The Dark Crystal, The Witches, Dreamchild and Labyrinth, as well as the popular sitcom Dinosaurs and the classic 1980’s television series Fraggle Rock in which Whitmire originated Wembley Fraggle and Sprocket the Dog.

After 19 films, 8 television series, numerous specials, multiple sound recordings, and volumes of unique live appearances, Whitmire carries forth the essential principles of the lineage as the foundation for a progressive approach to the art of puppetry in today’s world and looks forward to sharing that spirit in his future endeavors.

www.stevewhitmire.website

 

Leif Tilden

Leif Tilden watched his mother drink herself into a deep depression while living with her in Berkeley California during the late 60’s free love movement.   After her suicide he moved to Boston Massachusetts where he grew up in a segregated environment where the Irish, Italian and black neighborhoods beat each other up daily.

Eventually he would find himself studying experimental theatre in New York City where he discovered his vulnerability through movement and the incredible falafel sandwich.

Soon after that, which to him seems like a dream, he found himself inside the soul of a Teenage mutant ninja turtle.  Life was good.

Soon after that he drove across country for a minimum wage job on a tv show entitled, Dinosaurs for Disney.  Life was not good and Leif will explain the details as to why on the show.

 

Day Murch

Day worked in the theatre for many years, as a performer in Liquid Theatre, with Stomu Yamashtas Red Buddha Theatre, and the Young Vic, with appearances in provincial rep and the West End, gradually commuting a hobby of designing and making clothes into a career. An early introduction on Time Bandits to the Monty Python team led to a specialist interest in the care and presentation of difficult costumes, with work on The Meaning Of Life, Greystoke, Legend and Fifth Element and several projects for Jim Hensons London Creature Shop. This led in time to making this type of costume and he headed the Fabrication Unit for Nick Dudmans Department of Magical Creatures for the initial Harry Potter Movies, building Hagrid and other fantasticals. In children’s television he helped create characters for In The Night Garden , BoohBahs and Zingzillas. He enjoyed a longterm association with the Batman franchise as Batsuit Wrangler with all the Caped Crusaders except Adam West! Now happily retired with his life partner in Wales, he doesn’t miss show business.

 

Bruce Lanoil

Bruce ”B” Lanoil, spawned in Brooklyn N.Y., raised on steady diet of Saturday morning Cartoons, Sugary cereals, Mad Magazines, Jerry Lewis and Classic Star Trek, is today, a proud and grateful 30 year veteran Muppeteer,.. Oh, the beaten path was never in the mix!

As a Theater major at Cal State Northridge, a vaudevillian improvisational clown at heart, fate truly lent a “hand” when Master Puppeteer Tony Urbano chose Bruce from hundreds, for Sid and Marty Krofft’s exclusive 1980 workshop. Many Commercials and videos followed, furthering his performance skills with Master teachers, Paul Sills, Avery Schreiber, (Spollin Theater Games), and Harvey Kalmanson (V.O.).

Destiny and Jim Henson came knocking when Brian Henson cast Bruce as “Charlene Sinclair”, in TV’s DINOSAURS for five glorious seasons on ABC/Disney (1990-93). Animatronics and Facial Puppeteering was a specialty as Bruce traveled the world complements of the incomparable Jim Henson Creature Shop, both in Films, Dr. Doolittle (1998), Adventures of Pinocchio (1996), Jack Frost (1998), Cats and Dogs 1 & 2, (2001 2010) and Television, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss as The Cat in the Hat, Nickelodeon Season one (1996). Bruce helped pioneer Real-time CG animation with Henson’s HDPS-Digital Puppetry System, Are We There Yet (2005), Francis (2008), Sid the Science Kid Movie (2012) and partnered with Dave Barclay Studios Where the Wild Thing Are (2009), and Ice King (2017).

Muppet madness included MuppetVision 3D (1991),The Muppets Live at the Hollywood Bowl (2016),The O2 (2018), recent FEATURE FILM/TV reboots, The Muppets (2011) and Muppets Most Wanted (2014), and Muppets Tonight (1996), Muppets (2017). Live-action Reference Puppetry, Mon- keyBone (2001) Henry Selick Dir.,and Looney Tunes-Back in Action (2003) Joe Dante Dir., and nu- merous V.O. gigs, including voicing Lion King’s TIMON (SAFTY SMART! video series) for Disney.

Bruce is extremely grateful for lifetime of collaborative joy and laughter, and believes, that Everyone deserves to give themselves the Inner Permission to pursue their truth and passion freely, with an open heart. As a Teaching Artist, his quest is to release fear and doubt, allowing each learner and Artist the opportunity to connect, to share, to Soar! We stand upon the shoulders of all creative souls before us, that enables every single voice to tell Their story, their version, of life’s unpredictable magnificent journey, while illuminating all our lives with the Magical Gift of Play :)

 

Michelan Sisti

Michelan began his performing journey as a musician, then an actor with multiple Broadway roles, which directly led to him becoming a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in the original live action movies (Michelangelo).  Being Mikey, evolved into our ultimate animatronics show, “Dinosaurs”.  The coolest suit show EVER!  Since then, Mich has enjoyed 26 more years of Muppets and other neat things with puppets and motion capture.  He has loved every minute of the trip.

 

Jill Thraves

After growing up in the countryside of Yorkshire and Derbyshire I moved to London to attend University. Got my degree in French and went straight into making clothes and cotumes for dancers, musicians, strippers, and royalty. Bill Wyman, David Bowie, Freddy Mercury, Jimmy Page, Princess Margaret, were some of the people I dressed. Through friends I started working in films and tv., Time Bandits, The Meaning of Life and Labyrinth were early jobs. Labyrinth led to Mother Goose Stories and an Emmy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and then Dinosaurs! So after 20 years I in London I came to Los Angeles.
Since then I have worked on a lot of Superhero films, from Batman to Avengers and Guardians. I seem to have made a lot of capes! Batman to Thor and many in between.

 

Geoff Keighley: Video Game Innovator/Muppet Lover

Geoff Keighley: Video Game Innovator/Muppet Lover

June 3, 2021

Geoff Keighley Show Notes

On this episode, The Barretta Brothers welcome Video Game Innovator, Visionary, Muppet Lover, Geoff Keighley.

Episode Outline:

Gene surprises Billy with a puppet made by Jarrod Boutcher, based on Gene’s “Billy Puppet” sketch.

Geoff Keighley shows up and talks about:

  • Growing up in Canada
  • Visiting the set of Fraggle Rock
  • His parents, who work in film/TV production, including producing some of the first IMAX movies.
  • His childhood interest and involvement in video games
  • Writing for video game magazines in his teens
  • First TV video game hosting
  • Talk about games as generational divides
  • Origins of the Game Awards
  • The format and success of The Game Awards

Jackson Barretta and Ben Barretta join the conversation

  • They discuss the Fortnite Pro Am
  • Gaming as the new sport or concert event
  • How did he meet Phil Spencer and Reggie Fils-Aimé
  • First games Geoff played
  • Plans for future Game Awards during the pandemic
  • What does it take to become a gamer/twitch streamer?
  • Where did the nickname Dorito Pope come from?

ABOUT OUR GUEST:

Geoff Keighley

Keighley's foray into video game reporting and presentation had been through Cybermania '94: The Ultimate Games Awards, the first video game awards show broadcast on television. Keighley was fourteen at the time but was brought in to help write lines for the celebrity hosts to read. The show was not considered successful, aimed more for comedy than celebration, but from it, Keighley was inspired to develop some type of equivalent of the Academy Awards for video games in his career.

In addition to GTTV, Keighley has been involved in many other video game-related projects on television. On Comcast's G4 network, he appeared as the network's lead anchor for its E3 press conference coverage, interviewing CEOs from companies like Sony and Electronic Arts. For MTV he created the concept and produced (with LivePlanet) "Gears of War: Race to E3" and "Gears of War: Race to Launch", two specials that took viewers inside the development of the hit Xbox 360 game from Microsoft. And in 2007, the Discovery Channel aired a five-hour documentary on releases including those of such companies as World of Wonder Productions, based on a treatment by Keighley, who also served as consulting producer. Geoff has also hosted and co-produced a number of video game launch specials for Spike TV, including "Madden NFL 08 Kickoff" featuring a performance by Ozzy Osbourne and "Halo 3: Launched!" featuring a performance by Linkin Park. He was also interviewed on what became a controversial Fox News' segment on Mass Effect and was later praised by gamers online for being the only one on the show who had actually played the game.

Keighley was invited by the producers of Spike's Video Game Awards program to help with the programming from 2006 onward. In 2013, Spike changed the format of the show and rebranded the awards as the VGX Awards. To Keighley, the format became more commercial and promotional rather than a celebration of video game achievements, and subsequently left the show. Through 2014, he funded his own efforts to put together a new awards show, gaining the support of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo as well as major publications and industry leaders. Keighley thus established The Game Awards which were first presented in December 2014, and which Keighley remains the primary host.

Keighley is known for writing reviews and previews and going behind the scenes of the game industry for in-depth business profiles and lengthy feature pieces. While initially a writer at GameSpot from around 1998, Keighley wrote the site's column "Behind the Games". This column evolved into a series of articles "The Final Hours", where he has in-depth access to the various studios near the end of a development period and write in depth about the process as the game is nearing completion. In more recent years, these articles are released as mobile apps. In a July 2008 interview on The Jace Hall Show, Keighley spoke about the importance of this process, stating "There's such a lack of investigative journalism. I wish I had more time to do more, sort of, investigation. Really dig into some of these bigger issues, so I could look at like, the 'Red Ring of Death' problem. That's never really been properly reported about, like what really happens." However, he has faced criticism from some quarters for his willingness to positively present games to maintain exclusives, regardless of their actual quality, and to accept industry PR at face value in an October 2012 column published in Eurogamer.[12] In December 2016, Keighley was picked as a judge for the Viveport Developer Awards (VDAs).

Keighley had been a participant of E3, the annual video game trade show, since its start, and starting in E3 2017, Keighley had arranged and hosted the E3 Coliseum, a live-streaming event running over the course of E3 that brought in developers and publishers at E3 for interviews and other discussions. However, with the Entertainment Software Association making significant changes to the format of E3 2020 (prior to its cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic), Keighley stated he will not be organizing an E3 Coliseum event nor attending the show for the first time in 25 years.

With E3's cancellation among other several other trade shows and events like Gamescom from the pandemic, Keighley worked with several major publishers and video game industry leaders to launch the Summer Game Fest from May to August 2020. During this period, Keighley will help developers and publishers present game announcements and other presentations, along with Steam and Xbox to provide game demos during this period.

 

Kevin Clash and Jane Gootnick PART TWO

Kevin Clash and Jane Gootnick PART TWO

May 28, 2021

On this two-part episode, The Barretta Brothers welcome Performer, Director, Producer, Kevin Clash - and Designer, Art Director, Puppet builder, Jane Gootnick.

 

Episode Outline:

Gene & Bill discuss Gene’s “Billy Puppet” sketch.

 

Jane Gootnick –  2:48-37:40mis

  • Jane discusses Character Sal Minella
  • Designing and building a perfect puppet character
  • Sir Didymus and Brian Froud designs
  • Dinosaurs
  • Dog from The Storyteller
  • Working with animatronic servos
  • Fraggle Rock characters: Trash Heap, Philo and Gunge
  • Storyteller Bunny
  • Dark Crystal Creatures
  • Andy Warhol and David Bowie stories
  • Miss Piggy Photo Shoot

 

Kevin Clash – 39:10 – 1:23:00

  • Kevin discusses the special The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson
  • Clifford and Muppets Tonight
  • Michelle Pfeiffer
  • Sandra Bullock
  • Splinter
  • Muppets Go to Disney World and Jim Henson
  • Arsenio Hall show along with Jim Henson
  • Fat Blue and Jim Henson
  • Baby from Dinosaurs
  • Elmo and his Dad, Louie from Beginnings
  • Gene, Bill, and Kevin work together on Fox & Friends
  • Kevin assigning Gene and performer wives to do background characters on Muppet Treasure Island
  • Muppet Treasure Island characters
  • Happytime Murders
  • Learning from other puppeteers
  • The new Dark Crystal
  • Earth to Ned
  • Gene & Bill’s drag photos
  • Bill tells Kevin how proud he is of him
  • Getting a cab in NY
  • The song/segment “Proud” from Families Stand Together and their funny recording session

 

Gene and Bill announce the winner of a viewer contest.

ABOUT OUR GUESTS:

 

JANE GOOTNICK

 

With college degrees in both acting and set design Jane first moved to

Europe working in Belgium and London. In the mid-70's she moved to NYC

working with alternative theatre groups (LaMama, Joe Papp's

Public Theatre). Jane became head sculptor at Brooks Van Horn Costume Co.

making props, masks and creatures for a large variety of venues:

Broadway shows (Sweeney Todd, Dracula, Peter Pan),

feature films (The Wiz, Hair), Warner Bros walkarounds, commercials, 

Ringling Bros Circus, and the first four seasons of Saturday Night Live.

In 1978, the costume designer for SNL mentioned that the Jim Henson Company was

looking for sculptors for a film called The Dark Crystal and suggested she interview.

Jane was offered three weeks work to build a prototype support harness

for the Skeksis they were developing. So, she left her three-year full-time job for three weeks of work at Henson's and stayed 40 years!

Jane has worked in both the New York puppet shop and the London Creature Shop throughout the years. Designing/building puppets and creatures, supervising builds, and running workshops on location for Muppet/Henson films and TV series, (Dark Crystal, Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, The Storyteller, The Witches, Ninja Turtles, Dinosaurs, Muppets Tonight, The Muppets, etc.). She has also worked on a variety of talk shows, game shows, and awards shows (Oscars, Grammys, Hollywood Bowl and many more).

Jane is an art director for print and media photoshoots, film posters and endless fashion shoots with Miss Piggy with Louis Vuitton

 

KEVIN CLASH

Kevin Clash is best known for Elmo (Sesame Street) 1979-2012. He also was part of Labyrinth (1986), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1 (1990) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (1991), Happytime Murders (SFX) 2018, and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix) 2019. In addition to Elmo, Clash is also known for performing Splinter (TMNT) Baby Sinclair (Dinosaurs), and Clifford (Muppets Tonight).

Kevin Clash has won 29 daytime Emmys, over one hundred fifty -six performing title credits, thirty- one producing title credits and twenty- seven directing title credits. In 2011, his documentary, Being Elmo, was awarded the Special Jury Prize at Sundance. He has appeared in numerous television specials, commercials, feature films and direct-to-video products.

During his career, he has worked with great innovators who founded the classic puppet television industry including Kermit Love, Frank Oz, and Jim Henson.

Clash has recruited, auditioned, and trained puppeteers from all over the world. He was the senior puppet coordinator, and was also a director, co-producer and senior creative adviser on Sesame Street.  Kevin was essential to the success of Elmo’s World and the creative branding powerhouse of Elmo. Business Insider states that in 1996 the toy company Tyco saw their sales grow from $70 million to an astounding $350 million thanks to the Tickle Me Elmo Doll.

Clash’s most recent project, Earth to Ned, will be airing on Disney+ this Fall and he currently has several projects in development. 

Jane Gootnick and Kevin Clash Part One

Jane Gootnick and Kevin Clash Part One

May 20, 2021

On this two-part episode, The Barretta Brothers welcome Performer, Director, Producer, Kevin Clash -  and Designer, Art Director, Puppet builder, Jane Gootnick.

Episode Outline:

Jane Gootnick – 07:50 – 34:00 mins

  • Jane talks about her very impression family tree and the early years
  • People who originally inspired her.
  • Pre-Henson work in NY, including SNL.
  • Her start with Sesame Street and The Jim Henson Company.
  • A review of characters she helped create.
  • Gene & Bill announce details for a second Muppet Trivia Contest

Kevin Clash –36:20 – 1:03:23 mins

  • A funny wedding story.
  • Stories about his childhood and early training at home.
  • Working on the Captain Kangaroo & The Great Space Coaster.
  • Puppet workshops with Jane Henson and starting at Sesame Street.
  • The origins of Elmo with Richard Hunt.
  • Elmo’s connection with kids.
  • Working with Jim Henson.
  • The very first character he performed for Sesame Street.
  • The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

ABOUT OUR GUESTS:

KEVIN CLASH

Kevin Clash is best known for Elmo (Sesame Street) 1979-2012. He also was part of Labyrinth (1986), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1 (1990) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (1991), Happytime Murders (SFX) 2018, and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix) 2019. In addition to Elmo, Clash is also known for performing Splinter (TMNT) Baby Sinclair (Dinosaurs), and Clifford (Muppets Tonight).

 

Kevin Clash has won 29 daytime Emmys, over one hundred fifty -six performing title credits, thirty- one producing title credits and twenty- seven directing title credits. In 2011, his documentary, Being Elmo, was awarded the Special Jury Prize at Sundance. He has appeared in numerous television specials, commercials, feature films and direct-to-video products.

During his career, he has worked with great innovators who founded the classic puppet television industry including Kermit Love, Frank Oz, and Jim Henson.

Clash has recruited, auditioned, and trained puppeteers from all over the world. He was the senior puppet coordinator, and was also a director, co-producer and senior creative adviser on Sesame Street.  Kevin was essential to the success of Elmo’s World and the creative branding powerhouse of Elmo. Business Insider states that in 1996 the toy company Tyco saw their sales grow from $70 million to an astounding $350 million thanks to the Tickle Me Elmo Doll.

Clash’s most recent project, Earth to Ned, will be airing on Disney+ this Fall and he currently has several projects in development. 

 

JANE GOOTNICK

With college degrees in both acting and set design Jane first moved to

Europe working in Belgium and London. In the mid-70's she moved to NYC working with alternative theatre groups (LaMama, Joe Papp's Public Theatre). Jane became head sculptor at Brooks Van Horn Costume Co.

making props, masks and creatures for a large variety of venues:

Broadway shows (Sweeney Todd, Dracula, Peter Pan), feature films (The Wiz, Hair), Warner Bros walkarounds, commercials,  Ringling Bros Circus, and the first four seasons of Saturday Night Live.

In 1978, the costume designer for SNL mentioned that the Jim Henson Company was looking for sculptors for a film called The Dark Crystal and suggested she interview. Jane was offered three weeks work to build a prototype support harness for the Skeksis they were developing. So, she left her three-year full-time job for three weeks of work at Henson's and stayed 40 years!

 

Jane has worked in both the New York puppet shop and the London Creature Shop throughout the years. Designing/building puppets and creatures, supervising builds, and running workshops on location for Muppet/Henson films and TV series, (Dark Crystal, Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, The Storyteller, The Witches, Ninja Turtles, Dinosaurs, Muppets Tonight, The Muppets, etc.). She has also worked on a variety of talk shows, game shows, and awards shows (Oscars, Grammys, Hollywood Bowl and many more).

Jane is an art director for print and media photoshoots, film posters and endless fashion shoots with Miss Piggy with Louis Vuitton, Prada and other diva designers.

Leslie Carrara-Rudolph

Leslie Carrara-Rudolph

May 17, 2021

On this episode, The Barretta Brothers welcome actress and Muppet performer, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph to talk about her career and answer questions from our Live YouTube Chat. She performs characters such as Abby Cadabby, Spamela Hamderson, Prairie Dawn’s Mom, and more.

Episode Outline:

  • Gene and Bill answer questions for the first eleven minutes alone
  • Dick the Shark shows up to taunt Gene

Leslie Carrara-Rudolph joins the Q&A 11:30 – 58:30mins

  • Her work before The Muppets
  • Leslie’s Muppet audition and her amazing Wizard of Oz medley.
  • Paul Rudolph pops in for a moment.
  • Questions from the Live Chat continue throughout
  • Bobo meets Darcey
  • The origins of Abby Cadabra
  • Playing off each other as background players in Muppets Tonight
  • Dick the Shark comes back
  • Paul Rudolph pops in again
  • Gene recalls drawing a fake tattoo on Leslie during Muppets Tonight
  • Leslie draws Angel Cards for Gene and Bill
  • Lolly Lardpop checks in for a visit

Back to Bill and Gene Q&A on their own

 

ABOUT OUR GUESTS:

Leslie Carrara-Rudolph

 

A graduate of San Francisco State University (BA degree, “Child Development through the Arts”) is a multi-faceted entertainer, writer, and artist best known for performing the fairy, Abby Cadabby on Sesame Street for which she earned her 5 Emmy nominations. Leslie got her start as a puppeteer on ABC’s “Muppets Tonight.” Other TV credits- Jim Henson Company/PBS “Splash and Bubbles”, PBS Nature Cat, Disney’s “Johnny & the Sprites”, Nickelodeon’s Tough Puppy Leslie created an original musical stage show for the Walt Disney Company called “The Wahoo Wagon that ran at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. She was awarded the UNIMA citation of Excellence for her show “Wake Up Your Weird” and received two Jim Henson Foundation Grants. 

Leslie recently had a residency at the Laurie Beechman theater performing her cabaret's “What Just Happened?”, “Moonlight Madness” and  “Bizarre Brunch.” Leslie performs and speaks throughout the country about “character development through the arts” with her puppet side Kicks “Lolly Lardpop” and Granny Dot.” These characters are featured in her original podcast on iTunes called “Lolly’s radio playdate”

Muppet Mini: Dave Goelz Remembers Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Caroll Spinney, Jane Henson, and Jim Henson.

Muppet Mini: Dave Goelz Remembers Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Caroll Spinney, Jane Henson, and Jim Henson.

May 14, 2021

On this Mini episode, The Barretta Brothers welcome Muppet Performer, and Actor, Dave Goelz.

Episode Outline:

  • Dave remembers special moments and pays tribute to:
  • Jerry Nelson
  • Richard Hunt
  • Caroll Spinney
  • Jane Henson
  • Jim Henson

ABOUT OUR GUEST:

Dave is an Emmy award winning puppeteer. He also won a special Oscar for his dance sequence in The Parent Trap. He has performed with The Muppets since the mid 70s, performing such characters as Uncle Travelling Matt, Waldorf, Zoot, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and the iconic, Gonzo. He has also directed a dozen Traveling Matt episodes for Fraggle Rock.

 

BRIEF ADDITIONAL BIOS

Richard Hunt:

Muppet performer, who performed characters like Beeker, Sweetums, Scooter, Statler, and Janice.

 

Caroll Spinney:

Puppeteer, author, cartoonist, and Muppet performer, who originated and performed Big Bird, and Oscar the Grouch.

 

Jerry Nelson:

Actor, Musician, and Muppet Performer, known for dozens of characters, including Count Von Count, Sherlock Hemlock, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Robin the Frog, and Sgt. Floyd Pepper.

 

Jane Henson:

Puppeteer, artist, wife of Jim Henson.

 

Jim Henson:

Puppeteer, filmmaker, animator, director, writer, and creator of The Muppets. His characters include Kermit the Frog, Ernie, Dr. Teeth, Rowlf, and The Swedish Chef.

 

 

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