george harrison

The ModFops at Fab Four Fest!

ToneAndTheFopssm

I had the great pleasure of meeting a highly entertaining man who is a heck of a good sport. The hilarious and nuttily charming Tony Bramwell was at Fab Four Fest this weekend, and I collared him several times for photos,an autograph, and to ask a question or two.Tony, or “Tone”, as they called him, is the last man standing from the original tight circle of The Beatles, and he definitely had some stories to tell. His book, Magical Mystery Tours, is one of the favorite volumes in my collection; it’s a heartwarming and often very amusing look at life with the Beatles from someone who was there from the very beginning as a childhood friend.

Starting at bottom left, clockwise in the photo with Tony are Paulie, Johnny, Georgie and Ritchie ModFop. Thanks to Smits and her sis for helping me wrangle the puppets, my husband  Steve for being lightning-fast with the camera, and of course Tony, who seemed almost startled by all the little fuzzy faces.:D

(more…)

“It’s a bit..tight around the, uh…hips.”

This is cross-posted from my George  Harrison blog. It seems to fit both places.:)

Peppersuit

(left, the suit’s 1967 debut; right, its  return from the closet in 1988)

George’s single “When We Was Fab” from his smash comeback album Cloud Nine was not only an amusing song, but was accompanied by a weird, wacky, wonderful video. Directed by Godley and Creme, this quirky little film shows George, among true oddities such as having eight arms, wearing his original Sergeant Pepper costume.

I saw a truly adorable clip of George talking about wearing this suit. Now, I might add that if you look at the old Beatles stage costumes from way back when, especially when you see them up close in a museum, it’s amazing how tiny they are. They’re small. They’re tight. Itty little things. The Pepper costumes seem a tad more loose, but still, these Fab fellows, especially George, were thin. Young George was incredibly narrow and his suit was of course tailored to fit. In the  interview talking about the “Fab” video, an older,heavier George impishly explained that “Yes, it’s the real suit. But we had to shoot it from far away because it’s a bit..tight around the, uh…hips, and I kept popping out of it.”

The eight-armed George was created through the magic of special effects and a sort of puppetry feat. And this is where it gets interesting; In a 90’s  interview I watched long ago of Godley & Creme, the two explained that a headless, armless form of George was actually cast, dressed, mounted on a wall and these people stuck their limbs through it, being all George’s arms. George’s head,filmed separately, was put on in post production. For the shots involving only his head, George had to sit completely still and not move his head as he lip-synched the song, and actually got very exhausted,nearly dozing off,while doing it. Funny how hard it can be to keep still for that long.:) No explanation was given about the legs, however; they very deftly bring themselves up into a lotus position at the end of the video; George was able to do this, but who knows if those are his legs and/or if they were put on in post production.

(Does this mean a plaster cast was actually made of George’s body to make the model? Who has it? Where is it?That would be an interesting souvenir, no doubt.)

Also in the “Fab” video,Ringo appears, and although Paul was not available to appear in the video, a person in a walrus costume playing left-handed bass(referencing Paul) is shown jamming with Harrison while Ringo drums. Also making brief cameos are Gary Wright, Elton John, Derek Taylor, Jeff Lynne, Ray Cooper and Neil Aspinall. John Lennon, who died in 1980, is represented by a passer-by carrying his Imagine album.

Have a look!

Corraling the George Characters.

Dang. I have a lot of characters with some George Harrison influence in them. For not even being a musician, I sure am inspired by the man a lot. (Imagine if I could still play guitar! Eek!) But what can I say? He did great things to listen to, laugh about, and ponder. I wish I could have worked with him with the puppets; he would have been a terrific guest star or guest voice.

I thought I’d gather all of the characters under one post because I wanted to show a couple of people the madness anyway. So, here we go:

IMG_5010

First, there’s Hari,loosely based on Beatle George. He’s mostly quiet, but definitely has spunk and humor. Created to take the George slot in my little monster Beatles-tribute rock group  The Freakles.

Morteza

Then there’s Morteza, inspired by older,Indian-influenced George. I liked the idea of a creature with eight arms and a mystical, thoughtful nature. Morteza doesn’t have a character page yet, but I have many of the materials for making him.

SPIKEsm

Then there’s Spike the Cockatoo.Compare him with late 80’s George and you might see the resemblance.XD I’ve been drawing Spike for almost two decades, and I think it’s time he existed in puppet form.

FeetlesInProgress

And then, of course, there’s The Feetles, made from socks and intended to lip-synch to Beatles tunes. They are half-finished and still need their arms sewn on! The George one is second from left, but I think only I can tell them apart right now.

Georgie ModFop is the “George” member of The ModFops, although unlike the real person he tends to take charge in this group.

but wait, there’s one more!

Here’s a bit of a departure from the cute puppets. George was a huge inspiration for the human form of the dragon called L’Angelo in my ongoing novel series, NorthClaw, so it seems only natural that a few features–heavy brows, hollow cheekbones, strong chin–transferred over to the dragon form.

I think that’s all, but I’m sure there’s more someplace. Dang, that’sa lot of Liverpudlian accent to spread around, haha.

Crazy Puppet Beatles…WHOA, Nellie!

sibeatles

Aren’t they just adorably hideous? From the hands of David O’ Keefe come The Threetles, as the remaining Beatles were dubbed in the 1990’s, when the Anthology series was released. I’ve heard Ringo compared to an elephant seal in this likeness, and poor George bears a frightening resemblance to an unholy union between Prince Charles and a donkey. But Paul is beginning to actually look like his caricature in real life,I’m afraid. Also notice John’s glasses next to George’s elbow.

I would love to get a close-up of the photo Paul is holding–it’s puppets of them as young Beatles!!

The Return!

yh09return

Anyone who knows me fairly well knows how much I love The Beatles. Since I can’t see them in real life (although I have been in the presence of two of them),I have to settle for tribute bands. Some are good, some are okay. And some are super-champ-awesome. In my expert opinion, that title goes to The Return.And here’s why:

1) Their singing is above the bar, full of spirit and and the voices are as close as they can get.

2)Their instruments are re-issues, but are spot-on accurate in look and sound.

3) Their LOOK is perfect–They have the most accurate and finely-crafted costumes I’ve seen,from the both gray and black velvet-collared suits to Shea Stadium outfits. Knit ties, too!

And I could be wrong, but I think some wear wigs and some have their hair natural. But whatever they do, it all works–the right shades of brown, the right hair “shape”. And even if their faces are their own, unique faces and of course don’t look like the actual Beatles(I mean, let’s face it, you can only go so far with the appearance), the illusion is still there, in how they present themselves.

4) They STAY IN CHARACTER. You will see “John” nearsightedly scanning the audience, chewing gum and making faces;”Paul” has that perfect feet-together bouncing posture and,finger pointed,he addresses concertgoers in a most cheerful and encouraging way to sing and clap along; “Ringo” smiles and waves often;and “George” hunches his shoulders, does a little dance to keep the beat, and really goes for that crooked mouth.

5) They are friendly and accessible after the show. They are sweet, wonderful guys and any Beatles fan would absolutely love them.

6) They are OURS! They are located out of Griffin, Georgia, so we get to see them fairly often, haha!

meandreturnsm

Aren’t they adorable? From L-R, Michael “George” Fulop, Richard “John” Stelling, Adam “Ringo” Thurston, and Shane “Paul” Landers.

jillyreturn1sm

Jilly enjoyed rocking out today at their performance at Young Harris College.

You can has Hari! (from October 23, 2008)

Here he is, folks….now, remember, I decided to leave off his double-ended tail and his legs for now,as he doesn’t really need them in any skits I’ve planned. These pics are in the mirror in my ‘Shop, and it’s a bit dark today, so they are a bit grainy.But he’s here!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

The things on top of his head are things I call “poongas”. They are his ears.:)

Photobucket

I might also add, Hari not only has roots in George Harrison(check out the eyebrows and the teeth), but also these two Muppets:

Photobucket

The Koozebanian Phoob

Photobucket

And Lenny the Lizard.