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Mythbusters: The Early Years

24 Sep

“We invited top scientists from around the world.

Unfortunately, none of them showed up.”

Swedish Chef and Beaker Performing Bizet

24 Jul

Hat tip: Muppet Newsflash. (Site seems to be down as I type this…but I hope it comes back soon!)

YouTube: Muppet Mobile Lab at Epcot

22 Aug

Orlando Attractions Magazine and Inside the Magic podcast have posted a video to YouTube, showing Bunsen and Beaker’s Muppet Mobile Lab in its latest test run, this time at Epcot. Based on the current video, it would seem they’ve made some real progress since the tests at Disney’s California Adventure earlier this year.

A higher-resolution version is available from OA’s own video page. The Orlando Sentinel has a brief article yesterday about the Muppet Mobile Lab as well.

Dave from MouseExtra is one of many who feel that the Muppets don’t belong at Epcot. I’ve got to agree that they’d make a lot more sense at MGM. But I assume this Epcot run is mostly just a technical test, and an opportunity to get a bit more feedback from guests who interact with the Lab, so I’ll cut a little slack here for Imagineering, and hope that they’re still making the rounds when I’m back at Walt Disney World next week!

Jim Hill on Disney’s Muppet Revival Project

30 Apr

BeakerToday’s Jim Hill Media post asks, Will the third time be the charm with Disney’s Muppet revival project? And he doesn’t have any easy answers. Disney fought hard to own the Muppets, but it doesn’t yet seem to know what to do with them. I wince every time I see Kermit shilling for SUVs.

MouseExtra offers some interesting commentary on Jim Hill’s overview and analysis, and asks an important question about what Disney is doing with the results of Guest surveys in response to the Mobile Muppet Lab.

As both articles point out, most young people today do not recognize some of the Muppets whom others cherish most, such as Dr Bunsen Honeydew and his faithful assistant, Beaker (who will soon be rolling through Disney’s California Adventure again as the Muppet Mobile Lab).

I cringe to think that today’s young people may be limiting their Muppet consumption to the obvious (admittedly classic) choices of Kermit, Piggy, and Animal. So, because not every household is lucky enough to have easy access to The Muppet Show on DVD, here’s a classic Beaker moment currently available on YouTube:

Honeydew and Beaker Roam California Adventure

2 Mar

Disney News has the story, reprinted from the LA Times:

In their first appearances at Disney’s California Adventure this week, bumbling scientist Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his meep-meeping sidekick Beaker joked and chatted with guests. The Muppets could see the color of the clothes the kids wore and the lollipops they licked — casting a slight Big Brother vibe over the proceedings. They maneuvered in a silver, egg-shaped roving laboratory outfitted with flashing lights, spinning signs, confetti cannons and smoke and water sprayers.

And joy of joys . . . The Disney Blog has a link to YouTube video! Thank goodness for the interweb.

Unlike Push or Wes Palm (YouTube video link), these animatronics are not controlled by a visible puppeteer, which will not make much of a difference to kids (who don’t notice that man wearing dark glasses, carrying a big bag, and talking into a microphone), but certainly should make the experience a bit more magical for the rest of us.

Disney Imagineers Developing Beaker “Living Character?”

21 Sep

Jim Hill media reports that Walt Disney Imagineering is working on a semi-improvisational, roving show for California Adventure, starring Doctor Bunsen Honeydew and his much-loved, much-abused assistant, Beaker. The underlying technology would be similar to that currently in use for a number of park attractions/shows, including my personal favorite, the talking trash can sometimes found wandering around in the Tomorrowland sections of both Disneyland and Magic Kindom.

Jim Hill’s article is interesting; even if you’re not convinced about the rumored new Muppet production (not everybody considers Jim Hill a reliable source), there’s an overview of a number of similar, and currently existing, “living character” experiences, including the very popular “Turtle Talk with Crush.”

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