Culture and Society

How do full-bodied Muppets work?
Answered by Science Channel
  • Science Channel

    Science Channel

  1. Big Bird of "Sesame Street" is the best-known full-bodied Muppet. While most Muppets are hand-controlled puppets, a full-bodied Muppet is a costume worn by a Muppeteer. The Muppeteer inside Big Bird wears shoes with five-inch heels to achieve Big Bird's height and raises his or her right hand up to control Big Bird's head and mouth. The Muppeteer's left hand is inside Big Bird's left glove. Big Bird's right hand is often controlled with a wire attached to the left hand. When a show is filmed in front of a chroma key screen (a green screen or blue screen), a second Muppeteer can operate Big Bird's left hand.

    Originally, those in full-body Muppet costumes would peer through a scrim to watch their movements. Nowadays, two Muppeteers control some of the larger Muppets. One wears the costume, watching interactions and movements on tiny monitors embedded at eye-level within the Muppet. Meanwhile, the other Muppeteer supplies the voice and manages facial expressions by remote control.

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