This bicycle was rebuilt from a machine that was used the previous season. I only ended up using a few pieces from the original machine since it functioned in a very different way – the contestants needed to be hit in the face instead of the groin, so the new machine needed to be completely re-designed.
A big challenge was designing the wheel to carry the tennis balls into the tennis ball launcher, since they needed to be metered out one-by-one without binding.
I had fun making a system of wooden gears to operate this mini-catapult. The mechanism tightens slingshot rubber bands, and a pull-cord releases the catapult arm.
I’m working in the Art Department of Sesame Street, and I made plenty of letters and numbers for the 41st season. Most were made out of foamcore or blue foam, but I did make some “7’s” that I scored so that they would break apart easily when Cookie Monster chomped on them.
I made this out of an old exercise bike, a right angle drive, PVC pipe, steel pipe, gears, chain, and four giant flyswatters. When the bike is pedalled, the wheel of flyswatters spins to hit a contestant in the face.
I made a crane designed to look like an engine hoist using some square tubing, simple hardware and casters. The pink claw was made out of some PVC pipe and fittings (with some clips added to the ends so that they would pull on a contestant’s hair.)
Anchor and Arrow both begin with the letter “A!” I made these out of blue foam and acrylic paint for a guest on the show.
I worked on this skill crane’s new head-sized claw and pneumatic setup. It could be kinda scary. Jason Singleton and Courtland Premo did lots of work on this machine – it was pretty rickety when it first arrived.
This machine was welded together from steel so that it would be strong enough to kick the contestants in the rear, though I added some springs and flexible vinyl tubing so that it wouldn’t shatter any spines.
This machine uses shortened bicycle inner tubes to grab a contestant’s arm in three places. The clear plastic tube is also in three pieces, and the center piece can rotate to give an indian burn effect. Becky Holmes helped with the silver paint finish, which helped to make the machine look scarier.
I cast my hands in silicone rubber with a wooden dowel inside each knuckle. The hands were attached to two drills, and I made a crane mechanism that would lower the fists slowly towards the contestant’s head. It made a girl cry! (not because it hurt her, but rather because it mussed up her hair something fierce.
I made the steel frame and mechanism for these kicking foosball characters, along with most of the foam casting. The mechanism was a challenge since it needed to be simple to use and reset automatically with the crank turning in only one direction. Becky Holmes and Jason Singleton sculpted the positive form for the foosball characters and created the mold.
I made this book for Sesame Street, for when a grouch named “Spill O’Reilly” made a visit to the Bill O’Reilly show. Adding secret messages to back covers is one of the best parts about my job.
This hammer needed to have a new head made out of silicone rubber, and then be painted to look like an ordinary hammer.
This machine was made out of a giant turntable with a truck hub inside, and some bike parts. All of the smooth bearings make it pretty easy to turn fast enough to make a contestant barf.
Becky Holmes painted the machine with some pretty amazing paints and made the whole thing look like it was made out of corroded copper and steel instead of wood.
I built this machine starting with a crane that I’d built for a different challenge. A pulley was added in the place of the crane’s arm at the top of the machine. A rocking and platform was fastened to the base of the machine (made out of some bicycle hubs and gears, and a home-made ratchet.) It worked so well that the poor contestant had to be cut down.
This tandem bicycle was modified so that the rider in back would be given a wedgie when the rider in front pedaled. I welded the bike to stands so that it would stay stationary, and modified the freewheel into a pulley so that the rope would be wound up to produce a wedgie.
I went to Chinatown and picked up some pyjamas from a bargain rack to get some fabric for this puppet. The head is made from foam and cardboard (with googly eyes) and the mouth is opened and closed with a piece of clotheshanger wire.
I made these handcuffs from clear vinyl tubing, plastic beads, cable routing plastic and scraps of wire.
With googly eyes.
I made this giant tennis ball for a party – it had to hold 400 giant lollipops, so it had to be pretty big. I made it out of sculpted polystyrene foam with a covering of painted felt, to give it the right texture. The venue had no doors that were wide enough to accommodate the complete ball, so it needed to be assembled on-site.
Layers of foam were used to make this puppet and give it an appearance of wind-worn stone.
for this “Peace Parade” video we made things like tree costumes, peace-symbol costumes, protest posters, and my bikes volunteered to be festooned with flowers. Luckily I was working with a skilled art department including Christina Aprea, Mike Pantuso, Anney Fresh, Keith Ozar, Julie, Diane Andazola, and Laura Brock.
I sewed a tiny beret for this puppet, and gave it a painted wooden dowel for a cigarette. the mouth is opened and closed by a thin wooden dowel, since the puppet is too thin for a puppeteer’s arm to fit inside.
A pair of gossipy pyramids. Made out of latex-coated upholstery foam.