Prof. Mark and Puppetry
Prof. Mark actually began working with puppets in 1979, when as an impressionable third-grader, he saw The Muppet Movie on the big screen in Birmingham, Alabama!
Even decades later, while working as Creative Services Director for the Montgomery ABC Affiliate, he managed to utilize his puppet skills. Besides a set of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas IDs starring his own hand-made characters, he was also given permission by Disney/ABC to perform Kermit the Frog for a local promo of Muppets Wizard of Oz! (All it took was a simple disclaimer--"Celebrity Voice impersonated.") Ironically, he also took a video performance workshop with Steve Whitmire (who took over as Kermit's performer, after Jim Henson's untimely passing) from Atlanta's Center for Puppetry Arts. Later, Prof. Mark taught a workshop of his own for the Center, "Crazy Eyes and Pointy Teeth."
Although Prof. Mark shifted his character specialty to animation in 1988 (after seeing another ground-breaking character effects film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), he still finds time to enjoy building and performing puppets. Most recently, his Cartoonyville Last-Minute Halloween Special premiered on Atlanta's AIB Network, featuring a combination of puppets, animation and live-action with Prof. Mark himself!
As many local advertisers might find animation either time and/or cost-restrictive, puppets offer a liberating alternative. Puppets can get away with most things that cartoon characters do... talking animals and monsters that defy gravity, social pleasantries, along with any local ordinances that might deal with dangerous explosives or high-speed chases and accident-prone coyotes... well, you get the idea!
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