Transformers Generation 1 Season 5 Actor Jason Jansen Talks About Tommy Kennedy
By Jack on Saturday, January 05, 2013
Transformers Generation 1 ended with a 5th season in 1988. It wasn't an actual season of new cartoons as one would expect. Segments from previous seasons were edited together with clips from The Transformers: The Movie into a sort of look-back that spanned 5 episodes. New intermission segments were made featuring an animatronic Powermaster Optimus Prime telling Tommy Kennedy the story about the Transformers. Jason Jansen, who played Tommy was interviewed by Digest My Brain blog. Shres some insights on working on the final season.
How was it filmed, from your point of view? How realistic did the stop motion Optimus Prime look up close? Was there much green/blue screen used for the background?
The filming was as professional as any production at the time would have been. You are correct when you excuse me for the memory lapse (which is over 20 years) but I can recall a couple of things if I concentrate. First off Tim Speidel, when I read the blog and saw the name I definitely recognized it – I actually sent him a note after finding him on FB but haven’t received a response yet. During the filming my mother and I stayed with a girlfriend of hers on the Upper East Side of Manhattan – simply to make the commute easier, and to deal with the schedule of being at the studio by 8am in some cases. Everybody was super cool during the filming. I remember I thought the Key Grips, and Gaffers were younger guys who always were making me laugh. They were “New York City Fahgeddaboutit” type guys. To this day I see Gaffer and Key Grip during credits but have no idea what their real jobs are – basically I think they are a Jack of all Trades type men/women on the set.
On set, I remember filming some scenes on a large, constructed out of wood, Optimus Hand. I remember being instructed to only sit on a certain portion/ or spot as this was the strongest to support me. I was a normal sized kid so nothing strange there. Other scenes were filmed on the shoulder of another larger constructed portion of Optimus’ shoulder. Same deal, watch your step! Other random scenes were built (running through a vast wasteland) backgrounds were usually green screens, claymation for my flipping onto shoulders, and HUGE fans blowing on my face for when Optimus was launching and taking me home.
If you were a fan, how did it feel “talking” to Optimus Prime? Did they have a crew member say his lines off camera to help with timing or was Peter Cullen’s voice prerecorded?
When saying my lines (if i remember correctly) there was mix of things that were going on. At times someone off camera would recite Optimus Primes lines, but I believe it was a member of the crew and not Peter Cullen. Other times, if the scene was shorter and the camera cut away, I would just pause my lines while saying them to account for another voice to be inserted later. I actually just read through the transcripts on the wiki and remember saying every single one of them – I was able to memorize quite a bit – but I my memory serves me correctly I believe I definitely had some large cue cards up there behind the cameras as well. They were color coded to help break up the lines.
Optimus looked great – up close you could tell it was made from wood and plastic, but it was a real dam good job. A little bit of info, we had two puppeteers working Optimus Prime. I believe one guy was inside his head and moving his mouth while another moved his head from side to side. One of the guys was a famous puppeteer and had worked on Sesame Street inside of “Snuffalupagus” not sure if I have spelled that correctly. I remember he was known for his work.
Read the complete interview with Jason Jansen at Digest My Brain. You can see him in action as Tommy in the video clip below.
It was launch day for Transformers Devastation today, and among the many who purchased the game were Radio Free Cybertron's Brian Kilby and diecast. They decided to share some of their first day's play through on RFC's Youtube channel, giving you a chance to look at how the game actually handles. Kilby is playing on PC and takes a while to stop being devastated, while diecast is on PS4 with a solid ~45 minute session to watch. We've got all the videos embedded, so click through and take a look!
Activision Publishing, Inc. today released TRANSFORMERS: Devastation. This new third-person action-brawler rolls into battle with Hasbro’s classic Generations designs. The game’s gripping single-player campaign features 50 highly challenging bonus missions with any of five playable heroes! OPTIMUS PRIME, BUMBLEBEE, SIDESWIPE, WHEELJACK and GRIMLOCK. Each of these characters can be evolved with new abilities, unique talents and more than 150 upgradeable weapons.
Machinima has posted a pair of videos today for Transformers Devastation, just hours away from retail availability. Both videos focus on Optimus Prime, and the voice clips do a good job showing the Peter Cullen still has the more fun, energetic cartoon Optimus Prime inside him. One video highlights battle between Optimus and Megatron, while the second is a more general overview of Optimus through the game. We have both of them embedded, plus plenty of screencaps, so click through to check it out!
With little time remaining before the game is released across the various platforms, the Transformers Game Facebook is cranking out the promo materials. Most recently we've gotten some concept art for the Decepticon generic ground troops, collectively the Battlechargers - one type based on the Generations Wheeljack body (like the Collectors Club exclusives) and another being a simplified version of Blitzwing. We also have nice art of Shockwave in robot and gun modes. Click through and check it all out!
Yesterday's spotlight on Grimlock wasn't the end of coverage for the Dinobot commander, today the Transformers Game Facebook page has their own regular gameplay demo video posted, showing some stages and attacks not present in the "cinematic trailer" yesterday. We have screenshots and an embed for that, plus a collection of several lineart pieces for Soundwave, the cassettes, and Megatron's tank mode. Keep reading to see it all!