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.
Tom Scioli sat down with Max Robinson of Deadshirt.net at the Small Press Expo to talk about his work on The Transformers vs. GI Joe, his influences, his goals, and how success has put more eyes on his work at both Hasbro and IDW. Scioli is a smart guy with a good eye for comics and their history -and as usual, it shows in this interview. Keep reading for excerpts and a link to the full conversation!
Are you ready for Hikari Friday?!
This Friday, we are giving away FOUR Hikari Sofubi Figures, including two Books-A-Million Exclusives!
24k Optimus Prime and Bumblebee Hikari Figures are both available exclusively through Books-A-Million.
Visit Book-A-Million online to pre-order your 24k Transformers Hikari Sofubi Figures now!
We are also giving away two Premium Hikari Figures!
Premium Distressed Optimus Prime and Bumblebee will be available at Funko retailers.
We are holding the giveaway via our social media channels: @OriginalFunko
Marc T. Nobleman reports that G1 Voice Actor Buster Jones has passed away on September 15th at the age of 71. The cause is currently unknown. Jones was the voice of Blaster, as well as appearing as the 2006 chief of the New York PD in season 3. Among his other notable roles is that of Black Vulcan on the Super Friends cartoon. An excerpt from Nobleman's obituary of Jones follows after the cut.
Andrew Wildman is selling five signed editions of the convention-exclusive version of ReGen One number 100 on eBay, complete with sketches of Rodimus on the included backing boards. ReGeneration One was Simon Furman's "completion" of the original Marvel G1 storyline with art primarily by Wildman with issues by Guido Guidi and guest art by a variety of other TF art notables like Geoff Senior. Keep reading to see the images and a link to Wildman's eBay page!
Previews Magazine have posted a new article: Truth, Trouble, and Turnaround for New Transformers Titles! Those who have been following the comics, will be glad to know Transformers takes over the cover of Previews with a big showcase of new comics coming including Angry Birds, Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye, Primacy, Empire of Stone and more! Read on to see the details and preview covers and comic art work now!