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.
New pictures of Ultimetal Optimus Prime have surfaced on Twitter, and they give a much better sense of just how much robot $800 gets you. Coming up to Metroplex's torso-boxes and standing head and shoulders above even the original, larger MP-1 Optimus Prime, you have to figure that the price of the figure isn't too bad if you figure it by the pound... Keep reading to see the photos!
Singapore's Planet Iacon has posted a gallery of in-hand images of the super-big, super-elaborate, super-expensive Ultimetal Optimus Prime! The figure comes with a near-complete set of magnetic snap-on armor, a fancy base with stand, a Matrix of Leadership that also fits on the stand, and eyes that light up and a faceplate that moves when it talks. And it's huge. As is the price- about $760 USD. Keep reading to see the photos, which is as close as most of us are ever going to get to owning one of these!
Transformers Legacy: The Art of Transformers Packaging, by Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster is the newest entry in the realm of Transformers art books, and the latest offering from the team that brought us The Ark and The Allspark Almanac. But Transformers Legacy goes in a different direction from prior art books which focused on the art of a particular video game or TV show. You may think you've already seen it all when
it comes to G1 and G2 box art, but you've never seen it like this. And I believe most everyone will find at least a few things within that they've never seen before! Read the full review!
A funeral is crashed on Earth, and the "deceased" crashes back! And a trial within the walls of Metroplex is a mockery of justice. Meanwhile two robot autopsies are planned, one for each planet... only one of the subjects is still alive! The Transformers Vs. GI Joe #3 is written by Tom Scioli and John Barber, with art, colors and lettering by Scioli. Continue to full review
A couple of short videos have appeared on YouTube that demonstrate the uber-expensive Ultimetal Optimus Prime and some of its special features. Namely, the magnetically attached outer shell and the animated faceplate that moves in time with the Peter Cullen voice recordings. I don't know if it's worth the asking price of roughly $760 USD, but it sure is impressive. Keep reading to see the videos!