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.
Jay over at TNI has posted a new video review and images for the Transformers Masterpiece MP-27 Ironhide figure that is shipping out to fans now. Get the scoop on this suped-up version of the Generation 1 character from Takara's awesome MasterPiece line. Read on to see the video and image gallery below.
Prime 1 Studio have dropped a teaser for their next Transformers G1 release. Those with a keen eye will notice classic G1 design is almost surely that of the Autobot Leader Optimus prime. This is reported to be another awesome design by Josh Nizzi that will be somewhat smaller than usual at about 23 inches, including the base.
Read on to see the teaser image of the Prime 1 Studio Transformers G1 Optimus Prime
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Imaginarium Art has posted a pair of images to their Facebook page of an in-development statue of Devastator attacking Autobot City - and now they're asking for you to decide what goes into it next. Should Arcee or Ultra Magnus be at Kup's side to witness the destruction? Keep reading for a Facebook link so you can give your input!
Currently in Japan, Comic Market (Comiket) 89 has just wrapped up. Among the many fan produced items for all sorts of properties being sold at the event was a Transformers artbook, called More Than Just A Geek Spark. Masabon1980 obtained a copy of this book and has shared many images from it on his Photobucket account. We've mirrored a few lower resolution copies of the images, but there's lots more to see, so keep reading for the previews and a link back to the originals, plus some info about a few of the artists represented in this book!