Transformers Generation 1 Season 5 Actor Jason Jansen Talks About Tommy Kennedy
Jack - 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.
Just in form Toy Fair 2018, we have news of two new Transformers figures from Flame Toys. What appear to be non-transforming editions of Optimus Prime and Starscream. These look a lot like the designs we saw from their Kuro Kara Kuri Drift with extended articulation and weapons.
Update: these are said to be offered as model kits that you assemble yourself. No word on their price and release date at this time. Read on to see the images of both figures.
Coming to us throw Dengeki Hobby, we have the first reveal of an upcoming Masterpiece exclusive. MP-17+ follows along the likes of red Alert and Sideswipe as an "anime" colors version of Masterpiece Prowl. The deco is most distinctly different with the blue tint to the windows as well as more simplified markings to be better in line with how the character was represented in the cartoon. Along with that, this release will include the shoulder rocket accessories that were previously a bonus item for purchasing through a specific Japanese retailer. MP-17+ Prowl appears to be a TakaraTomy Mall exclusive, due for release in September. Click through to see the photos!
SECRETS AND LIES! As the Scavengers’ journey reaches its ignoble end, the architect of their downfall puts the fate of half the Cybertronian race in their hands. Only one question remains: Are the worst Decepticons prepared to become the ONLY Decepticons?
The Falling, Part 2: The arrival of Onyx Prime throws Cybertron into chaos—because he hasn’t come alone. Onyx’s treacherous companion forces Soundwave to finally make a choice: is Optimus Prime a friend... or foe?
Just about everyone into Transformers knows Optimus Prime's iconic Ion Blaster weapon that his been with from the beginning. How cool would it be if you could have one that you can hold in your hands, just like the Autobot Leader?
Thanks to Bob Clagett, the man behind "I Like To Make Stuff" channel on YouTube. He has done what many can only dream of. He's 3D printed a GIANT-sized Optimus Prime Ion Blaster rifle that looks pretty darn good! Taking advantage of modern 3D printers he was able to reproduce the G1 rifle he can hold in his hands.