I started writing for puppet shows in the early 1990s, when I was working for Disney. When I started at Disney, there was a puppet show called “Hocus Pocus” that was created by the legendary Maurice Sendak, who created the book series The Electric Company. I was working at the studio, and I remember that they had started using puppets for different elements on their shows.
So you started working for this company? Or you didn’t actually know what it was?
Well, at this point at Disney they didn’t have a puppet department, it was one of the many departments that were working to try to get the movie The Little Mermaid made. One of the people we were trying to convince to try to see if we could get a live animal performance from, I think, was the animator for this company called The Orangutan Project. So, I met him in early 1990 at the studio and he brought me in, and he said, “Hey, we want to get a live puppet there, the company is going to be opening here, don’t do anything else. This is great for us because you’ll help us find people who really fit.”
So that’s what you did for several years, basically get them to the studio and they’ll send you their animators.
And then after you’ve got them you give the animator the first set of scripts and then they go out to do the animation, just to try and learn what their limitations are. They did it for two years before we got into show business, and it’s all, you know, not done, you never actually see anything. It was just an idea they came up with, and then they never tried it out. So I think a lot of this stuff happened because I really wanted to be involved, but at the same time because of all the other work that I was doing, I don’t have the time to do a lot of this stuff.
So where did the idea for “The Little Mermaid” come from, and where did you get the idea “I want to do a live animal show?” Is that something that’s just in your head, or did you even think about it before?
No, I started with the idea. It was never even in the script that first time I saw it. I went into an interview with the studio and they were like “Oh, we’re going to have a show. We just got a proposal, we wanted
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