A couple years ago, we started Caroll Spinney characters, and I've been so happy about how it turned out that I keep finding myself wondering why we don't do it for other performers.
When you look at the "character credits" section of pretty much any performer, it kind of looks like a mess. They're structured like bulleted lists, but the longer lists end up looking very cramped, sometimes with lots of parenthetical to add necessary notes. Plus, they're just links to characters, so you have to click each one to see who it is, and then click back to the link.
The gallery style we honed for Spinney is several magnitudes better. I already started Fran Brill characters to see what another performer might look like. The headings are different from Spinney's, and I think that's okay; we can structure these in the way that best works for that individual. This is obviously a medium-to-big sized project, so I figured I'd get a conversation going before we plowed full speed into these. —Scott (talk) 18:41, 14 August 2021 (UTC)
- Initial thoughts, I like the general idea. I am a little concerned about it turning into users just pasting "No image" for entries from the credit lists, especially as we've found more info for non-speaking and crowd bits. Right now, Brill looks pretty close to a decent model (not sure how to handle stuff like "pigeons" in The Producers where there's a team of puppeteers, nobody speaks, nothing can be pinpointed, but since she so rarely did Creature Shop projects, I think it's more useful on her page than it would be for, say, Mak Wilson or somebody).
- A frequent credit on albums and in season bios for Fran Brill was "various little girls." These mostly coalesced into Prairie Dawn (or occasionally Betty Lou) but that's the kind of thing where at most, one collective entry or just a written note would handle it best (since for Spinney, part of the purpose was tracking down non Big Bird/Oscar roles which were fewer, so even unnamed roles were included, but with Brill, Jerry Nelson, Jim Henson, etc., that can easily become overkill).
- One thing this might help with though is pinning down when puppeteers have been stuck in the category "Animated Voice Actors" with no specifics. We know Fran Brill has done her share in Sesame inserts, but apart from a couple "singing over something" instances, we haven't tracked most of it, at least not in an easily searchable form. So that might be more useful than when it comes to "unnamed one line Anything Muppet woman #37" or whatever.
- More on this when I have time (if!) Generally, I support it (especially the visual effect), just thinking of how to define the scope, since we know from wiki history this kind of thing can easily get out of hand (it happens often with just the pattern pages as is). And of course, the old sourcing rules apply (if you have to say "I think it was Fran Brill who sneezed for this character," either bring it up in a discussion for consensus or leave it alone; crowd vocals are often hard to pick out and again, as with every extra or random AM, not that helpful). Overall, I think it's a good idea as a supplement, if not a replacement, for credit lists and more useful for casual users. -- Andrew 19:02, 14 August 2021 (UTC)
- I've also been kind of mixed on those character credits, particularly when we note characters so minor, they don't have a page; for example, on the Jim Henson page, we have "apple from Bilingual Fruit Song" or "One Banana singer." Stuff like that really clutters up those lists. I had thought about generalizing it to "various Anything Muppets in ____," but creating a Jim Henson characters page at some point would be a unique way to present each role. At the same time, we could also simplify the performer credits to main roles. — Jon (talk) 19:11, 14 August 2021 (UTC)
- Yeah, some users have been so thrilled by identifications from sources that they add to those lists without often being clear. At the least, if we do feel the need to track all of those on the performer page (rather than a character gallery), at this point, the old "characters in alphabetical order" approach (which has often gone by the wayside or been inconsistent anyway) doesn't work too well anymore. I'm thinking two bullets for series work, one "Main/major recurring" (or similar wording) and "Minor/one-shot" or whatever (obviously some POV and who someone thinks is major, but it's pretty clear Farley would come sooner in any list of Jerry Nelson credits than Felix the Grouch or Fico and likewise on Muppet Show roles (originally, a lot of listings for movies and specials, carried over from the long offline Punchandjewelry.com Muppet Character lists, omitted major recurring Muppets, just new characters, but that's also shifted, and those are easier to cleanup). -- Andrew 19:27, 14 August 2021 (UTC)
- As for the gallery idea, the fact that Spinney is a solid (if helped by limited roles overall compared to the others) model is a great start, and I think with Brill (or at most another sandbox, maybe for Jim Henson as that could definitely get complicated), we can figure it out without need for too many boxes of sand, but more talking and tweaking definitely. I don't think a gallery would help a ton either with "unidintified fish in singing chorus" stuff (that's now being listed on song pages anyway) where often someone else dubbed the vocals anyway ("On My Pond" is an example, where document sources identified characters who have no names or lines beyond maybe chorus, if they weren't dubbed; all non-fish/Kermit roles are silent). That's the kind of thing I think is most helpful on a song/sketch page, *maybe* on a performer's page (at this point I feel like all vague background chorus stuff, unless there's clear solos and maybe even then, is the same as a silent extra for our purposes) but not so much in a gallery. But would help clarify "apple in bilingual song" stuff (where it is featured speaking/singing at least, so that's a bit over fish).
- ETA: I don't know why it didn't occur to me sooner. With stuff from scripts, behind the scenes clips, or other documentation, we've been able to identify who filled in for non-speaking uses of main characters, or right handed or did Kermit's legs. But we don't note it on the performer pages (just the relevant sketch or song) unless it was a consistent pairing. So silent/chorus Muppets partly or wholly dubbed by vocalists stuff seems to fall pretty much into the same camp, for either puppeteer pages or a gallery (probable exceptions if the group is notable in itself, i.e. has a page, or there's distinct solos where you could even screengrab the puppeteer's specific contribution, like Zizzy Zoomers or The Frazzletones where they all get solo moments). That feels like a useful limit for puppeteer or performer role gallery pages, at least to start with (thanks to the additions on the performer pages, take a certain amount of double checking now to weed out some of the "just a silent background puppet" moments from characters who spoke or had on-screen names, but very doable). Thoughts? -- Andrew 19:27, 14 August 2021 (UTC)
- I moved the "All Dressed Up" to the Voices Only section (renamed from Audio). It's still a Fran Brill character, we can just put it in a different spot.
- Also, what should we do about the filmography on her article? We don't need to track characters in two places, so I'm thinking we remove all the character names but keep the projects with a note at top to see "Fran Brill characters" for all the characters she's played. I think we could probably do this for any performer we make a gallery for. —Scott (talk) 12:21, 15 August 2021 (UTC)
- That's a good question. No disrespect to someone like, I dunno, Bruce Edward Hall, but I don't think he needs a character gallery page. Maybe we set a rule somewhere around a dozen or so characters before they warrant their own character gallery. Close to the guidelines we use for cameo pages with the numbers boosted a little.
- Also, I'm wondering if it would be in our best interests to go through these one or two at a time so as not to get overwhelmed and stretch ourselves thin. I'm thinking if we start focusing on Jerry Nelson before we're done with Richard Hunt, the end result might suffer. Not that any wiki page is ever an end result, we can always update, but these things tend to get put on the back burner and forgotten when we move on to other things. So maybe we just keep an open dialogue here about what we're working on now and what to tackle next. —Scott (talk) 21:55, 15 August 2021 (UTC)
I like this too. I've often been frustrated that a performer's main characters are buried among his one-shot characters. (I think we should add Big Bird and Oscar to the top of Spinney's gallery page.) --GrantHarding (talk) 14:07, 16 August 2021 (UTC)
- So, my thought on existing filmographies is to leave the lists, but remove instances where characters exceed a few. So, on the Fran Brill example, we'd list Sesame Street: Prairie Dawn, Zoe, and others.... That way we're still listing the credits on the performer pages, but we're also not duplicating the character lists. Does that work? —Scott (talk) 00:21, 18 August 2021 (UTC)
- I'm rather mixed on just two names and "others" for regular characters. Maybe six major characters tops? In Fran's case, Roxie Marie and Little Bird are really the only other significant characters and both minor in comparison, but I'm thinking more that when we get to Jim Henson, Frank Oz, etc. it will look a bit weird (would Henson just get "Kermit, Rowlf, and others" on The Muppet Show, or Waldorf for number two?) and those who don't click to the gallery will be wondering. Some of that can be fixable through adjusting the main text (it's odd to have a picture of Brill performing Little Bird and no mention beyond that caption), but some people will go straight to the credits. Since the longest miscellany list on Fran Brill's page (Sex and Violence) ends at six, that (maybe four if that seems too long?) feels like a reasonable cut-off to me (if there's only two significant regular/recurring characters and the rest utility or one-shots, the "and others" approach makes more sense anyway). -- Andrew 02:43, 18 August 2021 (UTC)
Voice ID: Fran Brill
Can anyone confirm if this is Fran Brill? It's the Fairy Napmother from Episode 4078. I'm not the best at IDing female voices and I'm particularly bad with some of the other women credited that season. —Scott (talk) 12:53, 15 August 2021 (UTC)
- I'm positive that's Fran. There's early hints of Mrs. Crustworthy in there. -- Tony (talk) 13:40, 15 August 2021 (UTC)
We know Fran Brill started out on The Great Santa Claus Switch. I skimmed through and found some candidates for who she might be playing:
- https://youtu.be/yhUqto784sI?t=2228 36:38
- https://youtu.be/yhUqto784sI?t=2327 38:47
- https://youtu.be/yhUqto784sI?t=2701 45:01
I'm pretty sure about that third one; the Droop-like character. But I'm less sure about the first two (same character, different time codes). Any thoughts from the voice-chasing experts? —Scott (talk) 16:35, 19 August 2021 (UTC)
- I'm actually not too sure the third one is Brill; it sounds a little like Sokol to me. But the other two (the Snerf who says "I didn't say anything." and the green Scoff-like "YA DROPPED HIM!" one) are definitely Brill. -- Tony (talk) 17:10, 19 August 2021 (UTC)
- The "Green Bird Frackle" (or Scoff-like one) is assigned to Fran Brill (or just Fran, actually) per this sketch. This RedBook entry had a gallery of sketches with puppeteer assignments. Useful, but some show more than one name, folks like Sokol don't come up at all, and in the final special, it's evident that several characters swap, usually between say Jim Henson or Frank Oz for singing/closeups and someone else for crowd and one-line bits. But for this particular one, it adds official confirmation (in general, notes and assignments suggest a lot of the newly hired folks did Frackles but also just basically filled in as utility, so the puppeteer/character pairing wasn't as firm as in other instances). -- Andrew 00:05, 21 August 2021 (UTC)
- Our page for Oscar's Grouchy Day claims that Fran Brill voices the Countess and Camille Bonora is the narrator:
- Neither of them really sound like Brill or Bonora to me. The narrator sounds like it was probably someone who'd done other Golden Press recordings. Given that the other characters are the main performers, I would expect Countess to also be a Muppet performer, but it doesn't sound like Brill to me. I'm less sure of the latter than I am of the former, but I wanted to put this out there to check with y'all who are better at voice chasing than I am. —Scott (talk) 14:24, 10 September 2021 (UTC)
- The narrator sounds familiar, but it's not Fran or Camille; the Countess, though, is definitely Fran. She sounds a bit like her Sow #1 character. ("Brilliant, Dr. Nauga!") -- Tony (talk) 14:37, 10 September 2021 (UTC)
- EDITED TO ADD: After listening to it some more, I'm positive it's Brill as the Countess, but I'm not certain it's Bonora as narrator. I guess I haven't heard enough of her regular speaking voice to confirm yet; there don't seem to be many interviews with her (are there any?). But the Brill credit is correct. -- Tony (talk) 14:46, 10 September 2021 (UTC)
- EDITED TO ADD: (Note to self: listen to the whole thing before you post.) (Eych.) After listening to the rest of it, I picked up on Camille's cadences as she would perform her characters that matched with the narrator's. I now believe that it is Bonora as the narrator. (Where are credits when you need them?!) -- Tony (talk) 14:53, 10 September 2021 (UTC)
Adding more character galleries
Fran Brill characters is looking awesome, so I moved it out of the sandbox. I quickly started Louise Gold characters and that's starting to shape up nice, too. Last night, Michael started three more: Sandbox:Kathryn Mullen characters,
Sandbox:Camille Bonora characters, and Sandbox:Brian Muehl characters. They're all a very basic start, but I think we should hold off on starting any more for now. With big projects like these, we tend to split our attention and these things get forgotten. It's best to focus on what we've got now and get them into good shape before moving on to even more.
One note on those that we currently have sandboxed: Special:WhatLinksHere is a powerful tool for determining where else on the wiki someone or something is referenced and probably has a lot more information than is currently in either of those performers' filmographies. —Scott (talk) 13:25, 19 August 2021 (UTC)
- Good idea on holding off on new pages; they could also result in many edit conflicts. They've been surprisingly fun to fill out, and really show off the versatility of the performers. Excellent work, everybody! -- Tony (talk) 13:28, 19 August 2021 (UTC)
- It's starting to get cluttered as predicted. There's six pages in sandbox right now (a couple closer to completion than others, but). I'd like to suggest that (at least until there are no more than three open Sandboxes simultaneously, and even that feels a little much) everyone propose a new performer's character gallery sandbox here first, and then wait to start until there's an okay. As Scott said, it's the best way to ensure they're properly finished, bugs worked out, and none just end up sitting here and overlooked. Plus as also mentioned, there's attendant tweaks to the filmography pages of each performer, so having fewer active instances at a time ensures those are handled properly too. For example, there's a few errors, assumptions, or just "where the heck did this come from?" in main article filmographies that the transplanting of the longer lists to galleries has brought to light, and it's easier to clean those up when there's not a half a dozen or more pages active. Also easier to try to make formatting/divisions relatively consistent (to distinguish main/recurring from one-shot characters, even if the performer only had one ow two of the former). -- Andrew 22:37, 26 August 2021 (UTC)
- Exactly my point. Also, "pitching" means a page you're willing to start, not just suggestions for others to do. As I said above, I think three active sandboxes or less should be the limit in future. -- Andrew 03:40, 27 August 2021 (UTC)
- Agreed on holding off until current sandboxes are in "article" shape. Note that this doesn't mean an article is "done". A wiki article almost never is. We've added quite a bit to Fran Brill characters since moving it out of the sandbox.
- Also worth considering that it might be worth our while to only have one of these in the sandbox at a time when we're talking about someone with an overwhelming filmography. After how mow work we put into Louise Gold and Fran Brill, I'm reeling at how tough some of the Big Guys are gonna be.
- These are supposed to be fun, not stressful. So, let's take them a bit at a time. —Scott (talk) 10:45, 27 August 2021 (UTC)
- Agreed on all points, and by "properly finished," yeah I was thinking in our wiki sense of "going live" (out of sandbox), not "never ever be anything to add." Ready for public viewing. (I get used to certain phrasing, but as we're pointing newer or less frequent editors to this page to explain how all this works, it needed clarifying). -- Andrew 20:18, 28 August 2021 (UTC)
These are looking really good! I know we're holding off before we create pages for everybody, but something occurred to me about the order of characters. Right now, everything is broken down by production, and then major/minor characters within that production. But (and I'm just thinking out loud here), I wonder if it might be better to have the major characters from every production at the top.
Suppose the page we ultimately create for Jim Henson has The Muppet Show at the top. Kermit, Rowlf, and Dr. Teeth would be right at the top, as they should be. But then you'd have to scroll all the way past Silver Beak and Wally Whoopie before you ever saw Ernie. That doesn't seem right to me.
- Personally, I'm not sure. I think it would break my OCD, lol. It's probably fine if people see a header labelled The Muppet Show and know not to find Ernie in that section. They can always skip down to the Sesame section linked in the table of contents. —Scott (talk) 21:22, 19 August 2021 (UTC)
- Could put some lead text (I know, not as catchy as pictures) that highlights the half-dozen tip-top-tier major characters of the performers.
- Something like "Jim Henson is best known as the performer of Kermit the Frog, he also performed Rowlf the Dog, Dr. Teeth, Waldorf and the Swedish Chef for the Muppets along with Ernie on Sesame Street and Cantus on Fraggle Rock" or "Frank Oz has performed many characters, including Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and Animal for the Muppets; and Bert, Grover and Cookie Monster on Sesame Street." -
- The Carol Spinney page has a bit of lead text and could work as a compromise to highlight the big dogs -- so readers can get that Jerry Nelson did Floyd (Muppets), the Count (Sesame), Gobo (Fraggle), and Emmet (Otter) without having to scroll through a sea of Whatnots and Anythings. BradFraggle (talk) 15:25, 20 August 2021 (UTC)
Voice ID: Louise Gold
Regarding , how is it known that Louise Gold puppeteers a tourist rat in MTI if what we hear is Steve Whimire's voice? Aren't there a whole bunch of tourist rats? Originally added here  —Scott (talk) 12:08, 20 August 2021 (UTC)
- I thought I read it from a Muppet Central interview, but it doesn't show up there. The only "evidence" is from a Muppet Central quiz. Emma Shane would know. -- Tony (talk) 12:26, 20 August 2021 (UTC)
- For the record, I think the credit was meant for the tourist guide, but Whitmire performed another rat throughout the film. ("And margaritas at the midnight buffet!" "And the food is to die for!") The lyric book from the MTI soundtrack calls her "Donna Plagueman." -- Tony (talk) 14:20, 20 August 2021 (UTC)
I just skimmed through MTI and found rat tourists at the following time codes:
- 29:22 — silent: Mr. and Donna Plagueman.
- 30:09 — "We'll send postcards!"
- 31:50 — Donna Plagueman: "And margaritas at the midnight buffet!"
- 36:11 — "Yeah!"
- 36:59 — various rats
- 56:03 — "He said go faster!"
- 1:07:00 — cheers
- 1:12:32 — Rat Tour Guide: "Here's a photo opportunity you will not want to miss: the actual jungle location of Muppet Treasure Island."
- 1:26:50 — rat cheerleaders
- 1:31:55 — silent: rat scuba divers
I can't be sure that's every appearance they make, but I couldn't hear Louise anywhere. I don't really hear Steve either; it sounds like someone else trying to do a feminine Rizzo. Anyway, I originally added a cite tag to the claim, but I can't find any evidence anywhere that Louise either puppeteered or voiced a specific rat in the film. I was going to add a line about how's she's at least credited with no identified characters, but Shane added that she was the "hot potato" seller, so I think we have the MTI credit covered. —Scott (talk) 12:17, 22 August 2021 (UTC)
- I didn't hear Gold's voice either in any of them. Going through several of these on YouTube, it looks like there are multiple rats as Donna; the one with the solo line in "Sailing for Adventure" is different (but similar) to the one at the pagan altar scene. The voice is consistent, though, so it may be a situation where they forgot which one is Ms. Plagueman. The fact that she has several lines, a consistent voice (Whitmire - literally a female Rizzo!) and even a credited name should constitute that she had a minor role nonetheless in the film as much as Mr. Plagueman. -- Tony (talk) 12:48, 22 August 2021 (UTC)
Take a Little One Step
Are we assuming Louise, Jim, and Dave played Sweetums, Thog, and Timmy (respectively) in "Take a Little One Step" because of the way they're arranged in this rehearsal photo or do we have another source? —Scott (talk) 11:26, 21 August 2021 (UTC)
Louise Gold "others"
Louise Gold characters is mostly structured now, but the "Unconfirmed" section could use some help. Those are all the ones that I couldn't find as listed in our episode guides. My question about Sweetums is directly above, I think the baby in 503 is Kathy Mullen, and I couldn't hear anything from Rover Joe in 523. The other 10 I couldn't find, possibly just due to tied eyes and ears from going through all this stuff. Also could just have been editor guesswork over the years or I just missed it. —Scott (talk) 18:23, 21 August 2021 (UTC)
- Alright, here's what I can muster from the group:
- 210: can be heard during "Cuanto Le Gusta"; by process of elimination with BTS photo and Dave Goelz's story on his horn-playing pig, Gold is most likely performing the (right-handed) guitar player; also heard in "It All Depends on You", as Miss Mousey (the only other female in the group besides Piggy)
- 217: voices Annie Sue and her mom in "Lonely Goatherd"; the same puppet appears in 220 played by Gold
- 308: plays female baby in "One's On the Way" and Whatnot lady (and child?) in "All Alone"
- 403: singer in "Take a Chance on Me"
- 407: no solo lines
- 411: voice is heard for "He's the Greatest Dancer" and UK Spot
- 503: baby with Ghandi book
- 523: confirmed in Of Muppets and Men book, for "The Cat Came Back"
- Thanks for the run-down. I moved most of these to "ensemble" because it's not always clear which character she's doing to get a proper screenshot. As for the baby with the Ghandi book, listen to the wind-down of her crying; it sounds like Kathy Mullen. I'm gonna get some proper scans from OMAM for "Take a Little One Step" and "The Cat Came Back" before I move them to the gallery. —Scott (talk) 12:44, 22 August 2021 (UTC)
Filmographies or just characters?
So to be clear, are these galleries just for specific characters, or are they filmographies, in the sense of listing everything the performer was part of? I know the Brian Muehl page mentions a few segments he was in without noting who he was (and those were non-vocal roles), previously under his few Muppets characters one of the entries was "construction worker in episode 516 and assorted characters" (which has been changed since). It would be cool to list all episodes of The Muppet Show that Muehl performed in (I should check his article and see if that already does the job), but we probably don't need to note productions or segments we know he was in without knowing what he did (especially if he was just lending a hand). With those Sesame Street examples, we pretty much know who he did (most likely one of the back-up frogs in "Disco Frog", one of the Honkers in "The Honker-Duckie-Dinger Jamboree") but don't know if we really need to get into that minutia. --Minor muppetz (talk) 21:19, 22 August 2021 (UTC)
- I would think a line should be drawn somewhere. Back-Up Frog in "Disco Frog" isn't really a character. Nor would we bother listing times where he was a right hand or such. I think any speaking/singing/animal noise part or something of prominence (like, say, Tim Gosley as the Honker in FTB) is worth it. Anything else probably shouldn't be. - Shane (talk) 21:31, 22 August 2021 (UTC)
How do we define recurring characters? For example, Brian Muehl is credited for both Gilbert and one of the Tarnish Brothers. Both have appeared several times over the years, but Brian only performed as each of them once. -- Tony (talk) 22:19, 22 August 2021 (UTC)
- That's pretty simple. A recurring character *for the performer*. If they just filled in or the character seldom or never had a consistent performer, it's not one of the puppeteer's recurring characters. -- Andrew 23:07, 22 August 2021 (UTC)
- I was wondering that as well. There are some characters who never really had a consistent performer, but in some cases the same performer did the character multiple times (Jerry Nelson did Baskerville the Hound in most of his speaking appearances on The Muppet Show, and in fact also did AM Elmo in all his speaking appearances, but they don't seem to have been his characters, and while Betty Lou was performed by whoever was available before Lisa Buckley got the role, Frank Oz and Fran Brill had multiple turns as her). I do question including Mildred among Louise Gold's "recurring" characters when she only did the role twice, in different seasons (and I am on the fence about listing Zelda Rose among her recurring characters). --Minor muppetz (talk) 15:33, 23 August 2021 (UTC)
Some of these have an "others" heading in terms of other productions. I saw it on the Fran Brill and Louise Gold pages before I started some. But I wonder if that heading is necessary. Seems like it's a case where the characters don't have many characters in a single production, but does represent some productions where the performers had multiple roles. Should it matter how many characters the performer had in a single production, or should we just give each production a gallery header, even if they only had one role to note? --Minor muppetz (talk) 15:36, 23 August 2021 (UTC)