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Gobo-fraggle.jpg
PERFORMER Jerry Nelson 1983-1993
  John Tartaglia 2013-present
DEBUT 1983
DESIGN Michael K. Frith designer
  Caroly Wilcox,
Tim Miller builders
GoboFraggle-playinginstrument.jpg

Gobo as a child.

Michael Frith's concept sketch.

Gobo Fraggle is one of the five main Fraggles in Fraggle Rock. In Gobo's earliest appearances, he wore a striped yellow sweater with a purple cardigan. After the first twelve episodes of the series, he would trade in his cardigan for a brown vest.

Gobo Fraggle is an explorer, just like his Uncle Traveling Matt. Whereas Matt explores Outer Space, Gobo devotes himself to the exploration of Fraggle Rock's many caverns and unchartered regions. Gobo is also the only Fraggle who is brave enough to go into Doc's Workshop to pick up his uncle's postcards while evading Doc's dog Sprocket. Whenever the Fraggles are in trouble, Gobo finds inspiration in these postcards.

Personality and History

Gobo is adventurous, clever, and kind. Although he is a good leader, he has a tendency to be conceited and domineering on occasion. He shares a room with his best friend, Wembley Fraggle and is close friends with Red Fraggle. Gobo has an accomplished singing voice and plays the guitar. His dialogue is occasionally peppered with a Canadian-sounding "eh," a likely reference to the show's being filmed in Canada. He is allergic to radish bars.

In the first season, flashbacks of Gobo as a child, being raised by Uncle Traveling Matt, appeared in "The Garden Plot" and "Gobo's Discovery." The young Gobo wore a yellow tank top with the same stripe pattern as his later sweater.

In "The Honk of Honks," Gobo ends up making himself known to Doc.

Outside Fraggle Rock

In A Muppet Family Christmas, Gobo (along with the other main Fraggles) meets Kermit the Frog and Robin the Frog when they enter a Fraggle Hole in Ma Bear's house in Grizzly Farm. Later, during the Muppets' carol medley, Gobo leads his friends into outer space to investigate.

Gobo also appeared as part of the salute to Jim Henson on The Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987. Jerry Nelson reprised the role of Gobo for the "Just One Person" performance at Jim Henson's Memorial. Gobo appeared next to Wembley in the background of the same number in The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson.

In his first speaking appearance in twenty years, Gobo (performed by John Tartaglia[1]) appeared in commercials promoting The Hub's "Fraggle Rock-A-Thon" in April 2013. Gobo made similar live appearances at The Spare Room and the Museum of the Moving Image.

Behind the Scenes

"Gobo" (short for "go between") is a lighting term used in film, television and theater. In the context of the show, Gobo is named after his great-uncle Gobo, Traveling Matt's uncle. In the language of the ancient Fraggles, "Gobo" means "Take off your hat!"

During pre-production of Fraggle Rock, a prototype Gobo puppet was built and used in the casting audition held on November 11, 1981.[2] Steve Whitmire is shown performing the character in excerpts of the audition which were included as part of a DVD bonus feature. During a Toronto press conference announcing the series on December 2,[3] Jim Henson puppeteered this early version of Gobo. (YouTube)

Evolution

Image Year Description
Jim&Gobo.jpg
1981 The prototype Gobo puppet (built by Caroly Wilcox)[4] has a narrower focus and light pink hair. Gobo's fur and the tip of his tail are bright orange, blending with his skin. He wears only a dark purple cardigan.
EarlyGobo.jpg
1982 Gobo has a curved beak-like mouth, as seen in the earliest taped material for the show, as well as some international Outer Space segments. He wears a yellow sweater with a red stripe under a purple cardigan. His fur becomes darker orange, and his hair and the tip of his tail are matching light purple. Jerry Nelson was not a fan of this version, claiming the beak made him look like a Skeksis.[5][6]
GoboEarlySeason1.jpg
1982 Gobo's mouth shape is adjusted, becoming smaller and more rounded. His hair covers his eyes which have no visible eyelids. In some scenes (such as in "Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk"), a mechanism allows Gobo's eyes to widen to indicate surprise or worry, but his long hair makes this effect subtle.
GoboLateSeason1.jpg
1983 - present A revised Gobo is built by Tim Miller[6] during a hiatus from taping the show's first season. He has shorter hair, exposing his eyelids, and a slightly different head shape. He wears a brown vest with pockets to better suit his role as explorer. More stripes are revealed on the sleeves of his sweater. In addition, Gobo often sported unusual hats in several episodes; in his original sketch design, Gobo is indicated to own a hat collection.

Filmography

Gobo as seen in a 2013 Hub promo.

See also

Sources

  1. ↑ Henson Company Facebook post
  2. ↑ "Jim Henson's Red Book," 11/11/1981 – Casting Fraggle characters in NY – HBO picks up Fraggle
  3. ↑ "Jim Henson's Red Book," 12/2/1981 – Press Conference – Toronto – Fraggle
  4. ↑ Jody Revenson and Noel Murray. "A Show of Hands." Fraggle Rock: The Ultimate Visual History, Insight Editions, 2021, p. 60.
  5. ↑ "Fraggle Rock: A Celebration" at Museum of the Moving Image.
  6. ↑ 6.0 6.1 Jody Revenson and Noel Murray. "A Show of Hands." Fraggle Rock: The Ultimate Visual History, Insight Editions, 2021, p. 143.
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