The Puppeteers of Yesterday are the Muppeteers of Today

Marionettes, ventriloquism, finger puppets and more. As recent as the early 1960's, these forms of entertainment were still impressing people with their simplicity. And for the most part they depended on the puppeteers offstage to do most of the leg-work in order to pull off the illusion. Overlapping in the same time period, Jim Henson's Muppets debuted on Sesame Street (1962) and with the advent of the Muppet came a new job category: Muppeteers - better known as the person or persons who existed just out of camera range and controlled the Muppet with wires and hands and anything else they contrived to make this creatures appear to live and breath.

The Muppets are instantly recognizable after nearly 50 years in television, film and print. But for many of those years, the person who did most of the work as a Muppeteer and voice for the Muppets remained out of sight and out of mind to all except those he worked with. That is until now. Master Muppeteer Frank OZ has finally gotten his do. In no small part thanks to all the hard work he did off camera, establishing the Muppet choreography, playing many of the parts himself. He was always the hired hand of Muppets creator Jim Henson, but Frank Oz knew enough to bide his time, learn his craft and wait for the right opportunity.
 
Frank Oz got bitten by the puppeteering bug at an early age. Already making a name for himself at the tender age of 12 for his work. It wasn't too much longer after that that Jim Henson took notice of the multi-talented Frank Oz and invited him to change career paths. Being a puppeteer was a thing of the past - the future was going to be one of Muppets and Henson invited Frank OZ along for the ride. The rest - as they say - is history.

It didn't take Frank Oz long to leave his mark as the master Muppeteers. He had his hand in virtually every aspect of the Muppets and programs being produced for Jim Henson Productions. As a Muppeteer he worked in some capacity of every episode of the Muppet Show, Oz also voiced a score of Muppet characters including Ms. Piggy, the bear cub Fozzi, Bert (on the show "Sesame Street), the Cookie Monster, Grower and other heroes.

As both Muppeteers, and director, Frank Oz took a quantum leap forward when he directed the fantasy film "The Dark Crystal". It was the break he's been waiting for and opened up a whole new world of possibilities other than that of Muppeteers. Shortly later he produced the film "The Muppets Take Manhattan" (1984).

Typically as a Muppeteers, Frank was working alongside several other technicians. In fact it's amazing that they didn't all fall over themselves. One person controlled the arms and legs, another worked the mouth and eyes, someone else or probably one of the same, provided the voice. And that was for one character! Imagine a scene with several characters moving and talking all at once! All this activity going on just out of reach of the camera lens in order to bring the Muppets to life.

By 1986 Frank Oz had a new career on the horizon and decided to leave the world of Muppets. He either directed or produced many other films including "Little shop of horrors" and the "Stepford Wives"

As a director his future is all but assured, but Frank OZ hasn't abandoned his voice work. He has voiced numerous characters for some of this generations most popular films including STAR WARS: EPISODE V - THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, STAR WARS: EPISODE VI - RETURN OF THE JEDI, The Muppet Christmas Carol, STAR WARS: EPISODE I - THE PHANTOM MENACE, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. 

Starting his career in the cinema as a puppeteer, Frank Oz had the spark to not be satisfied and keep pushing himself. His determination has paid off in more ways than even he could imagine. But he knows it's the Muppets that started him on his long road to success.

This artilce has been viewed: 0 times this month, and 34 times in total since published.