First Animatronic Puppet in Film

Andrew over at Puppetvision makes a very good point. Many people put The Dark Crystal (1982)(perhaps The Empire Strikes Back(1980)) as the first use of an animatronic puppet in film. But turns out it was probably another very innovative film — Mary Poppins. Walt was always looking forward an used animatronics in many of his films following Mary Poppins too.

Here’s a short video looking back at how that effect was made.

Here’s a little trivia for you: during the filming of that scene with the robin, Julie Andrews experienced shocks and burns from the electrical cords leading to the animatronic bird puppet.

2 thoughts on “First Animatronic Puppet in Film”

  1. The whole shocking / burning comment is an urban legend. The only cables running up to the bird would have been hydraulic. The worst that could happen would be that one of the cables would disengage and her arm would have been covered in oily fluid. So, there you have it.

  2. Mr. Banks. I guess you would know with a name like that. However, the story was told at the Mary Poppins revival screening at the El Capitan back in the late-90s. The one with where Richard Sherman played Feed The Birds.

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