US 20060183402 A1
A mechanism for a soft sculpture puppet by which its movable components can be operated while the puppet is perched on a puppeteer's shoulder including a support beam designed to rest on the shoulder of a puppeteer, a rigid control shaft attached to the beam and extending down the back to the vicinity of the waist of the puppeteer, a forward stabilizer affixed to the support beam and extending down the front of the puppeteer's shoulder which, together with the control shaft, secure the puppet on the shoulder, and control mechanisms operable from the end of the control shaft in the vicinity of the waist to selectively move the movable components of the puppet.
1. A structure for a shoulder-sitting puppet, comprising:
a beam member adapted to rest on a puppeteer's shoulder;
a rigid, hollow control shaft having a first end and a second end and secured at its first end to, and depending from, said beam member whereby said shaft extends along the back to the vicinity of the waist of a puppeteer when said beam member rests on a puppeteer's shoulder;
a forward stabilizer secured to, and depending from, said beam member at a location spaced apart from said control shaft whereby said forward stabilizer extends down the front of the shoulder of a puppeteer when said body member rests on the puppeteer's shoulder and said control shaft extends along the back of the puppeteer's shoulder;
at least one movable puppet component attached to said beam member;
a control mechanism extending from the second end of said control shaft to said at least one movable puppet component and operative from the second end of said control shaft to selectively move said movable puppet component.
2. The structure for a shoulder-sitting puppet of
3. The structure for a shoulder-sitting puppet of
4. The structure for a shoulder-sitting puppet of
5. The structure for a shoulder-sitting puppet of
6. The structure for a shoulder-sitting puppet of
mechanical actuators disposed at the distal end of said control shaft;
a source of electrical power;
electric motors disposed to operate said movable puppet component;
wires that extend from said electrical power source through said control shaft to said motors and wherein said actuators connect and disconnect said source of electric power to and from said motors.
7. The structure for a shoulder-sitting puppet of
8. The structure for a shoulder-sitting puppet of
9. The structure for a shoulder-sitting puppet of
a first control cord that extends from the second end of said control shaft to said tail structure and is operative when pulled to raise said tail structure and operative when released to allow said tail structure to fall;
a pair of second control cords that extends from the second end of said control shaft to said mouth structure and are operative when pulled to cause said mouth structure to open; and
a spool drive operatively disposed between said control shaft and said neck member whereby rotation of said control shaft in one direction about its longitudinal axis causes said neck member to move to one side and rotation in the opposite direction causes said neck member to move to the other side.
10. The structure for a shoulder-sitting puppet of
11. The structure for a shoulder-sitting puppet of
12. The structure for a shoulder-sitting puppet of
The present invention relates to puppets and, more particularly, to a structure for an articulable puppet mounted on a hollow shaft and adapted to be operated while perched on a puppeteer's shoulder.
Hand puppets (as opposed to marionettes) are generally operated by a puppeteer inserting one of his or her hands into the puppet body and, by the movement of the hand and/or fingers within the puppet, causes the puppet to come to “life”—make one or more of its parts move. This manner of operation is not possible when, for example, the puppet is perched on a puppeteer's shoulder.
The present invention is a structure for a puppet having movable parts and intended to sit on a puppeteer's shoulder while its movable parts are selectively activated. In order to effectively operate the puppet while on the puppeteer's shoulder, the present invention provides a novel mechanism for the puppet that includes: a support structure in the form of a beam that is intended to sit on a puppeteer's shoulder; a rigid tubular control shaft affixed near one end of the beam which is intended to depend down the back of the shoulder to the vicinity of the puppeteer's waist; and a depending forward stabilizer affixed near the other end of the beam at a distance from the control shaft that enables the shaft and stabilizer to straddle the shoulder. The shaft and stabilizer secure the puppet on the puppeteer's shoulder while it is operated. The control shaft has at its distal end a handle and associated controls that can be easily grasped by a hand of the puppeteer and used to selectively activate animation mechanisms that run from the distal end of the control shaft to the moving parts of the puppet.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a structure for a puppet intended to sit on, and be operated while on, the shoulder of a puppeteer.
Another object of the invention is to provide a support structure and internal operating mechanism by which a soft sculpture puppet with movable parts can be operated to selectively move the parts while sitting on a puppeteer's shoulder.
The invention possesses other objects and advantages, especially as concerns particular characteristics and features thereof which will be better understood from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments when read in conjunction with the appended drawing figures.
As described in detail below, the puppet 11 has movable parts that are operated by controls 18 mounted at the distal end of control shaft 13 on handle 16. The depending legs 21 of puppet 11 are spaced apart from the control shaft 13 a sufficient distance to allow the shaft 13 and legs 21 to straddle the puppeteer's shoulder 15 with legs 21 extending down the front of the shoulder 15. In this way, the puppet 11 is stabilized on the shoulder 15 so that movement of the shaft 13 does not easily dislodge the puppet 11 from the shoulder 15.
Referring also to
The support beam 22 is formed by an upper beam member 23 and a spaced-apart lower beam member 24 which define a space 30 therebetween and are secured together by plurality of beam ties 25.
The control shaft 13 is a rigid, hollow tube having one end 26 secured near the back end of support beam 22, in bores 27 and 28 in lower beam member 24 and upper beam member 23, respectively. After shaft 13 is fit into beam 22, spring clips 19 are placed into spaced-apart groove 20 near end 26 of shaft 13 to secure the shaft in beam 22. The other (distal) end 29 of control shaft 13 is secured to handle 16.
The U-shaped forward stabilizer 31 is fixedly attached on support beam 22 at a location spaced apart from control shaft 13. The distance between the location on beam 22 where shaft 13 is fixed and where forward stabilizer 31 is mounted is sufficient to permit the two elements to straddle a person's shoulder as seen in
It is onto the above-described main components that the movable components of the puppet and control mechanisms for animating them are operatively secured.
The tail structure 41 is formed by a plurality of links 42 articulably secured together end to end by pins 43 which is rotatably attached by a pin 44 to a boss 45 extending from the back end of lower beam member 24 for up and down movement.
A spool drive 34 operatively located in the beam space 30 and control shaft 13 give movement to the neck member 51. The spool drive 34 is made up of a back spool 36 having a central through bore 36 a, a forward spool 37 having a through bore 37 a and a drive belt 38 that can be made from strong cord material and wraps around each of the spools.
The rigid neck member 51 has a pair of spaced-apart extending attachment arms 53 and 54 having bores 46 and 55, respectively, and a jaw attachment bore 50. The neck is rotatably secured at the front end of beam 22 by a pin 52 that passes through bore 46 in neck member attachment arm 53, bore 47 in beam member 23, bore 37 a in spool 37 which resides in beam space 30, bore 48 in lower beam member 24, and bore 55 in neck member attachment arm 54. The pin 52 is free to rotate in beam members 23 and 24, but fixedly secured in arms 53 and 54 and spool 37 as by keyways or other means known in the art. In this way, rotation of spool 37 in one direction causes neck member 51 to move to one side, rotation of spool 37 in the other direction causes neck member 51 to move to the other side, and back and forth rotation of spool 37 causes neck member 51 to move from side to side (see
The animation mechanisms of the invention that extend from the distal end of the control shaft 13 to the three movable components described above selectively allow the puppeteer to animate the puppet 11 in a variety of ways.
Control shaft 13 is disposed in bore 27 in lower beam member 24, the central bore 36 a of spool 36, and bore 28 in upper beam member 23. Bores 27 and 28 are sized to permit rotation of shaft 13 about its longitudinal axis, while shaft 13 is fixed within bore 36 a such that the two rotate together. Shaft 13 can be fixed in bore 36 a by a keyway or other known means for fixedly joining a shaft in a bore. Shaft 13 is thus free to rotate about its longitudinal axis in beam 22 and turn spool 36 as it does so.
As best shown in
The other ends of cords 91 and 92 are attached to control lever 88 (see
The manipulation of lever 88 causes the mouth structure 57 to open and close.
The controls 18, including levers 87 and 88 and twistable control shaft 13, permit a puppeteer to mount the dragon puppet 11 on his/her shoulder and, with subtle movement of one hand away from the puppet, cause the tail to move up and down, the head to move from side to side and the mouth to open and close in a multitude of combinations and sequences.
It is within the skill of the art to adapt motor drives to tail structure 41 and mouth structure 57 so that it is unnecessary to describe the details thereof.
It will be obvious to those skilled in the art that numerous modifications can be made in the various components described above without departing from the invention. As such, it is intended that the present invention only be limited by the terms of the appended claims.