Puppeteering at Elstree Studio in London

Principal live-action filming was done at Elstree Studio in Borehamwood, near London.  It was a 20-minute trip by rail from St. Pancras Station.  The producers initially budgeted for one puppeteer to be on set for several days.  Instead, a core crew of seven puppeteers were on set for the whole of the 3½-month shoot.  Seventeen puppeteers were used in the most complicated shots.

Mike Quinn with Bob HoskinsNot only did the puppeteers move props with wires and gimbaled rods, they manipulated props and the actors’ faces and clothing whenever a toon was to be shown contacting the actor.  The photo to the right shows Mike Quinn making the motion for Roger Rabbit under Bob Hoskins’ trenchcoat.


The chief puppeteer was Dave Barclay.  He and long-time colleague, Mike Quinn, assembled the Puppeteer crew.  Barclay and Quinn worked together on The Little Shop of Horrors (1986) as Audrey’s lips – Audrey was the immense flesh-eating plant.  Barclay was Audrey’s lower lip and Quinn was Audrey’s upper lip.Puppeteer Crew