Summary

Puppet head designed and made by Melbourne sculptor and puppeteer Richard Mueck. It was designed to be used with a simple body dressed in regular full sized clothing.

It depicts a caricatural representation of the former Geelong AFL Football player and media personality John `Sam' Newman.

It was used several times on `The Footy Show', filmed at the studios of GTV Channel 9 in Bendigo Street, Richmond, including the 1995 Grand Final Show. It was also used by Newman during a show filmed in Hobart in 1997, for a `two headed' visual gag.

Physical Description

Life size puppet head, depicting a caricatural representation of a man. moulded from latex and realistically painted. It has glass eyes inserted into the eye sockets.

Significance

This puppet head is significant due to its links to television production in Melbourne, specifically Channel Nine's 'The Footy Show', produced until 2010 at its studios in Bendigo Street, Richmond. It is one in a long line of sports related programs produced locally by the ABC and the commercial stations, which sit alongside their telecasts of actually sporting events. Programs such as Channel 7's 'World of Sport' and Channel 9's 'Wide World of Sport' have mixed serious sports discussion with comedy and variety show elements. 'The Footy Show' premiered in 1994, with it's content focused squarely on AFL Football, featuring a panel of football identities performing live in front of a studio audience. Each year is concluded with a large scale 'Grand Final Show', which have become so large that they are now held at the Tennis Centre. This head was made for the 1995 edition, and used occasionally during the following few years.

It is also significant due to it representing Melbourne sporting and media personality John 'Sam' Newman. Born in Geelong in 1945, and attending Geelong Grammar, he debuted for the Geelong Football Club in 1964. He played 300 games for them, and retired in 1980. He them began a career in the media, as a sporting commentator, appearing on radio station 3AW and Channel 7's 'World of Sport'. In 1994, he joined the cast of the debuting 'The Footy Show' on Channel 9, and has appeared on it ever since (as at October 2011.)

It is also significant as an example of the work of Melbourne sculptor and puppeteer Richard Mueck. Mueck has had a long and varied career producing and operating puppets on stage and on screen. These include films such as 'Inspector Gadget', 'George of the Jungle', 'Babe', 'Peter Pan', 'Nim's Island', 'Scooby Doo' and Star Wars Episode III (Mueck made the Mon Calamari character masks, amongst other things), as well as the 'Walking with Dinosaur' stage productions. Mueck has been the head puppeteer at John Cox's Creature Workshop in Brisbane for over ten years. His brother, Ron Mueck, is a well known sculpture, working out of the United Kingdom.

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