Toonarific Interview – Gordon G.

Originally posted: 4-15-2004

Voice of Edgar on Vegetable Soup’s Outerscope segment

Here is a small interview that our good friend Jude Barnes managed to get with Gordon G., the voice of Edgar on Outerscope ( from the Vegetable Soup series).

How did you get involved in OUTERSCOPE?
Let’s see, what can I tell you…a friend of my mother’s, who lives in Philly, was a puppeteer. She stayed with us in New York for a few weeks while they were filming the first episodes. She showed me her puppet (Henry’s older sister?), and how one hand worked the head and mouth, the other slipped into the puppet’s right hand – the left lay limp (I did find the largeness of hands a little off-putting). I asked who was doing the voices, she said they were holding auditions soon and would I like to try out – I did, and got the part. I think I was the type they were looking for, most of the other people at the audition that day were adults trying to pass as kids (when I later saw the show, I didn’t think I was very good, but I really never saw that many episodes). .
Were you the voice, the hands, or just the voice? Can you tell me any funny/interesting stories about the puppets/voices?
Just the voice, for the most part. First of all, the voice of the little boy Henry was played by Andrea McArdle, who later was the original Annie on Broadway. On the set, we had about 5 recording sessions at a studio of the five kids together over the course of some months. I was 13 or 14 years old and the rest were younger, maybe 9 or 10, and they all had stage mothers. Here’s the funny part: Everybody looked like their puppet! A black kid was Willie, a Hispanic girl was the Hispanic girl, an Irish girl was the older sister, and I was the skeptical white kid. I don’t remember who or how they did the other character voices. The director might have done some. In fact, he recorded all the voices himself for the first round of filming, so our first recording session took some time because we had to match the timings already filmed. I was more interested in the filming part, and would go after school to watch them shoot. I distinctly remember the puppet faces because of all the time I spent at the filming, and because it so amused me how much everybody looked like their puppets. I don’t remember any of their names. The guy that played Willy always did have a stuffed nose, even though the taping sessions were months apart.
Where was Outerscope filmed? What were the sets like?
New York, They worked in a loft downtown, and built one set (planet) at a time. What we would record (voices) in an afternoon, took about 2-3 weeks to shoot. The sets were up in the air so the puppeteers could be standing and moving around between. They would playback the audio, and lip-sync the puppets to the recording. I was there so much that they started letting me do stuff – run the playback, clap the slate, and eventually some puppeteering when they didn’t have enough hands. I remember once this cat had to run across the set and then jump forward through a bush and do something – all in one shot. We did it with two cats: one was on two sticks for the running (I think I did that), and then the other was a hand puppet. I remember filming a shot where Cynthia(?) had to catch a flashlight. Have you seen this shot? It was filmed backwards, that is you flip the camera upside and do the action backwards (this is before the digital age – it was shot on 16mm film, and probably edited on a steenbeck, but I digress). Oh yeah, one more thing…to make the bubbling rocket engine, they used baking soda and vinegar.
What made you think of getting some episodes of vegetable soup?
Like everybody who was a fan of the show, I would mention it to people, and nobody ever heard of it. I was visiting in Philadelphia over the holidays, got thinking about it again, did a google search, waded through all the soup recipes, found yesterdayland and you. I hadn’t thought about Vegetable Soup for so long, but it’s coming back as I read about it.
What do you do now?
I work now as a film and video editor. I’m mostly in NYC editing independent projects: features, documentaries, shorts, corporate, and a little TV.
A nice little bit of information for all those VS and Outerscope fans out there! Kinda groovy!