Behind the Scenes

How'd they do that?! Well, here's some answers...


Binx the cat was made to talk and do some things no real cat would do not through magic, but through a combination of computer animation and standard animatronics. The talking shots were created by digitally removing the actual feline actor's head, and pasting the computer model over where the cat's head should be. It sounds a lot easier than it was since shots for talking animals had been previously been done in the "Mr. Ed" style of having the animal chew while an actor read the lines. Not only that, but they had to also pay close attention animating Binx's ears correctly since cats can rotate their ears almost 180°. All of the cat animations were done by Rhythm & Hues Studios.

A few scenes were also done by a animatronic cat (created by the Creature Shop, I believe). One of the scenes is actually a shot of the back of Binx's head when he is standing on Max's chest. Not extremely obvious, but not the real cat. The other scene is when Binx gets hit by the bus. No real cat could reinflate themselves, after all.

Never fear animal lovers, all of the shots that showed Binx getting grabbed, slapped, tossed, thrown, or any other form of manhandling was done with a body double stuffed cat.

The Flying Scenes

There were a couple of different types of flying scenes, actually. The first kind would be the close ups. Each of the actresses were wearing specially tailored harness for those scenes. They were then moved about manually using a large assortment of pulley systems. At some times they were hoisted as much as 14ft. above the stage floor. Definately not for those who are afraid of heights. All of the suspending wires were then digitally erased in post-production. The only real exception to this rule is Sarah's scene of her singing on her broom. She was sitting on a almost totally stationary broom in front of a "blue screen." In fact, for that shot, Disney actually used the same technique they had used for "Bedknobs and Broomsticks."

The far away shots used a variety of different techniques using extremely lifelike puppets. The one pictured to the right is the Sarah Jessica Parker puppet which was designed by (and is copyrighted to) the Creature Shop. A puppet was made for each actress and was puppeted through the Creature Shop's own WaldoŽ system. They were reletively small puppets, so only one puppeteer was required for each puppet. Below is another shot of the puppet. (for larger pictures please visit the photo gallery)

Of course, even puppets have their limits. A good example of this would be the shot to the right, created by MatteWorld. In this shot, EVERYTHING is digital. The background is completely false! This one really stumped me. I thought that maybe Salem Bay actually looked like this. A great job by the people at MatteWorld. The detail on it is amazing!

If I've left any important information out that you know of, please let me know!

Where are They Now?
Prop Name Location Confirmed
Winnie's Book Planet Hollywood, Orlando FL YES
Winnie's Book Disney-MGM Studios AFI Display
(MIA as of Jan. 2002)
Winnie's Dress / Jewelry Planet Hollywood, Orlando FL YES(MIA as of fall 2004)
Mary's Vacuum Cleaner Disney-MGM Studios AFI Display
(MIA as of Jan. 2002)
Winnie's Statue Planet Hollywood, Orlando FL YES
Sarah's Dress Planet Hollywood, St.Louis, MO
(MIA Out of Business)

Please note, the double Spell Book listing is not a misprint! On inspection, the book found at Disney-MGM is actually the one which opens that also happens to be the one without an opening eye. Because of the position of the book in the glass case at Planet Hollywood, it is impossible to determine if that one is the one with the operational eye or not. One final note; the AFI display mentioned above which contains another book and Mary's Hoover vacuum is actually billed as being a salute to transportation in the movies, which has sadly been changed to a display on wardrobe without any mention of HP.

Do you have a sighting to report? E-mail ME!

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