- “I'm Waldo, the spirit of 3D!”
- ―Waldo introducing himself
Waldo C. Graphic is a computer-generated puppet character who appears in the attraction Muppet Vision 3-D and also appeared in the TV series The Jim Henson Hour.
He is noted for being the first computer-generated Muppet and probably the first digital puppet created by any company.
The character of Waldo is best described as a cross between a bug and a seal, with random elements of either thrown in. He flies and hovers in his scenes. His first name is a reference to a "Waldo"—a device used by puppeteers to remotely control a puppet. His middle initial likely stands for "Computer", as in "Waldo Computer Graphic".
Although he appeared as a computer-generated image, Waldo was not "animated" in the usual sense, but performed live; his image was generated in real time in synchronization with a physical Waldo-puppet connected to the computer and controlled by a puppeteer, with the image then being composited using bluescreen technology onto the scene Waldo was part of. Since the Muppets began on television, it has always been a standard technique for Muppeteers to perform by watching the characters on a monitor screen rather than by watching the puppet itself, so this arrangement required little adjustment either for the puppeteer performing Waldo or for the puppeteers performing the characters he interacted with. Since Waldo is a computer graphic, he has the ability to change his shape and form at will.
Role in Muppet*Vision 3D
Throughout the attraction, Waldo was first seen when Kermit enters the Muppet Labs where Bunsen tells the audience about the 3D effect where he explains that he is the "spirit of 3D". While looking at the audience where he ends up causing mayhem in the lab (also triggering the light effects showing images of Waldo inside the theater) to which Bunsen tells Beaker to try the Muppet Vacuum which absorbs all the Waldo clones except one who is free. After escaping, he transforms into a taxi.
After Miss Piggy's musical sequence is ruined by Bean Bunny, Waldo arrives towards Bean who tells him if there is any way to escape. Soon as Waldo (as a sack and a stick) leaves with Bean, Gonzo tries to convince him to participate but refuses to.
Soon as Bean is found in one of the theater's balconies, Gonzo tells Bean that he will miss all the fireworks to which Waldo gets interested into Bean's idea as he decides to help the finale sequence. In the finale sequence, Waldo ends up causing havoc in the film by knocking over a tuba-playing toy soldier which ends him with the tuba stuck in his head as he continuously bumps into other soldiers while Sam tells Bean to light the fireworks to which Waldo ultimately ruins the film while Sweetums tells the Swedish Chef to stop the movie. When Sweetums tells the audience to duck, Waldo transforms into an actual duck to which he tells the audience to duck, not Waldo. Soon as the penguins fire their cannon, the film ends up getting destroyed. The Chef angrily then prepares to take him out by firing at him. After dodging several shots, Waldo ends up getting worried that the Chef has a cannon as Waldo retreats as the Chef fires a big blast, causing damage across the theater to which Kermit explains that no one is injured during the show. Waldo last appears at the end of the attraction where he transforms into Mickey Mouse before getting sucked in.
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