"The Really Big Dinosaur Show" was created by the same team that brought you "The Amazing Adventures of Chessie the Manatee." The giant T-Rex, Stegosaurus, and Ankylosaurus were made by Frank Lakus.
The Triceratops and other contestants to the "Miss Dino World Beauty Pageant" were created by Kathie Davis (far left.) Next to her is Helen Spaetzel who created the talking mountain and the head-bonking Pachecephelasauruses. Ptom, the high-flying Pteranodon was created by Chris Frank. The show and songs were written and staged by David Messick (far right.)
Craig T. Adams, a long time dinosaur fan created the prehistoric fish that appear in the song "Anywhere We Wanna Go."
As the show was in development, the team got to meet and then hear a fabulous lecture on the T-Rex by world famous paleontologist Dr. John Horner (far left with Helen, David, and Craig). Horner is probably best known to the general public for his work as technical consultant to Steven Spielburg's "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World." Dr. Horner's advice to writer David Messick was to make sure students seeing the show remember two things. When making a scientific statement, "make sure you have your facts straight and don't be afraid to be wrong." (David had to do some serious rewriting of the T-Rex's scenes after hearing Dr. Horner's lecture. You'll understand once you see the show.)
The show features ten new songs. And imagine the challenge of writing and then singing lyrics like this one:
"We gotta Stegosaurus, You'll meet a Chasmosaurus, Here on the Dinosaur Show. You'll hear a lovely chorus about Styracosaurus, Here on the Dinosaur Show. You know you really can't ignore us when the big Tyrannosaurus comes a-lumbering about upon the stage. And to make the folks applaud for us we bring out a diplodocus, Here on the Dinosaur Show."
It gets more difficult but if you listen carefully, you might learn something:
"The Brontosaurus is no more 'cuz now he's called Apatosaurus for the scientests all made a big mistake. They put the bones together wrong and when the right ones came along they had to give the giant guy another name."
There's also the song by Pierre the Parasaurolphus. They are the dinosaurs with the huge horn-like tube running out the back of their head. Scientests believe the horn actually may have been used for mating calls. Pierre sings a nice march tune called "Tooting My Own Horn" to demonstrate his abilities.
A Beach Boy style song called "Anywhere We Wanna Go" demonstrates that before the dinos, the world's animal life all lived in the water.
In the Miss Dino World Pageant, the Mountain sings the glories of the beautiful contestants as Pierre lets us in on the vitals. One line about the Triceratops sticks out:
"Those stone cold, beak-like lips of yours make me forget those hips of yours."
You probably won't hear that sung on the next Miss America program!
The vocal talent for the show features many Rainbow veterans. Clockwise from the far left is Tim Tharrington who provides the voice of the Mountain and, in a surprise appearance as "Bub" one of the favorite characters for many in our "Chessie" program. Tim has been appearing on stage and as a voice in practically every Rainbow Production since1981's "Hansel and Gretel" where he appeared as Hansel.
Next is Don Bartlett who plays Pierre the Parasaurolophus. He also provides the voice to that head banging champion Rocky Bonk-A-Boa.
Then there's Steve Scheffler who plays the announcer in the program as well as produced and engineered the audio tracks.
Jason Weidel plays Stan the Stegosaurus who plays fight announcer for the head-banging Pachycephalosauruses. Jason also serves as puppeteer for the program.
Frank Mailander plays Marvin the Megazostrodon. Frank has been appearing in Rainbow shows since 1981 when he played the father in Hansel and Gretel.
Next is, believe it or not, Don Dino as the T-Rex. That is REALLY his name! Don may be familiar to any of you who have visited the Disney-MGM studios in Florida where he played the director in the Indiana Jones show.
Beside Don is puppeteer Craig T. Adams who provided the voice for Adam the Ankylosaurus and Oscar De La Dino. This is the first time Craig has created voices for Rainbow but certainly not his first time voicing puppets. As founder of Fuzz and Stuffing Puppets he has created many fine programs of his own.
David Messick created the voice of Ptom the Pteranodon for this program, modeled after a turn of the century English music hall performer. In addition to writing and staging Rainbow's shows, David has created voices for television commercial characters including work for Chuck E. Cheese.
Next is Lisa and Tyler Ryan. This mother and son team play the mother and son Maiasaura in the program. Lisa also serves as music director for the show.
Finally, there's Chris Bartlett. She's Amelia the Amoebae in this program. Over the years, she and her husband Don have created voices for many Rainbow shows. They were in "Chessie," our Christmas programs, and appeared as husband and wife in "Noah." They are quite active in the Peninsula Community Theater in Newport News, Virginia.
The chart below gives you an idea of the number of puppets in the production and the amount of work that went into creating the show:
We hope you think it was worth the effort!
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