No, that's not the effects of too much champagne -- a 24 foot by 16 foot Father Time did really pass through the Times Square crowds at approximately 10:40 PM Dec. 31 during the New Year's festivities.
Michael Curry, the co-designer of the The Lion King 's masks and puppets, has created this giant puppet which wears a long white gown with silver highlights and carries an illuminated hourglass. Eight puppeteers dressed in white jump suits with star motifs will control the mobile puppet whose pieces each move separately.
Curry found Father Time the perfect symbol for Times Square's first year end puppet. "Father Time has this wonderful mystical quality and instant recognition," he told Playbill On-Line. "Everyone knows who Father Time is."
Curry hopes that this puppet will help broaden the Times Square New Year's experience to include visual elements aside from lights and confetti.
Father Time is also a test model for what may be a virtual parade of puppets for the turn of the millennium. Curry has already begun designs for puppets for the year 2000, which will pinpoint specific geographical areas in a massive cross-cultural theme (though, technically, and despite the many planned celebrations, the new millennium does not begin until Jan. 1, 2001--the year 2000 is merely the last year of the present millennium). Curry, who specializes in "epic performances," welcomed the chance to show off this piece for a projected five million people. Big crowds are something he's used to, having designed for the opening ceremony for the Olympics in Atlanta and most of the puppets used in the Walt Disney theme parks.
-- By Christine Ehren