This leans pretty hard into the absurdist, and is kind of the result of found props.

For the longest time, I looked for a backup Penguin. Again, he was a found prop, from a thrift store. One day I stuck a helmet on him and a character was born. I found a couple of different helmets the worked, some comically oversized shoes and an ammo belt. I figured he would be one of those one-and-done characters, good for a single gag. Maybe two.

But I just kept coming up with new ideas for him, and he become an important character. The trouble was, he was at base, just a vinyl statue, standing there with his wings at his side and his head turned. He couldn’t look up. He couldn’t look down. He could raise a wing or hold anything. I wanted to modify him to give him some movement, but I was afraid of accidentally damaging him in the process and losing the character completely. I desperately scoured the world looking for another penguin.

The trouble was, he was just a cheap, generic, Chinese toy, probably produced as a knock-off in the marketing frenzy that followed either the documentary film, “March of the Penguins,” or the animated “Happy Feet.” And I also found him just about the time of the big scare over lead paint in kid’s toys from China. So a lot of toys got thrown out, and the local Goodwill stores stopped carrying any toy that was old or even vaguely suspicious for a while. So I looked around on-line, trying to find a similar toy, but while there were plenty of penguins, none were as big as my guy. Finally I found a set of toy penguins on Amazon that claimed to have a 6″ emperor penguin, and happily ordered it.

The guys you see here are what I got. The big one was maybe four inches tall, not six. But I’d bought them, and I used them for this one gag, anyway. They may come back at some point. I especially like the little guy at the end.

I finally found a second big penguin, at Goodwill, after Minions at Work 2.0 had gone on hiatus. I still haven’t had the courage to try modifying it so with wings move, but it could happen.

Oh, and “Mr. Frog.” Not a clue. Another thrift store find, I think. I believe he’s intended as a finger puppet, but works perfectly as a 1/6th scale hand puppet.