Follow TV Tropes

Following

Pantomime Animal

Go To

Nowhere did I describe it as a four-legged beast on loan from Panto-Horses-Are-Us.
Johnny Byrne, scriptwriter for Doctor Who, "Warriors of the Deep"

A non-talking animal played by a human actor wearing an animal suit. Larger quadrupeds such as horses may require two actors. Though pantomime animals don't talk (at least, they're not supposed to talk), they may make appropriate animal noises on cue and often can dance as well - pantomime is a highly stylised, non-realistic theatre form where Rule of Funny is common. Avoids all the hassle of working with real live animals although sometimes real animals, usually ponies, appear briefly for the effect. Children or dwarfs, on the other hand, may be needed to play smaller creatures.

Advertisement:

See also People in Rubber Suits. A human version of this would be Totem Pole Trench; some inhuman versions include The Worm That Walks and Combining Mecha.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

In-universe examples

    Comics 
  • A Far Side comic has two pantomime actors arguing. One (whose ass is a good three or four times wider than him) demands to know why he's always the rear end of the horse.
    Film - Animated 
  • Pain and Panic briefly dressed up as a female Pegasus near the end of Hercules, with the two forming the individual halves of the Pegasus.
    • Those two do this sort of trick quite often. One time they attempted to do a huge lion, and ended up getting confused on who was doing which half.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: One of the costumes worn at the Feast of Fools is a horse with two rear ends.
  • Shows up at the Mardi Gras party in The Princess and the Frog.
  • In Sherlock Gnomes, Sherlock and Juliet disguise themselves as a squirrel so they can move about a park in daylight.
    Film - Live Action 
  • Played with in Snow White and the Huntsman. At one point when the dwarves are sneaking into the castle they walk on the other side of a horse that's between them and the guards.
  • The two rebels disguised as a cow in Top Secret!, probably the funniest gag in the movie. One insists on playing the rear end, causing his compatriot to gripe, "Fine, be an asshole!"
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen actually did this with an ice cream truck.
  • The Pink Panther has two police inspectors undercover in a zebra costume at the costume party meant to ensnare the Phantom. When the Phantom and his nephew make a break for it, they gallop down the street...while everyone else in the chase is in a car.
Advertisement:
    Live Action TV 
  • The Wolf mascot from A.N.T. Farm.
  • Call the Midwife: In the series 7 Christmas Episode, Trixie and Christopher appear as a pantomime cow when the much-delayed Christmas pantomime is finally stage. Trixie complains that she went to all the trouble of getting her hair done and a manicure when no one can see her.
  • Dad's Army: In "Operation Kilt", the platoon attempts to use a pantomime cow to sneak up on a highland regiment during a training exercise. Things do not according to plan when a bull takes an interest.
  • In a Dave Allen at Large sketch, a German POW camp guard searches the cargo and even the straw in an outgoing wagon thoroughly, to make sure there are no prisoners hiding inside. Not finding anyone, the guard waves the wagon through the gate, failing to notice that it's being pulled by a pantomime horse.
  • Father Brown: In "The Tree of Truth", Father Brown and Sid play the Daisy the Cow in the Cristmas pantomime.
  • (ding-dong) WHO'S THAT AT THE DOOR?!? Secretariat on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
  • Parodied with the pantomime horses in Monty Python's Flying Circus. To say nothing of the pantomime Princess Margaret.
  • Buttercup the QI cow made an appearance at the beginning of the "Groovy" episode to help demonstrate the first question.
    Stephen: Never, ever in the history of show business has the phrase "Don't milk it, Luv," been more appropriate.
  • Dobbin the Pantomime Horse in 1980s BBC kids' show Rentaghost, supposedly an empty costume animated by a misfiring magic spell.
    Music Videos 
  • The music video for Sorry for Party Rocking by LMFAO features a pantomime zebra performing the Running Man.
    Theatre 
    Webcomics 
    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-1545, Larry the Loving Llama. Once people get inside the costume, they adopt the personality of Larry, and the person in the back starts dancing with the intention of entertaining people, never stopping until the people inside die or are forcefully removed.
Advertisement:

Examples of a real-in-universe creature being portrayed using this method:

    Film - Live Action 
    Live Action TV 
  • Sesame Street has Barkley the dog.
  • In the Doctor Who serial "Warriors of the Deep", the Myrka, a genetically engineered sea monster, is played by two guysnote  in a costume approximating to a green pantomime horse. It... doesn't really work. Michael Grade would later screen footage of a scene involving the Myrka to justify his axing of the series.
  • Blake's 7. Bryan the Spider from "The Harvest of Kairos". The actor operated the Giant Spider by sitting in the costume backwards, operating the front legs with his feet. Unfortunately this resulted in a very slow walk.
    Theatre 
    Theme Parks 
  • The Disney cast members in character costumes who roam the park aren't supposed to speak, so they pantomime everything they want to communicate. Note that this doesn't include "face characters", like Alice or Snow White, who aren't wearing anything over their heads. Or the newest model of Mickey, who has some elaborate mechanisms that allow him to speak.
  • Patty Maloney and Pat Cooper once performed at state fairs costumed as Rocky and Bullwinkle, respectively.
    Western Animation 
  • George the horse in the Spongebob Squarepants episode "I Had an Accident," who shows up at the end to ride into the sunset with the gorilla when Spongebob questions how a gorilla is underwater in the first place.

Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback