Utica Puppeteers ‘Pulling All the Strings’ on Stephen Colbert
A larger-than-life creation from Utica artisans was featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert recently.
The life-sized "pint" of ice cream was the latest piece from Geppetto Studios, a decorated puppeteering & costume shop originally from New York City that now does its business quietly out of Utica.
The costume was for a musical bit from the March 2nd episode in which Stephen Colbert reflected on the 15-year anniversary of "Americone Dream," the Ben & Jerry's flavor that bears his likeness on the package.
Geppetto Studios was formed in 1984 by Scott Molampy and William Mills, two Utica natives who tried to make a go of it in Manhattan. An early foam sculpture they constructed for a storefront caught the attention of Toy Fair, the largest toy industry trade show in the world, and they were soon making giant foam replicas to promote the new toys hitting the market.
"Hasbro, Parker Brothers, Milton Bradley – we did a lot of showrooms for them. Those skills of getting the likeness of a toy up to 100x scale, that gave us the skills to do these types of forms to this day."
Soon Geppetto was creating costumes and props for higher-profile clients, including a 20-year relationship with The Late Show with David Letterman.
Rising costs in New York City led Mills and Molampy back to the Mohawk Valley in 2016. Geppetto Studios now operates out of a building on Broad Street. Co-founder William Mills passed away in February, 2021.
For more info on Geppetto Studios' creations, check out their Facebook page.