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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Before CGI: David Bowie in Labyrinth

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CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Credit: TriStar Pictures)

It may surprise you, but David Bowie is not, in fact, a consummate contact juggler. Watch the off-screen juggling trickery behind Jareth's nimble hands in the 1986 film Labyrinth.

Skills like Jareth's crystal-twirling aren't developed in a day. Michael Moschen has been juggling since at least 1973 — which means that he had at least 12 or 13 years experience when he was hired to act as Jareth's hands in Jim Henson's 1986 film Labyrinth.

If it was made today, we imagine the scenes in which the goblin king manipulates multiple crystal balls would have been constructed using computer-generated imagery, but in 1985-1986, such tools were unavailable. Instead, Moschen stood behind Bowie, his arm tucked under Bowie's arm, and juggled one-handed and blind.

It's certainly not as easy as it looks in the final cut of the film, either. Watch the behind-the-scenes video below, and visit The Jim Henson Company YouTube channel for more fascinating behind-the-scenes video, including: the mechanics behind the face of Hoggle, how the helping hands were built and a very young Jennifer Connelly's audition.


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thesorehead posted a comment   

It's stuff like this (and a pathetically optimistic pricepoint for digitally distributed stuff) that keeps me buying my movies on DVD/BRD. Not every movie has worthwhile DVD extras but Labyrinth's extra features were definitely worth the watch.

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