I Wish My Skin Looked That Good!
YES - HE IS A ROBOT
The multi-colored building across the street from the Prime Osborn Convention Center had often intrigued me but I had decided that it must be some sort of beauty products business, so I never really gave it much more thought—until a friend told me that the business gave free tours of their facility. Always casting about for some place to visit on my mystery tour days, I called The Sally Corporation to make a reservation, still not entirely sure what we were getting into. But I figured this way the visit would be a mystery to both of us!
Our tour group was about 35 strong including 6 young children. Only kids over 7 years are allowed on these tours because of the chemical materials used, the vulnerable spaces to attract prying little fingers, and the scary things on display. These tours are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays about 4 times each day.
What a wonderfully delightful surprise awaited us! Sally Corporation creates robotic figures, particularly for theme park rides. They have installations at many Six Flag Parks, Legolands, Carowinds, and Universal Studios. There are none at Disney which does its own such things.
At present they are working on a ride that will include the Joker of Batman fame for Universal. We were taken to see one of the figures of this mad villain as he sat astride a gun caisson threatening all comers with annihilation. The figure was very real-looking and it was able to talk (make threats) move his facial features, head, arms and legs. Very realistic. The kids were entranced and excited.
We were taken through the various offices which produced the art work necessary to realize the robotic creations, the place where molds were taken to create life-size, or even larger figures, places where hair, fur, feathers or costumes were added to the figures, and where the voices were created. We saw the figure of a huge bear who talked, moved his head, ears, eyebrows, front legs, and he even sang "Some Enchanted Evening" in the voice of Ezio Pinza. We were treated to a view of the head of a tremendous Tyrannosaurus Rex who moved his head, his tiny front legs, opened his eyes and mouth, and produced prodigious roars.
But the very best figure of all to us was a life-sized figure of Viracoche, the Peruvian God of Creation. He is destined to host a new museum in Lima which will house ancient Incan artefacts, fabrics, weapons, objects of worship and other antiquities found in Peru. Why was he so special? First of all, he moved just like a real human being making a speech. He held in his hand an emblem of his divine power which he was able to move up and down. His legs moved up and back on his podium, his eyes blinked and moved, his voice boomed out as he discussed his creation of the Incan world.
But what was most amazing was his skin! It looked so real that it was absolutely uncanny to see and it was beautiful—after all he was a divinity to the Peruvians. We had been told earlier about how the studio produces such lifelike skin—using silicon and other chemicals. In answer to our questions about whether or not they produce prosthetic devices for real human beings, we were told that they worked strictly on fantasy items—to create adventure rides and such experiences. What a shame we said—such beautiful artificial skin could be used to cover prosthetic arms, hands, legs, even creating ears and noses!
This picture of Viracoche will convince you too that this artificial skin is truly a miracle of imagination and science. This tour is definitely worth taking even if you don't care about "dark rides" in theme parks—just to see the creativity and artistic skills at work in the Sally Corporation!
FREE and kid friendly tour for those over 7 years of age. No exceptions. Be aware the tour lasts almost an hour and requires a lot of standing.