The Hugo Automaton is Real!

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Magic Newswire » 12/12/11 11:00 AM

Dick George recently posted a video detailing the creation of the Hugo automaton which actually functions as shown in the film:

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Postby Richard Hatch » 12/12/11 02:28 PM

Wow, that was cool. Wonder why they went to a "prop maker" rather than someone like John Gaughan with extensive prior experience making such things?
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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/12/11 03:48 PM

It could be as simple as production tax breaks in the UK required that they use UK vendors. Or they had already worked with Dick George, and he was a known entity.
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Postby Brian Hebert » 12/12/11 04:02 PM

Or the guys' team is brilliant. That was absolutely amazing. They made this from scratch.
Has John Gaughan developed his own automatons? Does he build them for other magicians around the world?
Always wanted to know that.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 12/12/11 06:38 PM

for those who haven't had someone post this on your facebook wall:
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Postby Steve Hook » 12/13/11 01:45 AM

Interesting! Thanks, Dodd.
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Postby Craig Dickens » 12/13/11 09:14 PM

Well.... not really. It works, just not as depicted. Read this-

Hugo's Real Work
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/14/11 12:16 AM

The actual method is quite clever!
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Postby Magic Newswire » 12/14/11 12:37 AM

I can always count on Brad.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 12/14/11 02:12 AM

isn't it always best to go to the source?

for more information (above and beyond what was sent to every magician's facebook page by everyone who knows they had an interest in magic) check out: ... Post257102

Those in Scotland, particularly, take note. Kudos to Dug North for providing some real news.
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Postby fkaps1 » 12/14/11 10:24 PM

If you want to see the real thing, youwill need to come to Philadelphia. The actual automaton that inspried Brian Selznick's book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, has been restored to working condition and is part of the collection at The Franklin Institute. It was built in 1810 by Henri Maillardet and executes four drawings and three poems. They had a special preview of the movie there (where they gave out some great swag, including decks fo cards) and had the automaton on display. You can Google to find the automaton and there are a few videos posted of it.

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Postby Magic Newswire » 12/15/11 02:14 AM


For what it is worth, I found this all on my own. Hard to imagine that anyone could do so without any outside help, I know, but maybe you're a heavy Facebook user where I am not. Mr George even sent me a message thanking me for posting it:

"Many thanks for your post on the automaton we created for Hugo, many people think the mechanical man was only vfx!"

You should start a site of your own Brad!! I'm sure that you know everything that I share here before I post it! I am sure that you'd do a much better job of publishing a free magic news site than I will ever do! Good Luck! Break a leg! In the meanwhile, I'll be over here in my little corner doing my best to deliver free content to anyone that is interested. I hope that you all enjoy it.

Oh... and for any of those of you that do find my site to be informative, watch for an upcoming podcast with Dick George, the Hugo Automaton creator and with Paul Kieve, the magic consultant on this film.

While I am at it, I hope that everyone has a wonderful and magical holiday!
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Postby Jim Riser » 12/15/11 04:02 AM

To see the automaton in Philadelphia at the Franklin Institute ...
click here:

Being interested in such items, I took a few photos. Enjoy.
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Postby Magic Newswire » 12/15/11 06:41 AM

Thanks for sharing that Jim!

Very cool!
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Postby Dug North » 12/15/11 08:58 PM

Beautiful photos, Jim! I have some of the Maillardet automaton too. The good news: I didn't have glass between me and the piece. The bad news: I'm not a great photographer, my camera was old, and I was trying to do too many things at once.

Thanks for sharing those!
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