The original Transformers, known worldwide now as “G1 Transformers“, ran on television from 1984 through 1988. Longtime fans of that era remember the “fifth” season of the show in 1988, which was simply a re-airing of classic episodes as well as the 1986 animated movie cut up in to parts. The “new” pieces to the show involved new narration from both Optimus Prime and his human friend Tommy Kennedy, played by Jason Jansen (aka Jason Jankowski) and a constructed live-action Powermaster Optimus Prime “puppet”, of which the character Tommy would interact with in various ways.
The “puppet” of Optimus Prime was operated by a number of stage hands who would move the head, move fingers on the hand – essentially controlling every aspect of the “puppet” as recordings of Peter Cullen would play, to which Tommy would speak with.
Now, a 30 minute plus video from Jason Jankowski has been uploaded to Vimeo showcasing the filming of many of those live-action scenes. We’re gifted with some practice runs with the “puppet” and “Tommy” before the Optimus Prime was totally finished, as well as the filming of some of the final scenes shown in the episodes, promotions, and commercials.