Centipede character puppet from the 1996 Disney animation film 'James and the Giant Peach'

1996 in San Francisco
The Walt Disney Company
Centipede character puppet (made from spare parts) from the

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Centipede character puppet (made from spare parts) from the
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Centipede character puppet (made from spare parts) from the 1996 Disney stop-motion animation film James and the Giant Peach produced by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick.

The character of Centipede was voiced by American actor Richard Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss is best known for playing the marine biologist Matt Hooper in the Steven Spielberg film Jaws (1975).

To give the impression of fluid and believable movement the puppet was incrementally moved between each frame of film footage recorded. There are 24 frames per one second of the finished film. One minute of the finished film could take over a week to film.

Centipede had movable joints in the face rather than replacement pieces to create the effect of the character’s changing facial features and speech. It had one of the most complex faces ever seen in stop motion. The puppet has the most moving parts of all the James and the Giant Peach characters, at around 240.

James and Giant Peach was made by Walt Disney, Allied Filmmakers and Skellington Productions in the Skellington Productions studio, San Fransisco. The film is based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name, released in 1961. The directors Tim Burton and Henry Selick filmed the production over 20 stages, taking three years.


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Overall: 350 mm x 180 mm x 130 mm, .36 kg