Building Zoltar by Hand
Everyone loves the all-knowing animatronic fortune-telling machine that has made iconic appearances in hundreds of locations and in homes around the world. Zoltar inspires nostalgia for many who encounter him. Olaf Stanton and his team at Characters Unlimited build every Zoltar by hand in his shop in Boulder City, Nevada. Here's how the magic comes together.
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In the News
July 24, 2019For more than five years, Liberty Mutual has been known for its ads with the Statue of Liberty in the background—but that hasn’t always been a good thing. The campaign, officially called “Truth Tellers,” has traditionally been bland at best and grating at worst (as illustrated by the internet’s oddly intense backlash against the 2016 ad featuring a woman who named her car “Brad”).
August 18, 2017When you need a fortuneteller or other kitschy animatronic figure to advertise your business, Characters Unlimited has you covered. Editor's note: This tour of small businesses across the country highlights the imagination, diversity, and resilience of American enterprise. What do Donald Trump, Ghost Adventures host Zak Bagans, and Ron Jeremy have in common?
February 12, 2017In this fantasia of fake eyeballs and talking sheep, the face of the president rests in triplicate on a nearby workbench. “You might recognize this guy,” Olaf Stanton says, gesturing toward a trio of Donald Trump likenesses, spot-on facsimiles with a vaguely sour look. In a showroom a few feet away, a full-scale commander in chief stands, complete with signature red hat...
January 14, 2017Headed for the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, “Pappy’s Remember Zoltar—the fortune-telling machine from the movie “Big”? Well there are hundreds of Zoltar machines across the country, but only one shop that makes them. Olaf Stanton and his team at Characters Unlimited build every Zoltar by hand out of their studio in Boulder City, Nevada. Here's how the magic comes together...
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