Fursuit History 2: Skin Parts

by Arrkay

Guest post by Arrkay from Culturally F’d, the furry youtube channel. See their tag on Dogpatch Press for more.

It’s #FursuitFriday which means twitter floods with pictures of our fluffy creations. It’s also the time for us at Culturally F’d and Dogpatch to look back at some Fursuit History. Make sure to catch up on Part 1: Masks and start your own exploration of animal costume performance with Culturally F’d.

Actual true fact: Fursuit History was inspired by a series of articles right here on Dogpatch! Below are the original posts about Pantomime Animals that Patch and Fred graciously let us adapt to script! Once we had that started, it had us thinking “why not a full history of animal costume?” Next thing you know it’s a whole planned multi-part series that we’ve been concocting since the release of these original posts:

If there was a Museum of Furry, theatrical “Panto-Animals” would be a major exhibit.

Theatrical Panto-animals, Part 2: Feedback, history and sources roundup.

Theatrical Panto-animals, Part 3: History book reviews by Fred Patten.

Additional research for the episode narrowed down 3 fursuit pioneers of the era: Charles Lauri, who sees a spotlight in the video, and also the heavily photographed Fred Conquest, and Fred Whittaker. Of course these are only the most photographed, there were many animal acrobats and actors at the time in a tradition of stage costume that continues today.

On the next Fursuit History we’ll be looking into the next logical media of animal performance: FILM! From sci-fi giants like Godzilla, to horror classics like The Wolf Man and Creature From the Black Lagoon to childhood fantasies like The Cowardly Lion, we look at the development of special effect makeup, prosthetics and the fursuits of the cinema!


Further Reading and References:

“Weird and Wonderful World of Panto-Animals” includes an excellent photo gallery.

It’s Behind You: Panto-Animals photo gallery – from Shakespeare to Mother Goose plays, 1909-1980’s.

It’s Behind You: Fact Sheets on classic Panto plays – including stories and photos.

Nigel Ellacott’s blog: Cat and Rat costumes

A History of Pantomime, by Maureen Hughes on Google books

Video Sources:

Monty Python pantomime horse sketch

Pantomime horse race in aid of CLIC Sargent

London Pantomime Horse Race 2017

The Pantomime Horse (Dance training)

Pantomime Elephant and Clown

And of course, used with permission Room 366 Prequel by EZ Wolf

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