Introduction: Fnorgn! Making Tim Conway's Siamese Elephants



In this Carol Burnett Show outtake, Tim Conway reduces his co-stars to tears recounting the story of the Siamese Elephants. My wife loves this sketch so much that I knew I had to make her a pair of Siamese Elephants for her birthday.

Step 1: Stuffed Elephants

I bought two identical stuffed elephants to victimize for this project. They're from the "Shining Stars" line, but all I cared about was that they were small, plush, and identical. I used Audacity to edit a 14-second clip which emphasized the line, "All they could do is just blow, and go 'FNORGN!'"

Step 2: Hacking Mr. Voice

I bought a Mr. Voice online. When it arrived, I discovered that there's a reason it's so cheap -- the only thing worse than its ability to record sound is its ability to play it back. Holding the microphone up to my speakers produced a less-than-optimal recording. Finally, I tore it apart, pulled off the microphone, and wired it directly to my sound card's output jack.

I plugged a mini-Y adapter into the jack, and cut off the white RCA connector. Fortunately, this clip was from a mono source, so I wasn't losing anything by omitting the other channel. After stripping the end of the adapter, I twisted the wires together with the microphone wire, and held them in place with plastic clothespins.


Step 3: Reducing to Essentials

I bought a 4-AAA battery pack to replace the battery slots in Mr. Voice's original case. I also picked up a pack of pushbutton switches that would be easier to press when mounted to the outside of a stuffed elephant. This was the only soldering I had to do for the whole project, but it was complicated by the fact that the speaker shares a terminal with, of all things, the positive battery wire. I decided that if it worked, I should leave it alone.

I put the two colors of button on the elephant's ear to determine which color would be best, and went with red. I don't know why I even bothered -- I have a Y chromosome, so matching colors is pretty much a lost cause for me. In the end, I chose red because I thought it would be easier to see.

Step 4: Hacking an Elephant

I cut open one elephant along its belly seam, which was surprisingly hard to find. I also opened the seam along its left ear. Initially, I only opened the ear enough to thread the button through, but eventually I had to open it wider to force my fingers through and grab the thing. It turns out that pushing a circuit board and two attached components through a stuffed elephant's neck is harder than it sounds.

I shoved the speaker through until it was in the elephant's forehead.

Step 5: Sewing the Finished Product

I sewed the ear shut just enough to hold the button in place, then screwed it down with the nut and washer. From this site, I know that this is not the weirdest use ever of a surface-mounted button, but it makes the top hundred.

After tucking in the battery pack (and making sure it was turned on) and sewing the belly shut, I sewed the two elephants together at the ends of the trunks. I had planned to cut off the ends of the trunks and sew them together in a continuous seam, but I was running out of time, and had to improvise. Instead, I just stitched the ends of the trunks where they met easily when pressed together.

Step 6: Presentation Is Everything

I made the mistake of giving the siamese elephants to my wife at a loud miniature golf course on the windiest day of the year, guaranteeing that nobody could hear Mr. Voice's weak attempt to mimic Tim Conway. She had to press the elephant against her ear. Also, I discovered that the red button was still not obvious enough. In the end, though, everything worked fine.


Comments

author
xXGOOFYGIANTXx (author)2008-05-09

what does she say when they fall out of their chair?

author

@goofy239: Carol Burnett tells her that it's her turn, in the game, and Vicki Lawrence replies something along the lines of "Is that a**hole through yet?"

author
Exthero (author)marymactavish2008-06-30

You were really close, What she said was "Are you sure that little A**hole's through?" Love the skit and loved the show. also the latter "Mama's Family".

author
awawawaw (author)2008-05-10

Awesome job, my wife loves that one too!!! If you want a much better "voice recording chip" that is very easy to hack, I just found one at Family Christian stores (to personalize a Staples Easy button). They have a line of stuffies called Prayer Circle Friends that you can personalize with different prayer voice chips. One of the options allows you to record 10 seconds of your own audio. They are normally 7.99 which I thought was a good deal. After checking out I happened to notice it showed on sale at 3.99 on the receipt!! I am going back to get a few more for other projects. The audio quality is pretty good, but seems like the speaker is being a little overdriven. I am hoping the bigger speaker in the Easy button will sound much better. (that instructable will be worked on next week) Anyhow, here is the link. The recording one is called "Personalized Prayer" and is item# 1112784 and shows up in the lower right panel on the page. http://www.prayercirclefriends.com/

author
gchagaman (author)2008-04-22

carol burnett show is the greatest

author
SpinWard (author)2008-04-22

This is my all time favorite skit! Poor Dick Van Dyke, he's just helpless. Vicki Lawrence is PRICELESS!! Where's the Meringue dancing monkey!! I LOVE THIS! PLUS 100 for a great idea!

author
duck-lemon (author)2008-04-22

XD

author
GorillazMiko (author)2008-04-22

Cool! Those are cute elephant stuffed toys. :P

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