It's always easy to spot a Labyrinth fan. Drop a casual "You remind me of..." in the middle of a conversation, and it should go from there ("...the babe," by the way). And with the semi-recent passing of David Bowie, there have been more converts than ever to the faith of the Goblin King. But whether you're a long-time fan or new to the clan, you'll enjoy this list of 13 Labyrinth trivia facts in honor of the film's 30th birthday. Why 13? Think about it. I'll give you some...time.
1. Talk Magic, Talk!
In the song "Magic Dance," David Bowie had to provide the gurgling giggles meant to be spoken (?) by the babe, Toby. How did Bowie sound so convincingly like a baby? The world will never know.
2. Speaking Of The Babe...
Sarah's little brother, Toby, was played by Toby Froud--the real-life son of Brian Froud, the film's conceptual designer. He would only respond to his own name, which is why the character's name was changed from Freddie (from the original script) to Toby.
3. A Room With A View
For the sharp-eyed viewer, the little time we spend in Sarah's room at the beginning of the film is filled with Easter eggs. From the M.C. Escher print on her wall to the wooden ball maze, her room is filled with objects that foreshadow characters and settings to come later in the film.
4. Mommy Dearest!
Let's face it: Sarah is kind of a brat at the beginning of the movie. However, there seems to be a deeper reason than just the fact she's a teenager. Her bedroom holds clues: a scrapbook filled with newspaper clippings and photos around her mirror suggest that her mom was a Broadway actress who ran off with her leading man (who looks suspiciously like David Bowie...). This may explain Sarah's knack for acting/dress-up, and her animosity towards her stepmom.
5. Owl Tell You Another Thing
That owl? You know the one I'm talking about--not the real-life barn owl, but the crappy-CGI owl fluttering about during the opening credits? You may not laugh at it as much when you find out it actually the first photo-realistic CGI animal ever created for film. In 1986. Put it in perspective, and it's pretty impressive.
6. Lost In Transit
Actually, though. The costume/puppet hybrid that made up the character Hoggle was lost in transit, and ended up for sale at Alabama's Unclaimed Baggage Center. Luckily, someone realized what it was, and it's now on display for everyone to enjoy.
7. Feat Of Strength
Being a Jim Henson movie, there were over 100 puppets made for Labyrinth. They include the two-ton "gate guard" (possibly one of the largest film puppets ever), and lovable Ludo. The Ludo costume/puppet weighed so much that it took two puppeteers to operate, and there was a camera hidden in one of the horns for the man inside.
8. I've Seen His Face Before
David Bowie's face is everywhere in the movie (provided you can look away from other parts of him, ahem). Variations of his visage are hidden in many of the wide shots, creating the eerie feeling that he's watching Sarah's every move.
No, not those ones! I mean the magic bal--never mind, forget it. Anyway, Jareth's entrancing crystal orbs were not controlled by David Bowie, but by the contact juggler Michael Moschen. He had to control the spheres blind, hidden by Bowie's costume. Bowie took a perverse pleasure in messing things up, much to Moschen's annoyance.
10. We Have To Talk About The Fireys.
What's up with those guys? Nobody really knows. But it is interesting to know that the sequence was not filmed using green screen. Instead, puppeteers donned all black, acting out the Fireys dance against a black background. The forest setting was then matted into the film, leading to an awkward, but sort-of-technically-impressive-for-1986 scene.
11. Unique, Like Everyone Else
Brian Froud (the conceptual designer) actually created a book that provides details about most of the film's goblins, revealing the huge amount of thought and detail that went into making the movie. And all the goblins have names, from Aelth to Agnes.
12. Supplemental Reading
And if your thirst for Labyrinth reading material has not been slaked, why don't you check out the manga? Yep, that exists. Return to Labyrinth was released between 2006 and 2010 in four parts. It centers on a teenage Toby, whose life has never been quite normal after returning from the labyrinth.
13. Some Modern Relevance
Duncan Jones, director of recently-released Warcraft and son of the late, great David Bowie, has stated that visiting the Labyrinth set as a child sparked in him a love of film making.
So there you have it! 13 trivia facts you didn't know about this gloriously glittery film. And I didn't even mention the bulge!