The Lope: Tidings of Automated Joy

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tidings of Automated Joy

Every few Christmas Seasons I feel irresistibly drawn to visit the "Falmouth house" as some locals call it - the much-decorated home of Mike Babick at 7611 Falmouth in Prairie Village, Kansas (Kansas City area). I published lots of pictures of it in 2005 and added videos in 2006.

I visited Mike (above, with Ace) again this year to record a few changes and add HD video. You can still see this attraction. Mike, a retired employee of AT&T, says he'll have the automations running through the first weekend in January. This is the 44th year for the attraction, by the way.

Here's Mike's home back in 2006. Note the many stand-up cartoon characters on the roof. Those are gone now, literally blown away by an early morning storm last December 28 at 5AM.

Mike recovered rather resourcefully, installing display cases on the roof this year.

The moon rose behind cases of animated figures. Mike is particularly proud of the fish on the right (another view). I'll have to remember the pirate on the left for next International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Mike's magnum opus is probably the garage, which he has turned into a Santa's workshop populated by a visual cacophony of elves and various forest critters.

This video clip starts in the yard and moves in to show Santa's workshop:

Here are some details:

Any workshop has to have elves.

There's a snowscape in the back of the scenario.

A canine ice cream server and, I presume, a customer, are located against the right-hand wall

Santa and Mrs. Claus rule the whole arrangement.

You can't have too many elves.

To the left of the garage is a manger, set apart from the more secular displays in both lighting and its stand-alone location.

Mike says the figures in the nativity are mannequins and that he added the motorization himself:

Every night during the Christmas season, Mike's house receives dozens - usually hundreds - of visitors.

There is so much traffic that the city of Prairie Village makes Falmouth a one-way street going by Mike's house for the duration of the Yuletide season. It even attracts tour buses.

This is a fairly complete video tour of the front of the house. It's long though - five minutes and eight seconds:

We were privileged to have a look into Mike's house as he talked about the history of his display.

A talking tree sits in the corner of the living room.

And now, some shorter videos - the frogs are another set that Mike automated himself, using stuffed animals:

He also motorized the Arabian scene:

Here are some display cases to the right side of the house, including Santa and Rudolf. I asked Mike if he knew who made the Santa and he did not:

I'll be back next year to see what Mike has added.


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