Garden ornament aficionados may soon be flocking to movie theaters to see a three-dimensional, animated movie starring garden gnomes but also including the iconic plastic pink flamingo.
The flamingo designed by Don Featherstone is a member of the cast of the film Gnomeo and Juliet, due to hit theaters Feb. 11. The flick is a take-off on the classic Romeo and Juliet romance and has rival garden gnome families as the key characters.
Don Featherstone, who designed the flamingo for Union Products Inc. in 1957, attended with his wife Nancy, the film's world premiere in Hollywood late last month and was thrilled by what he saw.
I'm very happy. They did a nice job, said Featherstone, who did not want to reveal too much about the plot.
However, the film just happens to have a pink flamingo named Featherstone as one its characters. And if you watch the Touchstone Pictures trailer about the movie, you'll see the flamingo in some of the clips.
Gnomeo and Juliet was directed by Kelly Asbury, who also directed Shrek 2. The voice of the flamingo is Jim Cummings. Elton John's music is a big part of the show.
It's got great music the old classics like Crocodile Rock. His music really blends in, noted Featherstone.
Featherstone said he got a call about two years back from the production team, asking to use his name and the bird in the film. The team also obtained permission from the company that owns the licensing right, which is currently Cado Products Inc. of Fitchburg, Mass.
The animated flamingo impressed Featherstone, who recently turned 75.
They did a great job. The flamingo is mine down to the last feather, Featherston said. The only thing they did was with the eyes. They wanted bigger eyes that could turn so that they got better expressions.
He said he sculptured about 750 different products during his days at Union Products. His goose and his swan both outsold the pink flamingo, but the flamingo continues to garner the most publicity. His signature started appearing on the flamingos in 1987.
Cado President Bruce Zarozny said Disney Enterprises Inc. gained permission from HMC International LLC originally, and the agreement was carried over when Cado acquired the rights in 2009 and formed its own Union Products unit.
The film's credits will include Union Products, a division of Cado.
The injection and blow molding company is proud that the original Donald Featherstone pink flamingo will be in the movie, and has updated its packaging for the release.
It's prepared, Sarozny said, in case interest rises in the manufactured product.
It's just one of things that is neat for the community. As a company, we're hoping more retail companies jump on board. It is a great item, he said.