John Birkinshaw AKA "Mother"

leading from
Bolaji Badejo in his costume with costumier John Birkinshaw AKA "Mother"

a) Mother, bearer of the tail

Tom Skerrit remembered a moment when he came late to lunch, and the huge stage doors would open and out of the sound stage came the crew and Bolaji wearing his alien monster suit without the head and on his feet were his bright blue Adidas shoes. He was almost seven feet tall and walking talking to a wardrobe mistress who was only about five foot tall but an interesting person, and they were really have a conversation, perhaps they were talking politcs, and they walked along, he with his arm around her, and there behind him carrying the tail was a very flamboyant make wardrobe assistant known as Mother, wearing a white ascot scarf that was blowing in the wind behind him. If Tom Skerrit had a camera with him, he would have loved to have taken a photograph of that and he was sure that people would be paying a lot of money to see it.

Source quotes
  1. Tom Skerritt: l came to work one day right at lunch break, so the big doors were open and out of the sound stage came the crew and the alien monster, still in his suit, with the head off, thin as a nail. He's walking with the wardrobe lady, who's five feet. And they're talking politics or whatever, a very intense conversation, as they walk. And he's got these tennis shoes on that are bright blue, Adidas. And the tail is being carried by another wardrobe guy, who was a rather flamboyant guy who had this white ascot blowing in the wind. lt was one of those... l wish l could have photographed that one. (Alien Quadrilogy documentary)
  2. Tom Skerritt: Just to throw in a little bit about the Alien, Bolaji, with whom I spent a lot (about some?) time. I would say a very bright guy… They're not going in to something like that. But in any case, I came late to lunch, after lunch, just as they broke to lunch, to work in that afternoon and the doors, these huge stage doors would open, and out he came out, he came out with his... everything on except for the head. And he’s seven feet, and he was talking to a five-foot one wardrobe mistress, and they were really having a conversation.  The wardrobe lady was (very interesting?), so obviously, they were talking about something very profound. And he’s got this outfit on, he's got his arm around her talking to her like this as they walking along, and he’s wearing very bright blue Adidas tennis shoes. And his tail’s being carried by a very flamboyant er, wardrobe assistant, 

    Veronica Cartwright: Mother .

    Tom Skerritt: and...

    Veronica Cartwright: He's called Mother .

    Tom Skerritt: ... he had a white scarf on. And the wind was blowing so its , and I just wish I had a photo of this, this guy's talking to a five foot woman, this scarf is flying out behind this guy who’s holding... carrying the tail. It was… if I had that photograph you’d all be paying a lot of money for that.(youtube: Alien Panel Discussion With Tom Skerritt & Veronica Cartwright)

b) Mother of all KY jelly tubes

When they were doing the scene where the alien comes and gets Lambert played by Veronica Cartwright, the alien has a lot of good pouring from its mouth and they used KY Jelly, it was very much in fashion at the time.  Mother was known for his abilities as a fabulous dresser  Ridley was shouting " we need some more glue, there needs to be more glistening. " They needed someone to make the creature all shiny because it had all of this KY in its mouth and a test shot had to be done, Mother was put in charge of the alien which involved Bolaji dressed up in the costume. Veronica  observed the scene, and as she saw it they needed to have KY jelly on anything that moved in front of the camera. All of a sudden Mother comes running with with this tube of KY Jelly that was just enormous, shouting "I'll do it" , she had never seen bigger tubes as this one and there he was slathering on the backside of poor Bolaji as if he were caressing him, rubbing it and making the alien suit glisten, and Veronica found the sight of this hysterical, Mother was someone who was a very funny man.

Source quotes
  1. Veronica Cartwright: You know,  it was so interesting, 'cause when we were doing that... the scene where he comes in and gets me, and all that stuff that he has in his mouth, when he opens his mouth and stuff is KY jelly, and er, Mother, as we called him, was the wardrobe man, and, and Ridley shouts, 'we need some more glue , there needs to be more glistening!" All of a sudden Mother goes, "I'll do it!" and then comes out with a tube of KY I'd never seen, and it was like. (holding hands out to suggest the size of something over a foot high)

    Interviewer: It's probably his own personal stash

    Veronica Cartwright:  That's why I was shocked, and there he is below Bolaji, standing there  and squeezing this stuff and he's caressing him

    Interviewer:  Somebody tells me that's not the first time

    Veronica Cartwright: it was just hysterical, unbelievable… 

    Tom Skerrit: I’ll do that!

    Veronica Cartwright: I'll do it!
    (youtube: Alien Panel Discussion With Tom Skerritt & Veronica Cartwright)
  2. Veronica Cartwright:There was a lot of goo I must say. They had, I have never seen KY Jelly come in tubes the size these came in! They were industrial size, they were like this and like this and we had a fabulous dresser, we used to call him Mother and I always remember the day that I was to be you know, gotten by the alien, and they needed somebody to make it shiny cos they had all this KY in its mouth, you know, when it opened up its mouth, but they needed a test done and Mother shouts out "I’ll do it!" And he comes running out with this tube of KY Jelly that was just enormous and there he is slathering it on the ass of this poor guy. Oh God! It was just unbelievable, hysterical, he was very funny.  (report from interview for Alien :Evolution documentary)
  3. Veronica:  We used to have a dresser. His name was Mother. And he was in charge of doing the alien. Of course, there was always supposed to be a lot of slime and stuff on him. KY Jelly was very much in fashion at the time, and l think that was put on everything that moved in front of the camera. On the alien, it's dripping from everywhere.  l have never seen bigger tubes of KY Jelly. They were gigantic sizes. And then you would have Mother going ''l'll do it!'' And he would come running out with huge tubes of KY, and start caressing this poor alien's ass, rubbing it and making it glisten. God, it was hysterical. We did have some good times. (Alien Quadrilogy Documentary)

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