Here's the answer to the question you never cared enough to think about: How did John Candy's ears and tail move around when he played Barf in Spaceballs? Courtesy of The Character Shop, we can show you:

 

Special effects artist Rick Lazzarini ("Aliens") created two versions of Barf's ears. Both pairs would be individually movable and would have five axis of movement: rotate, tilt side to side, tilt forward/back, and two other axis of curling/pointing straight. They would have similar expressiveness and movement as a human hand (with fingers together), and would allow the ears to wave, curl, and spring to attention.

 

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After spending hours in the makeup chair, Candy had to lug around a 30-pound battery on his back that would control the mechanical ears and tail attached to his costume. The tail was controlled by John Candy (through a button on his paw), and the ears were controlled by off-stage assistants.

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