1. Yo man, remember that freaky robot cat from Sabrina the Teenage Witch?

 

2. To me that show represented the height of the family-friendly multicam sitcom's dominance on television.

salem saberhagen

3. The Show's creators cited a concern for animal cruelty when they decided to use an animatronic puppet for the role of Salem Saberhagen

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4. Looking back on it now, there's some real uncanny valley stuff, moments where the puppeteers nail it, and others... not so much



5. Such a weird mix of bad and good special effects



6. Puppets are always funnier than CG, this is known.

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7. He was a former witch who was punished to live as a cat for his misdeeds

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8. Our main glimpse of this was that weird flashback where Salem was in his human form and tried to start a worldwide magical coup while several followers (including Sabrina's aunt?) chanted "Witch Power"! So that's neat.



9. There's just something so goofy about this puppet born from a pre 9/11 America, that weird early 2000s period

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10. This show had a level of shameless camp you don't see these days

salem the cat girlfriend sabrina the teenage witch

 

11. Salem was a source of some pretty dark humor

sale m saberhagen cat evil

 

12. All carried by the silky-smooth voice of Nick Bakay

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13. Nick's other major voice role was Norbert on The Angry Beavers

 

 

14. Fans still argue about Salem's design

salem revenge quote

 

15. After the second season, the production switched effects companies responsible for the puppet

 

16. The original rig was made by a prop company called "Animal Makers"

salem sabrina

 

17. While the rounder/cuter puppet was made by cult-horror stalwarts, The Chiodo Brothers

 

18. It was during a recent drunken night of hanging out that my friends and I started getting nostalgia feelings for this TV anomaly

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19. That conversation sent me down a real memory hole.

 

20. While in that dank hole, I made a shocking discovery. The company that made the first Salem animatronic actually had the ORIGINAL RIG available on their website to rent or OWN. (Though it's switched "skins" after being used for other projects)

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For only $20,000 you can own a piece of refurbished TV history! Here's a behind the scenes look at how complicated the robot was to operate, requiring multiple puppeteers as well as pre-programmed animations for the full effect: