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Pat Brymer (1950–2020), gopher puppeteer in “Caddyshack”

by Linnea Crowther

Pat Brymer was a puppeteer who operated the gopher puppet in “Caddyshack” (1980) and built an updated Lamb Chop puppet for Shari Lewis (1933 – 1998).

Bringing a varmint to life

Brymer was best known as the person behind the “Caddyshack” gopher, the pesky varmint that was the nemesis of Bill Murray’s groundskeeper character, Carl Spackler. Though Brymer was also a puppet builder, he didn’t build the gopher puppet – “Star Wars” puppeteer John Dykstra did, and Brymer operated it. Brymer was principal puppeteer for the 2004 movie “Team America: World Police,” and he worked with Sid and Marty Krofft on the children’s TV shows “The Banana Splits” and “Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour.” He worked with Shari Lewis not only in the creation of her updated Lamb Chop puppet but also on the PBS shows “Lamb Chop’s Play-Along” and “The Charlie Horse Music Pizza.”

Brymer talks about filming his “Caddyshack” scenes

“I was underneath a wagon that was planted with sod – with real grass and dirt. …All you see is the horizon line of the wagon, and you don’t see the front of it, where I’m underneath. …There’s a scene where he’s in a gopher tunnel at the end, and Bill Murray is trying to flood him out, and then he uses explosives. The gopher’s running through the tunnel, and that was a set that they built. …It was like being in a mine car in a mine shaft. They had me on a rolly on a track so I could run with the gopher and the background would be traveling behind him.” —from a 2020 interview with Toni Time


What people said about him

Full obituary: Los Angeles Times

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