Making Tim Conway's Siamese Elephants

My wife is very fond of the Carol Burnett sketch featuring Tim Conway's lengthy elephant monologue. Although this sketch was cut from the show, it was later aired as an outtake, and became hugely popular.

For her 45th birthday, I decided to make her stuffed Siamese elephants.

To begin, I needed a device that would play back the sketch, or at least enough of it to say "Fnorgn!" with some degree of context. I wound up buying Mr. Voice. It turns out there's a reason it only costs $8.50 -- It can only record 20 seconds of sound, and its playback is... limited.

I created a shorter clip custom-tuned to emphasise "Fnorgn!"

At first, I just held Mr. Voice up to the speakers, and played the sound into its microphone. I determined that this would not give any real sound quality, so I popped the back open, and ran an audio cable directly into the microphone.

Pressing the wires against an RCA jack didn't really help, so I cut off the jack and twisted the wires together.

After piping the sound in there, I stripped Mr. Voice down to the minimum necessary components, so that it would all fit into a stuffed elephant.

A couple of days later, I stopped at Radio Shack to buy a AAA battery pack and a better "play" button.

Soldering the battery pack and button to the assembly was simple enough.

But I had to choose which color, red or black, went best with the pink and gray ear.

The belly seam was not easy to find.

I used a Delica Spider folding knife to open the seam. If we ever owned a seam ripper, we do no longer.

Stuffing the electronic "guts" into the elephant was tough. I had to open the hole in the ear wider than I wanted to in order to navigate the button through the stuffing and fabric.

Eventually I got everything in there and in place.

I sewed the ear hole tight around the button, and screwed it down with the included nut and washer.

Then I sewed the elephant shut. I don't get to say that often.

After sewing the two elephants together at the trunk...

...They were ready to gift-wrap! Our family has a tradition of wrapping gifts in Victoria's Secret boxes.