Characters Unlimited in the News and Media


Boulder City company brings Zoltar fortune teller, other novelties to life

February 12, 2017

Amid all the pirates, cowboys and Pappy the Prospectors stand multiple versions of Characters Unlimited’s most famous creation: the Zoltar fortune-teller machine featuring that bearded, turbaned, gypsy-looking dude who, for just a few quarters, says a few words before offering precious life advice dispensed on an astrology-derived ticket.


A Boulder City family has turned character building into big business

August 4, 2016

Headed for the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, “Pappy’s Pennies” is one of the many machines Stanton and his team create inside Boulder City factory Characters Unlimited. The lifelike characters vary, from tiny holiday elves and old cowboys to fuzzy polar bears and weathered sea captains. His most famous animatronic creation is the fortune teller Zoltar, its name inspired by the psychic arcade machine Zoltar Speaks, which morphed 12-year-old Josh Baskin into an adult played by Tom Hanks in the 1988 hit Big.


What will the future hold? Elsa Pataky poses with a hilarious ‘Zoltar’ fortune telling machine during trip to USA with her husband Chris Hemsworth

December 14, 2016

She is currently in America filming real-life war drama Horse Soldiers with her husband Chris Hemsworth. But Elsa Pataky enjoyed the day off on Tuesday to explore the local sights, and even paid a visit to a novelty fortune teller machine. The 40-year-old actress shared a photo of herself with Mr ‘Zoltar’, and wrote in the caption: ‘Big Big Big… I want to be a kid again!’


Characters Unlimited behind Zoltar, animatronic figures found across nation

April 7, 2014

Quick: What does Google’s California headquarters have in common with Caesars Palace? They both have a quirky novelty manufactured right in downtown Boulder City.


Finally, You Can Buy Your Very Own Zoltar Machine for $9,000

September 25, 2012

I won’t pretend that this is the first Zoltar machine to ever be made available for purchase and subsequent private enjoyment inside a single-family home. These things were probably flying off the shelves back in 1988.


Looking for Zoltar from ‘Big’ on Playland’s boardwalk

May 22, 2015

“I can’t remember if it was after the movie or if it was there before the movie,” said Curran, founder of the resident group Friends of Playland and a former park employee. “They had it down sort of where the bus stop was, near the administration building.”


Birthplace of animatronic Zoltar? Boulder City

February 6, 2009

The mystical Zoltar knows and tells all. But Zoltar, the shifty-eyed, turbaned fortune teller that made a name for himself in the 1988 Tom Hanks movie “Big” and takes quarters in exchange for your future, doesn’t come from ancient, faraway lands.