Characters Unlimited in the News and Media

Andre 3000 as Zoltar 3000

Where’s Usher? Here are the celebs in the hunt to find the Super Bowl halftime performer

February, 8 2024

An Apple Music promotion of the Feb. 11 Super Bowl halftime show released has plenty of star power — but for a good chunk of it, no Usher.

One name to note during the hunt for Usher: Andre 3000 (as Zoltar 3000), seen at 5 minutes in this YouTube video by Apple Music.

Characters Unlimited Continues Success

July 6, 2023

Characters Unlimited is a local business with international clients. They recently completed a special project for a customer in Atlantic City: the world’s largest Zoltar (seen above)! The fortune telling character is more than 10 feet tall and weighs about 950 pounds! It towers over everything else on the production floor and will be a spectacular sight in its new home.

Good fortune: Zoltar helps bring success to Stanton

December 21, 2022

When Olaf Stanton asked Zoltar about his future, good fortune was smiling down on him.

The fortune teller in a box, first seen in the 1988 movie “Big,” has brought success and international acclaim to the Boulder City resident, who makes the characters in his workshop off on Foothill Court.

Zoltar and his fellow cast of characters — both in and out of boxes — can be found worldwide as tourist attractions and helping business owners draw in customers.

Jones Soda Co. releases new labels featuring Boulder City favorite

November 3, 2021

A well-known Boulder City character is reaching new heights thanks to a partnership with a popular soda company.

Recently, Jones Soda Co. released special augmented reality beverage labels, featuring Zoltar.

“After starting out in 1987, making characters in my backyard in Boulder City, and selling them on the road out of a van, it’s exciting to see all the different directions that my business has gone in the last 34 years,” said Olaf Stanton, Zoltar creator and founder and CEO of Characters Unlimited. “We’re very proud to have Jones Soda as our newest Zoltar licensee.”

Liberty Mutual’s Ads Are Going in Some Very Weird Directions, and It’s Working

July 24, 2019
For more than five years, Liberty Mutual has been known for its ads with the Statue of Liberty in the background—but that hasn’t always been a good thing. The campaign, officially called “Truth Tellers,” has traditionally been bland at best and grating at worst (as illustrated by the internet’s oddly intense backlash against the 2016 ad featuring a woman who named her car “Brad”).

Fortunetelling Can Be a Million-Dollar Business. Just Ask This Company

June 12, 2017

What do Donald Trump, Ghost Adventures host Zak Bagans, and porn star Ron Jeremy have in common?

They’ve all dispensed prophesies from inside coin-operated fortunetelling machines.

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.