'Immortalized': Taxidermists stuff the competition with themed challenges

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In the world of competitive taxidermy ... .

Wait, you didn't know there was a world of competitive taxidermy? Well, that's why it's great that we have shows such as "Immortalized" to open up new parts of the world for us. The unscripted AMC series, which airs Thursdays, is stuffed (sorry) with interesting people engaged in a profession that some deem art while others find it just plain creepy.

In each episode, one of the four "Immortalizers" -- Beth Beverly, Dave Houser, Page Nethercutt and Takeshi Yamada -- face off against a challenger to see who can impress the judges most, based on originality, craftsmanship and interpretation of a designated theme. There's no money at stake, just pride in an art form for which all the participants possess a thorough dedication.

Beverly is billed as "Philadelphia's premier rogue taxidermist," meaning she sets up animal scenes that don't occur in nature. Think turning a goat's feet into candleholders, or trimming a duck foot with fox fur and using it to clutch a Christmas ornament. She says she hopes the show will dispel some myths about her profession. Not just that they're all dark and disturbed people (remember Norman Bates in "Psycho"?) but what actually goes into creating a taxidermy mount.

"People still will bring me animals to this day with all the meat inside," Beverly tells Zap2it. "That's what leads to this misconception that it's a very messy and dirty and bloody, gory craft. Actually, it's no messier than carving meat in the kitchen. ... What I'm hoping people take away from ('Immortalized') is that we are artists. Whether you're in the rogue variety or you do commercial mounts, I think we're all artists. We all care a great deal about animals."
Photo/Video credit: AMC