I have been trying to organize my thoughts on this post and continue to be interrupted. I do not have permission for the pictures that I use and will remove them at the artist requests. I will continue to keep the links on where the pictures come from so that they may still be viewed.
When I was in my teens I remember many people trying their hand at doing impersonations of different characters - the most popular being Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Kermit the Frog. I didn't view it as a talent would take anyone anywhere. Boy, was I wrong. Fast Forward to being a mom. Jenna and I had been watching an episode that Sesame Street had re-aired after Hurricane Katrina as the cast had experienced a similar disaster and perhaps children could better deal knowing that Big Bird had experienced the same trauma. It wasn't until I had watched the documentary of said episode that I learned Steve Whitmire was able to utilize his impersonating talent and ability to impersonate Jim Henson's Kermit, who was the news reporter for the hurricane disaster.
I was fascinated at watching the behind the scene footage and all the work that is involved by those puppeteers who move on their knees while having their hands in the air (I could not find the hurricane footage use as a demonstration for just a few minutes - but perhaps you'll get the gist with this wonderful tribute to soldiers featuring Rosita and Elmo)
I took Jenna to the Riddle Library on Wednesday. While there, I checked out a video called "I am Big Bird: the Carroll Spinny Story" directed by Dave Lanaltina released in 2014. I won't be using the APA style to reference as I am not being graded on this post, but will include several links.
We watched it that night, and I got to tell you, it took me on a journey in which my eyes leaked (big surprise) as I learned that Spinny had been bullied, abused, had felt like a failure to the point of expressing interest in quitting his position with Sesame Street. He had divorced, was suicidal. It didn't help when Debra Spinny also teared up as she explained about the connection to Lianzi Ouyang and how hard it had been to leave her and how they had fallen out of touch - but I think I'm getting ahead of myself.
Carroll Spinny was 81 at the time the documentary was released - and still working on Sesame Street. How sweet that would be to be not only to be at the same job for 46 years, but to love being there. I had always thought that it would be awesome to grow up on Sesame Street and have a steady income before you even understand what the word "income" means.
Carroll loves his work, maybe even more so than when he had started out - though he had always been interested in puppetry. I think it's awesome that his mom encouraged him to work with puppets.
So many people don't see it as "real work" - but it is real work. It is real hard work. Very few positions in life come easy - and just a magician or puppeteer may make it look easy, there are hours upon hours that go into it.
Jim Henson had asked Spinny to do Sesame Street with him.
I was fascinated to learn that Spinny is also a cartoonist.
I was happy to learn he had found love again with his sweet wife, Debra
I was floored to hear that NASA had asked Big Bird to promote the space program by going to the space station with them (here). Big Bird was replaced when Ronald Reagan announced that they'd be sending a teacher. I had posted that here not long ago
I don't believe that is all I had on my mind when I initially tried to create this post. This post does not do the film justice. They aren't kidding about a MUST SEE. (Be sure you have some tissues handy)
abc News here
Big Bird in China here
I am Big Bird here
Journal China here
Muppet Wiki here
Toronto Starship here