June 19, 2008

Get This AP Profile Of Caroll Spinney While You Can

My wife saved the free newspaper from the subway the other day, which contains a fluffy but interesting AP profile by Ellen Simon of Caroll Spinney, who has played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since the first season of Sesame Street. Spinney is one of only two original puppeteers left in the cast [the other is Jerry Nelson, The Count, which is ironic, considering the personality transplant The Count has received, from his spooky, lightning-and-hypnotizing days to his current incarnation as a Catskills comedian.]

The only place I've found it online is the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where the headline reads, "Need to Map/ No Web." I suggest reading it quickly.

Not that it's complete or anything. The print version I have ends kind of wistfully:

After all these years, "Sesame Street" remains seasonless. There are crunchy autumn leaves at the foot of the stoop of 123 Sesame Place, because the set looks flat without them, but the garden around the corner is in full summer bloom.
"We deal with a lot of life's realities on 'Sesame Street,' but not everything," Spinney said. "No one worries about [Big Bird] sleeping all alone on the street."
Well, not until you mention it... wow I'm really bummed.

No Web, aka "One man has plated 'Sesame Street' icons for nearly 40 years [ap/s-t]
Actually, here's a more substantive 2003 NPR interview Spinney did with Bob Edwards [npr.org]
Caroll Spinney [wikipedia]


Regarding Big Bird sleeping on the street:
David Chapelle has a great bit in one of routines where he discusses Sesame Street as a place he wouldn't go to if he knew the way. Big Bird as a 6-foot pigeon. Snuffalufagus as a heroin addict. The Count as a pimp.

Not sure if a login is necessary, but the story also can be found here: http://www.statesman.com/search/content/shared-gen/ap/Finance_General/Being_Big_Bird.html

Here is the related AP video with some cool behind-the-scenes footage:


[I love the dig at Barney at the end. Explains why Oscar is also anti-Barney. -ed.]

I remember seeing a great doc about sesame street (possibly a&e bio) that had some good interview with Spinney. That man is quite arguably the hardest working man in show business! Also, if you are interested in the street and you haven't seen it yet, check out the documentary "The World According to Sesame Street".

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