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Carroll Spinney the most dedicated Muppeteer

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by BooberFraggless, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. BooberFraggless

    BooberFraggless Well-Known Member

    Out of all the performers who have been around over the years. I would have to say the most dedicated is Carroll Spinney. Frank Oz is great, although he left the Muppets and most of Sesame Street behind, I can kind of see why. I guess with Jim gone he felt as though the magic of being a puppeteer was gone. It had been said by several different people, the chemistry of Jim and Frank's charachters was remarkable. Which is true if you think about it (Ernie and Bert, Kermit and Piggy, Fozzie and Kermit, Rowlf and Fozzie, Grover and Kermit, Cookie Monster and Ernie, Guy Smiley and Cookie Monster. He just wanted to leave his past behind him, which I can understand. Jerry Nelson wanted to retire, I mean the guy was pushing 70, you can't really blame him. Iv'e heard that being a puppeteer is really hard on a person's arm, and I'm proud of Jerry for sticking things out for as long as he did. He still performs the Count on Sesame Street, but Iv'e been told he only dubs the voice, and I understand that totally. The Count of all charachters looks like a rather heavy puppet. Jerry wanted to take the rest of his life to relax. Others have came and went over the years, Brian Meehl, Jim Martin, Camile Bonora etc. Carroll Spinney on the other hand, has been around since 1969. For 36 years he has performed Big Bird and Oscar. His charachters have evolved over the years. They changed in appearance, and slightly in personality (Oscar used to seem a lot rougher and scary, and Big Bird used to seem a little more hyper) Although Matt Vogel does stand in for Carroll once in a while. Carroll still performs his charachters quite a bit. I can see why he has Matt Vogel as a Backup puppeteer. He knows he's getting older and he knows he can't do as much as he used to. An understudy was the smartest idea Iv'e ever heard of. Carroll will be 72 years old in just a couple more months. And he's still going strong, strolling around the street playing new games with the kids as Big Bird. He's still (Happily) Miserable in his trashcan on the stoop he's been residing for 36 years, telling everyone to scram, and go away, and get lost! as Oscar the Grouch. In the early days, Carroll used to perform some anything Muppets, but I'm glad he stuck with his main 2 guys. He's the best at Being Big Bird and Oscar. I loved his book, I sat there and read it all day long on a rainy day 2 years ago when I first bought it. It was very interesting, and I found out a lot of things I always wanted to know but was afraid to ask. Carroll is great, I love Carroll, I grew up with Carroll, and his 2 main men. I hope I can meet the man before he passes on to join his friends, Jim and Richard. I hope he stays alive for at least another 10 years and contiues to entertain children around the country. God Bless you Carroll :grouchy: :grouchy: :grouchy:
  2. BEAR

    BEAR Well-Known Member

    I agree with you. Carroll Spinney has always been someone I admire greatly in the Muppet world. I have his book too, and I read straight through it within about a week I think. It is a book I will never be done with though because I always go back and reread things. It is very inspiring. He always said that he would keep performing Big Bird until he can't hold the head up anymore. He is 72 years old and still doing it! It is obvious he loves his job and is proud of what he has done for half his life. He is also very grateful. He never takes what he does for granted. It has been good to him and he has been good to it. I love Carroll Spinney. He is a true feathered friend.
  3. wes

    wes Well-Known Member

    Caroll Spinney

    Every One Should Read His Book It's Great:)
  4. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    His book "Wisdom of Big Bird" IS an awesome book! The illustrations were great.
  5. BEAR

    BEAR Well-Known Member

    Carroll Spinney is a wonderful artist.
  6. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Very much so!!
  7. BEAR

    BEAR Well-Known Member

    I wonder if when Carroll retires completely if they will leave the Mr. Hooper picture he drew in the nest. They probably will though.

    I loved the relationship that Carroll had with Will Lee. I loved the story he told about the last time he saw Will Lee before he died. Will Lee never discussed his illness, but I think Carroll could sense something. They were on the set and Carroll had the Big Bird legs on. He walked up to Will, put his arm around him and said "I love you, Mr. Looper." To which Will said, "And I love you too, Carroll." That was their last conversation before Will died about 4 days later.
  8. janicegroupie

    janicegroupie Well-Known Member

    Reading that again makes me want to cry. That is so touching. It always gets to me when I read about the filming of the episode when Big Bird finds out Mr. Hooper died. It sounds like it was such an emotional scene to film. I really have to reread Carroll's book. It was awesome. He really is an amazing and dedicated puppeteer who does not receive enough credit.
  9. BEAR

    BEAR Well-Known Member

    True on all counts. To me, if Jim Henson was the creative mind, Carroll Spinney was the heart of Sesame Street.

    The Hooper episode was amazing. And of course they did one take because those were the true tears as he said.
  10. superfan

    superfan Well-Known Member

    Even in the interviews on the A&E Biography special, there was a definate difference in personality bteween Carroll and Frank. Carroll was almost gleeful ,or giddy at recounting his memories with Jim and how much he enjoys playing Big Bird and Oscar. You can tell he's a truly a child at heart. With Frank, I found him almost stiff and talked in a very matter of fact sort of way. The man has accomplished some great things, granted, but I was disappointed to see that he was not near as enthusiastic or even relaxed as Carroll was. Frank was Jim's right hand man (or left, depending!)...you would think that would be by far the most exciting thing someone could talk about!!
  11. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    I remember watching the episode where Big Bird finds out that Mr. Blooper (Hooper! Hooper!) had passed away. I was surprised because I didn't know until that show! I can remember bawling my eyeballs out of my head when that was going on.

    The only other time Sesame Street made me cry was when, in Follow That Bird, Big Bird is a 'blue bird,' and that tear rolls down his beak.

    I remember when Sesame Street humans met Snuffy for the first time! I jumped up and cheered! HA HA!! I was all over the place cheering that day!

    I wonder if Carroll knows how much he is loved? I mean, we all love Big Bird and Oscar, but does he even have any idea how much HE is loved as well? I also wish he were able to do more illustration work on the characters. He's a terrific artist.

    Superfan: You have Frank's personality down to a "T"! That's just Frank. :o
  12. BEAR

    BEAR Well-Known Member

    I noticed the same thing about Oz when I watched the interview and was surprised that THAT was Frank Oz. I think that was the first time I had ever really seen him just as himself and was a little disappointed. I mean, sure it seems like he is a very private, to the point, low profile kind of man, but he could have atleast shown more interest in what he was talking about. He had some great things to say and he is a very intellegent man (he would have to be to do the work he does) but he was so serious! I mean, wasn't he pretty much Jim Henson's best friend?! Sesame Street and the Muppets is what he is most known for and he spent most of his life doing. Why would he take it so lightly? Carroll Spinney was so enjoyable to listen to. You can tell how greatful he is for being able to be Big Bird (and Oscar) for about half his life. He is humble and gracious and appreciative of Henson and CTW. He wouldn't want anything else in his life. I have much respect for him and see alot of myself in him.
  13. BEAR

    BEAR Well-Known Member

    Oh God! To this day, every time I watch those 2 seconds of film I get goosebumps.
  14. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member

    Caroll Spinny Seems like the most dedicated Muppeteer, But Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson have been doing this for 40+ years now even thow Caroll has been on Sesame Street sense the beggining.
  15. superfan

    superfan Well-Known Member

    Thank you to both Bear and Fozzie Bear for acknowledging my observations!:) :) :)

    Ever since that special (A&E) I have had a new found respect for Carroll S. Cannot WAIT to get his book! Wonder if Frank Oz (has already) will ever put out a book along the same lines....?
  16. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I've read his book about three times since I got it, and I still love it, and get excited everytime I read it! Everytime I read it, I feel like I'm there with him, like in Jim Henson's office, or the Sesame Street studio, or his apartment, I just feel like I'm there with him.
    I agree that he's probably the most dedicated muppeteer. I'm sure alot of the others are really dedicated as well, but Caroll's story in print, and on Sesame Street: A Biography is very convincing, especially when he said "It's awfully nice to have a job where you do what you wanted to do when you were a child, and I think I made it. I'm a lucky man. (In Big Bird's voice) I'm a lucky bird too!"
  17. wes

    wes Well-Known Member

    Carroll Spinney

    I think I have read it about the same,I read his book for insprisation and ideas, I remember the first time I read it My Wife And Family got mad Because i would not put the book down It took me two days to read it. the sad part is when Carroll was helping Jim Henson on a shoot of Sesame street and Jim henson kick Erine because he was in his way :cry: My heart dropped, I couldn't believe he would treat his character like that, I geuss i had Jim on too high of a pedlstal:p
  18. erniebert1234ss

    erniebert1234ss Well-Known Member

    Maybe Frank Oz could do that, given a prodding. Maybe Caroll could hook his old buddy Frank up with the folks at Villard. I'd read that book "fer sure!"

    Of course, I think a biography of Richard Hunt would be really good, and have all the quotes from the people who knew him, and we can truly see the genius that was Richard Hunt. I dunno who would write that plucker, but I would also read that book.

    But that's just me...I read...

    BJ :eek:
  19. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member

    I have his book and it is very good.
  20. superfan

    superfan Well-Known Member

    You're right....a book about Richard Hunt would have some great material!!

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