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My day with Caroll Spinney in Framingham MA today!

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by Kevin Knight, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. Kevin Knight

    Kevin Knight New Member

    Guys, I cannot explain what it was like to meet Caroll and his gracious wife Debra! I approached him as it was slow for him at the function. I extended my hand, as he did the same and said hello. All that would come out of my mouth was "Awww Bird." I introduced myself, and told him that I never thought the day would arrive or ever happen to thank him for teaching me the alphabet! LOL We both laughed and I asked him to sign a few things like his book and a bus stop promotional poster from Sesame Street Live back in the 90's (which i will put a pic up of once it's matted and framed.)

    Me and Caroll discussed Jim's funeral and the craziness that went on backstage before, and after Big Bird's singing of "It Ain't Easy Being Green". We discussed how he believes in keeping the Muppet magic alive by keeping Jim's wishes of the public not seeing him putting on or taking off Bird. Much like the Big Bird /Mr Roger's incident. How Jim gave a certain child, who stopped by the Muppet Workshop an original Kermit puppet back in the Muppet Show days! The differences between the real Big Bird and his touring Sesame Street Live counterpart. Some of the differences between Sesame and the Muppets under Disney's ownership. Neither Caroll nor his wife were even aware of the photo puppet replicas, but are interested in picking up all three. They both thought the Kermit replica was WAY better made than the real deal. Caroll talked to me about all of the people who have come in to audition for Oscar should the time come. How he produces Oscar's voice and how he places it. (Being a singer we talked about physical vocal production) I did explain to him on behalf of all of us that he was what we had left, he was our Jim Henson. Speaking of I invited them to at least stop by as it is very well maintained and a beautiful site. Neither Caroll or his wife are computer savvy. He mentioned that he had a incredible power book (Mac?) but had no clue how to use it,and said "so it's fully charged by now." He talked to me at length about how good of a person Jim was and the early days or creating the original Bird with Kermit (not the Muppet) and Jim.

    At that point came a nice time where I opened my bag and pulled out my MR photo Puppet of Kermit. Caroll and his wife loved him! She wished I had brought Animal. I explained to Debra how Animal comes out of the box like a pom pom and how we have to really mush them. They took Kermit to better examine him. Me and Caroll then posed Kermit to place between us for a photo, below a huge painting that a fan had done of Big Bird for him.

    http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j138/Heartoutofhell/DSCN1192.jpg

    I had a few pictures taken, and explained that I was going to leave to go have the photo developed and blown up to have him personalize later. I asked Caroll and his wife if I could get them anything while I was out, and they offered to watch over Kermit while i was gone.

    I went, got everything done, made a copy of the photo for both of us and returned.
    http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j138/Heartoutofhell/DSCN1192.jpg

    http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j138/Heartoutofhell/DSCN1192.jpg

    Caroll was pleased to sign our photo. He wrote "To Kevin- Thanks A Million! signed Caroll Spinney BIG BIRD" on his photo I wrote "Aww Bird! All The Best signed Kevin Knight" He then offered me one of his photos and after I explained he had been generous enough with his time. He then asked if I would like a Christmas card with his original artwork and I said I would be most grateful. So I got a beautiful print of Caroll's Christmas artwork signed by Caroll, from him, his wife and BIG BIRD. Now all I need to make it a treasure is ONE feather. ONE feather from our 8 foot feathered friend!

    We picked our conversation back up right where we left off. He examined the photo puppet and told me a lot about the original Kermit. Believe it or not Caroll does a GREAT impression of Kermit. We discussed Elmo's, as I put it "attempt at taking over the street". I told Caroll to tell Elmo he better recognize that it was the Bird's street! Caroll was happy with the muppeteer working with Big Bird when "need be." He was amused that the individual's last name was German for "bird."

    I am absolutely exhausted from the day but would be more than happy to go into greater detail in a few days.

    :) Kevin Knight :wisdom:
  2. Wow Kevin, that sounds amazing! Would you care to come on The MuppetCast and talk about that? I've gotta hear the long version of this story. Let me know, email me@muppetcast.com!
  3. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    Great story! What a fantastic day.
  4. Erine81981

    Erine81981 Active Member

    That is an awsome story Kevin. Wonderful at that. Thanks for sharing it with us here. :wisdom:
  5. The Shoe Fairy

    The Shoe Fairy Active Member

    Wow, Your'e so lucky, one of those once in a lifetime things huh?
  6. sesameguy

    sesameguy Member

    Awesome! Thanks for the cool story and the cool photos. I'd sure love to meet him someday as well.
  7. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets New Member

    WOW! That is really amazing that you met Mr. Spinney in person! And what a nice guy he is! So is Big Bird, too! :wisdom:
  8. SSLFan

    SSLFan Well-Known Member

    Wow, that's one fantastic story!:)
    It was cool you got to meet the man behind 2 of Sesame's most beloved characters. Lol. I wonder what he said when the conversation of 'Elmo' came up. XD
  9. muppetfan89

    muppetfan89 Member

    what happened in these incidents, I don't recall hearing about them. I've Caroll's book, but I don't recall him writing anything about that.
  10. Colbynfriends

    Colbynfriends Active Member

    Well If I remember corectly, the Mr. Rogers incadent was when Big Bird was going to appear on Mr. Rogers, he wanted Caroll to show everyone how he works, there for, taking off the suit. Caroll didn't want to do that, for obvious reasons of course.
  11. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets New Member

    Actually, It was Caroll who wanted to take the suit off to the bird suit to show kids that there was a person under it. But it was actually Fred who convinced Caroll not to come to his real, TV neighborhood because he said that it would upset the children too much. It's almost as if Fred was talking about Santa or something and it would take away their innocents and he knew that kinds believed in Big Bird in the same manor.
  12. CoOKiE

    CoOKiE Member

    I did... lol i was at the doctors one day, and on the tv, there was a documentary of the muppets (at the time the muppets meant SS and Fraggle Rock too)... All i remember seeing were all the muppets hung up in (what i can only recall since it was so long ago) a closet. I also remember Jim talking about how the doozers worked and i wanted to cry... I had always dreamed of meeting the SS cast as i thought they were real. knowing that Santa wasn't real took nothin from me... however knowing that the Muppets were puppets killed me lol.

    I also heard there was a situation where Caroll took the Bird suit off and a kid had watched and ran in tears... So, i'm sure that may have had a part in why he only brings Oscar with him for speaches
  13. muppetfan89

    muppetfan89 Member

    yeah, Caroll was filming a SS segment in Central Park, and Kermit Love was helping him take off Big Bird's head and as this was happening, a little kid, saw this happened, and the kids screamed and ran away, but Caroll quickly put the bird suit back on ran after the kid and assured him he was ok, that was nice.
  14. Colbynfriends

    Colbynfriends Active Member

    Oh, sorry. Thanks for the correction, I must have mixed it up. :crazy:
  15. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Hmm...I heard it was the other way around with Caroll not wanting to take it off. I think I saw it in the Sesame Street Unpaved book.
  16. muppetfan89

    muppetfan89 Member

    what about the funeral situation, what happened with that?
  17. Colbynfriends

    Colbynfriends Active Member

    Someone's gonna have to check this out, cause now, I'm majorly confused. :confused:
  18. muppetfan89

    muppetfan89 Member

    that sounds right, becuase anytime Caroll gets asked about taking off the suit in front of kids, and he always objects to it becuase he doesn't want them to get upset.
  19. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets New Member

    I'd imagine the suit must be hard to run in.
  20. Blinky_Fish

    Blinky_Fish Member

    A) It's not a suit - It's a puppet

    B) Scram:grouchy:


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