Oscar The Grouch Reveals Why He Lives In A Trash Can: ‘The Rents Are Cheap’

7 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story’ review: The man behind feathered ‘Sesame Street’ star.

While viewers have long identified Oscar as being a fuzzy mop of green, the new documentary, “I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story,” depicts the “Sesame Street” puppet as being a different hue in the show’s earlier years. “The first year I show myself in my true colors, which is orange. For nearly 50 years, at “Sesame Street,” he’s been inside the Big Bird costume and crouched behind Oscar the grouch’s garbage can, giving life to those beloved creations.

There aren’t many octogenarian entertainers who have managed to stay relevant in the ever-changing cultural zeitgeist, but then there haven’t been many people who have played Big Bird.”Sesame Street” character Big Bird sits onstage to accept lifetime achievement award at the 36th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, August 30, 2009.Big Bird almost had a seat on the doomed Challenger space shuttle which exploded just seconds after take-off in 1986, killing seven people onboard, a documentary on the beloved “Sesame Street” character has revealed. “It made my scalp crawl to think I was supposed to be on that,” Caroll Spinney, the man who has donned the 8-foot-2 yellow bird costume since 1969, recalled.

The world’s most famous giant bird has a human performer inside it, and it turns out that this nearly anonymous fellow has interesting stories to tell. Caroll Spinney, who played Big Bird for 46 years, told HuffPost Live’s Nancy Redd on Wednesday that he was invited to ride the rocket and said yes, “because I could not ever imagine that I would be in the situation to orbit the earth.” Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before! Walker’s documentary profiles the puppeteer who’s inhabited one of “Sesame Street'”s most enduring characters for forty-five years If there was ever a man lucky enough to have found his true calling in life, it’s the subject of Dave LaMattina and Chad N. REUTERS He’s done it a few times, most notably while singing “Bein’ Green” at mentor Jim Henson’s funeral; another was during the darkest period of his life, when divorce and depression made him thankful the suit hid his tears.

Spinney, now 81, apprehensively agreed, but was later told Big Bird “would not fit in the spacecraft,” which would have been the Challenger, a TODAY show segment on the documentary revealed Wednesday. Big Bird — with Spinney in the suit — was originally slated to be a part of the Challenger space-shuttle mission in 1986, in the hopes of renewing kids’ interest in America’s space program. NASA instead launched teacher Christa McAuliffe, considered the first “citizen in space,” aboard what became the first in-flight disaster and the worst record space catastrophe in the history of the U.S. space program. The 37-year-old high school social studies educator from Concord, N.H., was chosen from 11,146 teachers to give lessons to 25 million students from space. The now octogenarian Spinney reveals himself to be much like the character he portrays, a sunny optimist with a childlike nature who clearly takes great delight in performing.

The shuttle exploded soon after takeoff, killing its seven crew members — including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, who was selected in Spinney’s place. NASA confirmed talks between “Sesame Street” to send the iconic character to space, but “that plan was never approved,” spokeswoman Kathryn Hambleton said in a statement. In the early days of “Sesame Street,” the show was a hit, but Spinney’s $375-a-week paycheck left him unable to afford rent for his Upper West Side apartment. And he’s working on his 12th book, about the professional practices of scientists. “I’ll keep writing until the time comes for me to stop, and that’s death,” he says.

Seymour Bernstein shares his love of music: Bernstein retired from his pressure-filled career as a concert pianist at age 50 and began teaching young musicians in New York City. After an initial stint working for Bozo the Clown, he attracted the attention of Jim Henson after delivering a mishap-plagued performance at a puppet festival. The Muppets creator offered him a job anyway, telling him, “I liked what you were trying to do.” His early years working with Henson weren’t immediately successful. A generous overture from Jim Henson brought him into the world of television puppetry just as it was about to break big, but he didn’t immediately feel comfortable there. It’s now documented in the critically lauded Seymour: An Introduction. “Seymour has thought a lot about what it means to live a life in the arts and a long life in general,” says producer Greg Loser. “He loves to share these thoughts.” Iris still in bloom: Fashion icon and interior designer Apfel calls herself an “geriatric starlet,” after a 2005 Metropolitan Museum of Art show of her idiosyncratic fashion collection became an international sensation.

Iris, one of Albert Maysles’ last completed films (he died in March), looks at the woman behind the famously oversized glasses (along with her beloved 100-year-old husband Carl) and her unstoppable passion for her job. “I love to work — working is a blessing and I enjoy what I do,” says Apfel. “If more elderly people were employed, they would be feeling much better. Soon he found the persona that made Big Bird click. “There’s something about Caroll,” Michael Davis, author of “Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street,” says, describing Mr. He traveled to China to appear on a television special with Bob Hope—a decades-later reunion with a young girl who appeared on the show constitutes one of the film’s more contrived elments—and even starred in his own feature film, 1985’s Follow That Bird. They came in three separate cars to our house, and their back seats and trunks were completely filled with boxes of films and videotapes and photographs.

I’ve heard that children on the set of “Sesame Street” are instructed to be careful around Big Bird and not get too close because of your limited visibility inside the suit. There’s also fascinating, behind-the-scenes footage that details the arduous physical demands of playing the character, which involves painfully holding his arm upright—it controls the puppet’s head—for long stretches at a time.

Other interesting segments involve his hand-picked successor, Matt Vogel, who has been patiently waiting for nearly two decades for Spinney to retire; the character’s diminishing popularity in favor of Elmo when Sesame Street began skewing younger; and the amusing brouhaha that ensued after Mitt Romney declared “I love Big Bird” even while vowing to end funding for public television. I said, “I want to be with him on that special.” I told our cameraman, Dave Driscoll, who’s also a cameraman for him when he plays big arenas, to mention it to him. Did you tell him?” He says, “Yeah, I said, ‘Paul, Big Bird wants to do something with you.'” Paul says, “Doesn’t he know I’m married?” That’s not what I’m talking about!

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