I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story

Submitted by the US to the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival, this documentary celebrates the life and contributions of Caroll Spinney, who has performed "Big Bird" and "Oscar the Grouch" on Sesame Street for over 40 years.

We see his origins (his family believed in home movies!) and hear his tales of early television. For example, when they tried a wireless microphone, long before they were in common use, they didn't realize they had to reserve a band width. Imagine their surprise when, during the show, a CB radio cut in: "Hey good buddy. That purty little wife of yers is waitin' on you at Exit 18!"

We hear of his first marriage, which gave him three much-loved children (who are interviewed for this documentary), then after his divorce, his three futile attempts to meet the girl of his dreams. The story is very funny and is related by HER! On the other hand, we are stunned to see that he was scheduled to fly in the ill-fated space shuttle Challenger in 1986.

We see the incredible complexity of working in that costume. Just being a Muppet is highly demanding, but to be Big Bird is even more so. I won't try to describe it; you just have to see it.

Working with the brilliant Jim Henson was memorable, but the part that put a lump in my throat was when Big Bird sang "It's Not Easy Being Green" in that giant cathedral for Henson's funeral.... Have a tissue handy.
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See what I mean:
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