Friday, November 18, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green

Last night I saw a screening of the charming, inspiring, heartfelt "Being Elmo," the documentary which chronicles the life and career of the puppeteer Kevin Clash. Inextricably linked to Clash's story is, of course, Jim Henson, muppet creator extraordinaire who gave Clash his big break.

In the early 70's I had the amazing opportunity of going to Jim Henson's workshop and 'meeting' all the muppets. You see, my dad, a comedy writer on the Jimmy Dean show in the 60's, had once written jokes for one of Henson's first characters, Rawlph the dog.

From Wikipedia: Rowlf rose to stardom as Jimmy Dean's sidekick on The Jimmy Dean Show. The show ran from 1963 until 1966. Rowlf the Dog was a regular on the show, and was billed as Jimmy's "ol' buddy." Between seven and ten minutes of every show were devoted to a spot with Rowlf and Dean. Many of the comedy sketches ended with the two singing a duet together. Rowlf's tenure on The Jimmy Dean Show allowed Jim Henson to develop the character over a period of time
I was 4 or 5 and we were in New York and my dad had arranged for me to meet Henson and the rest of the furry gang. He'd since gone on to create Sesame Street, obviously, and considering it was my favorite show in the world my dad knew this would be an opportunity of a lifetime. My memory comes in patchwork around that day. I remember bringing cookies and feeding Cookie Monster, I remember seeing rows of muppets (were they called that then? I think they might have still been puppets) sitting inanimately on shelves, I remember the smell of the studio and I remember feeling extraordinarily shy. I'm not sure how long we stayed, or what we talked about (I'll have to ask my dad next time I see him) but somewhere in my clutter of stuff I have this postcard with Henson's signature...

Seeing the movie last night brought back so many amazing memories - not only of meeting them as a child, but watching the show on a nightly basis, being absorbed by the characters and stories and the world of Sesame Street. The movie was just another reminder about following your passion, whether it be puppetry or poetry. There are so many lives that you can affect by you just being you.

1 comment:

Daniela said...

thank you for this bog entry...