by Peter Savieri, you ridiculously talented man, you.
“To Morrow”, from The Muppet Show, season 1, 1976, written by folksinger Bob Gibson in 1957 and performed by Jim Henson and Jerry Nelson.
“Mr. The Frog, we all agreed - a celebrity is not a people!”
Everyone seems to be remembering Muppeteer Jerry Nelson, who died today at the age of 78, for voicing and puppeteering Count von Count on Sesame Street. I too grew up with and loved the Count. But Mr. Nelson also voiced & puppeteered my absolute, all-time-favorite Muppet, Robin the Frog. Aside from the animated fox in Disney’s Robin Hood, I think Robin the Frog was the first “other Robin” I ever encountered. Also, Robin was a baby frog among grown-up Muppets when I was a little girl among adults. I’ve always felt as though Robin somehow belonged to me specially, because we shared a name and, in a sense, a childhood.
I feel like a part of me is gone with Mr. Nelson and Robin.
One of my heros since childhood has passed away, Jerry Nelson. Jerry was in the original core group of Muppet performers originating such roles as Floyd, The Count, Gobo Fraggle, and Robin the Frog. Jerry also has one of my favorite singing voices. I don’t know how someone is suppose to react to a hero dying. This is the first time I’ve ever experinced this. But it’s silent tears on this end. Rest in Peace, Mr Nelson. You have brought so much joy to my entire life since my early childhood (Taken with Instagram)
Oh, Rest in Peace, Jerry. You were an incredible man. Thank you for… so very much.
apparently I belong to the “eyes nose tongue and fingers club”.
I wonder how many big birds they’ve gone through since the original big bird? or if it’s the same voice in all of them. also, who the fuck is this lavender guy and is he a guy or a girl and why is he on sesame street.
Well actually the original voice of Big Bird is a man named Carroll Spinney, and he continues to operate as his muppeteer today. Spinney began muppeteering Big Bird in the late sixties after Jim Henson hired him, and since then he has rarely been replaced by an apprentice or replacement voice actor.
You’ll find that this is often the case with most muppeteers in Sesame Street. They stay in their roles forever, dedicated both to the program and to the legacy left by Jim Henson’s Puppeteering.
You may also been interested to learn that Spinney originated the puppeteering of Elmo, back when he didn’t yet have a name and was instead referred to as “Baby Monster.” Another puppeteer took over the character’s voice acting once Elmo became an established part of the Sesame cast, but his personality and soft spoken tone is a product of Spinney.
Other fun things to know about the immensely talented people Muppeteering on Sesame Street: Frank Oz (who muppeteers everyone from Cookie Monster, Grover, Bert, Fozzie, Ms Piggy, etc) is also the voice/puppeteer of Yoda in the Star Wars Films. Martin Robertson (who muppeteers Snuffalupagus) also built and puppeteered the original Puppetry Monster from Little Shop of Horrors.
So anyway. I know way too much about Henson’s Workshop.
Lacy, have my imaginary babies.
OP, I’m trying to think of who you mean by “the lavender guy.” Telly is a deep purple, and is male. Perhaps it was a lavender anything muppet, and not a regular part of the cast?
And as RHTB was saying, the muppet performers are incredibly loyal. There has been a sort of shift between the original cast and the one we see today, but most characters are only on their second performer, if not their original still.
Caroll Spinney (the above mentioned Big Bird) still performs Oscar the Grouch. He is 78 years old.
Frank Oz, even though he has severed a lot of his ties with the Muppets, will still occasionally perform his Sesame Street characters. Full-time, those characters (and Frank’s Muppet characters like Piggy, Fozzie, Animal) are performed by Eric Jacobson. A lot of Richard Hunt’s characters (Scooter, Janice) went to David Rudman.
Steve Whitmire took over a lot of Muppet characters after original cast members passed away. Steve had originated Rizzo the Rat, Bean Bunny, and Wembley Fraggle. Now he also performs Kermit, Ernie, Beaker, and Statler.
I could keep going on (I haven’t even mentioned Bill Barretta!) but I think it’s pretty clear that once you’re a Henson character, you stay that way. It’s not a job taken lightly.
Also, congratulations on joining the “eyes nose tongue and fingers club.”
Thank you, Kermit
Big Bird sings “Bein’ Green” at Jim Henson’s memorial.
We miss you, Jim.