Big Bird and Oscar Puppeteer’s Family Has Some Maine Roots
My age group is called Generation X. We are the children born somewhere between the early to mid 60s and the early to mid 80s. Our demographic is younger than the Baby Boomers and older than Millennials.
Sometimes we are called the MTV Generation because most of us were watching radio-on-the-television as teenagers.
The other thing on TV our age group all shared was something very precious in our early years. It was a show that taught us words, numbers and kindness called Sesame Street.
This is why I prefer our segment of the population be called the Sesame Street Generation. We are after all the first kids to grow up watching the show, so let's see if we can spread that term around.
That being said, we are very sad to hear of the passing of Caroll Spinney over the weekend at the age of 85. Caroll is best known for his work on Sesame Street giving life to Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for close to 50 years.
When I was kid I remember be excited about hearing somewhere that the man who played Big Bird was from Maine. Turns out he actually wasn't.
However, according to an article I saw yesterday from the Bangor Daily News, it is very cool to know that Caroll Spinney's father and grandfather have roots here. They lived in Eastport and other family members are still there.
The story also tells of Dick Shaw, a former writer for BDN, who met Caroll Spinney in 1980. Shaw covered an appearance of Big Bird with the Portland Symphony Orchestra for the paper. In the article we also learn that the two men became and remained friends.
Caroll Spinney sent handmade Christmas cards from Big Bird and Oscar to Dick Shaw each year.
Dick Shaw is quoted in the article saying,
“I think he was a kind of honorary Mainer, even though he himself didn’t actually grow up in Maine.”
You can see some of the beautiful cards and read the whole heartwarming story from the Bangor Daily News here.