Yesterday I got some sad news regarding a childhood icon. Carol Spinney, the man who played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street for 50 years, died. He was 85. I am saddened by this news. I grew up watching Sesame Street, so yeah this is a big deal to me. I loved Sesame Street as a kid, and love it now, even if I do not watch it anymore. I am now more of a Muppets kind of guy.
One of my favorite things to watch growing up was Christmas Eve on Sesame Street. I am actually watching it now while I am typing this. The scene with Big Bird skating with the little girl to Feliz Navidad is very endearing. Now so more than ever. If anything, that scene shows just how gentle Carol was.
Big Bird and Carol Spinney are almost one and the same. Whenever people think of Sesame Street, odds are Big Bird and Carol come up. Big Bird is so iconic and that is all thank to Carol. I love when people all over the world can latch on to one person, or character. I think Big Bird was, and still is, one of those iconic characters.
Big Bird is basically a big kid, and his antics show it. Take when Mister Hooper died. Big Bird didn’t know what it meant when someone dies, and the cast had to explain it to him. Another prime example of how loving Carol and Big Bird were is at Jim Henson’s funeral. Carol, as Big Bird, sang It’s Not Easy Being Green. You can tell he is trying to hold it together. At the end of the song, Big Bird looks up and says, “Thank you, Kermit.” To me, that is admiration.
I have to wonder if Carol will have an honors ceremony like Jim Henson did. He deserves one. Big Bird has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. If that’s not something special, especially seeing as Big Bird isn’t “real”–at least not in the literal sense–that’s pretty impressive. I mean, Big Bird was just an 8 foot costume, but once Carol stepped into that suit, magic happened.
Kids and adults alike love Big Bird, myself among them. Oscar the Grouch is also very iconic, but Big Bird is just so well-loved that I had to focus on him. Big Bird is synonymous with Sesame Street. No episode would be complete without that big, lovable bird. So Carol, Rest in Peace and thank you!