Sunday, March 4, 2012

Being Elmo

Kevin Clash is one of the most influential, powerful and successful people in television history and I have little doubt that the vast majority of you have never heard of him. I bet, however, you’ve heard of his friend, Elmo. Kevin Clash is Elmo and one of the executive producers of Sesame Street. Clash grew up in a poor section of Baltimore and early on in life became obsessed with puppets. This was largely due to falling in love with the work of Jim Henson. He wanted to be just as good and idolized Henson and those Henson worked with. He makes his own puppets and puts way more of himself into it than the average person. He wiles away doing local television and community events when he gets the opportunity to meet Kermit Love, a man who is as close to Henson’s right hand man as possible.

Love created Big Bird for god’s sake and he immediately is impressed by Clash. He puts him to work on Sesame Street and Clash takes to it like a duck to water. He’s not just good, he gets it, gets the Henson message and what Sesame Street is all about. As such, he’s given more and more responsibility. One day a fellow puppeteer on Sesame Street says he’s sick of a puppet he can’t make work and Clash asks to give it a shot. The puppets name is Elmo and Clash’s life and Sesame Street has never been the same.

This doc tells the story of this unique man and his unique puppet and about how Clash went from nothing to creating one of the most recognizable and marketable characters in history. It’s a great trip from humble beginnings to being the man behind a character and a show that influences millions around the globe. It’s an interesting story to say the least and this flick tells it well.


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