Being Elmo (2011)

I love my muppets. I’ve never made a secret of it.

I own The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, I have the Muppet Show on DVD (still waiting on series 4 & 5!). I read the book Street Gang, The Complete History of Sesame Street.

They always have a very special place in my heart.

So when I first heard about a documentary about Kevin Clash, his creation Elmo, and his involvement with Jim Henson and the Muppets it was put right onto my must watch list.

And this evening, it lived up to every one of my expectations.

The film follows Kevin’s youth, his passion for puppets, how he created his own puppets, how he got involved with first Captain Kangaroo, and then on to Sesame Street itself, where he got to work with all the legends, including Henson, and Frank Oz, and where he created one of the most recognizable and beloved characters for the show… the red furred little monster, Elmo (who didn’t have that adorable voice to start with until Kevin took it over).

Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, the film is engaging, entertaining and chronicles the rise of both Kevin and Elmo, his family, and the death of Jim. For all that I felt that it was over WAY too fast

Elmo is a red bundle of love who doesn’t judge and just accepts you for who you are, and what a great message that is. That I think is one of the wonderful core messages that Jim and his wonderful co-workers and all their creations have always tried to share.

I love the muppets, and long for the day when there is a full and complete documentary about Henson, all his creations, all the movies, all the shows, something all-inclusive… Perhaps Ken Burns could give us a multi-episode tv series. I’m just saying.

For now, this is a wonderful little film, joyous, and emotional, that shows a man’s journey and the birth of a muppet.

An old interview but so much fun, listen for his comments on vegemite (I agree with him, and then watch out for his awesome dance moves!).


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