"You could be almost anything when you're running a puppet. You can play a lady, you could play monsters, you name it. For instance, Oscar and Big Bird are nothing alike. It's sort of a wonderful stretch. You're still acting, but you're acting at the end of your arm, and out of sight."
About This Interview
In his three-hour Archive interview, Caroll Spinney discusses his early interest in drawing and puppetry. He describes his first work in television puppetry, with his "Rascal Rabbit" puppet, outlines his time on Boston's Bozo's Circus and recalls the first time he met Jim Henson. Spinney then details joining the cast of Sesame Street and explains the intricacies of performing "Big Bird" and "Oscar the Grouch." He describes the two characters, what he's added to their personalities over the years and why he loves getting to play them both. Spinney speaks of his castmates on Sesame Street, how the death of Will Lee ("Mr. Hooper") affected the show and what it was like to shoot the memorable, "Farewell, Mr. Hooper" episode of Sesame Street. Spinney also illustrates the educational nature of the children's program and offers advice to aspiring puppeteers. Michael Rosen conducted the interview on May 12, 2001 in Woodstock, CT.