"I like to think of it as a little bit of engineering involved, where you have to create something that moves perfectly for the best performance and the best message translation to the audience. And the way to do that is to make it work on the hand that's going to perform it. "
About This Interview
In his almost two-hour Archive interview, Ed Christie talks about his early interest in the arts and his studies in art education. He shares how his life changed when he accepted an internship at Jim Henson's company in the spring of 1978. He describes continuing to work with Henson over the summer (when he flew to Los Angeles to work on "The Muppet Movie") and subsequently returning to the company after college graduation in early 1979. He speaks of the Henson workshop during these years (noting in some detail what was done on each floor of the building). Christie explains how the puppets and the props were stored in organized sections in Oxford files, and describes the step-by-step process of creating a puppet for Sesame Street. He offers his impressions of Jim Henson and his managerial style, and talks about the effect Henson's sudden death had on the company. He speaks of the various jobs he's held through his years as supervisor of Sesame Street, as workshop manager, and as Vice President of the company, while still retaining his title as Art Director. Christie discusses the changing hands of the show's production company, the rights to the characters, and his work collaborating with international producers on series based on the Sesame Street model, including shows in South Africa, Russia, and Bangladesh. Karen Herman conducted the interview on July 21, 2004 at the Sesame Workshop in New York, NY.