I Am Big Bird: The Carrol Spinney Story


“Profiling the unseen puppeteer who has inhabited the feathered, 8-foot-tall creature that has long personified Sesame Street for some 45 years, I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story shines a much-deserved spotlight on this unheralded artist.

“The now-octogenarian Spinney reveals himself to be much like the character he portrays: a sunny optimist with a childlike nature, who clearly takes great delight in performing. Of course, that's probably not all of what he is, as demonstrated by the fact that he also plays the diametrically opposite Oscar the Grouch.

“The film relates the story of his life and career with a plethora of enlightening and entertaining anecdotes. Although Spinney's mother lovingly supported his fascination with puppets as a child, his emotionally volatile father was far less encouraging. Spinney attracted the attention of Jim Henson after delivering a mishap-plagued performance at a puppet festival. The Muppets creator offered him a job anyway, telling him, "I liked what you were trying to do."

“His early years working with Henson weren't immediately successful. He had trouble fitting in professionally. Spinney was on the verge of quitting when he literally and figuratively found his way into the character that he continues to portray to this day. His character became an international sensation. He traveled to China to appear on a television special with Bob Hope and even starred in his own feature film, 1985's Follow That Bird.

“There's fascinating behind-the-scenes footage that details the arduous physical demands of playing Big Bird. Interviews with such key figures as Frank Oz and the late Jane Henson provide further informational context. Even for adults who've long since moved on to other things, it's somehow comforting to know that the man inside the bird suit is just as lovable as the character he portrays.” - Hollywood Reporter


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