Being Elmo. A puppeteer’s journey

From Ellen Druda

Author:  Philip Shane

Title:  Being Elmo. A puppeteer’s journey [videorecording DVD]

This is the story of Kevin Clash, who grew up genetically disposed to a future as a puppeteer.  As a child on the poor side of Baltimore, he was an avid watcher of Captain Kangaroo and Disney, and when Sesame Street rolled out, his desire to escape to magical places found its means through puppet creation like those he saw on TV.  Cutting up his father’s fur coat, he fashioned his first puppet, and from then on there was no stopping him.  He researched and practiced, eventually making enough puppets to fill his parents’ house, doing shows for the neighborhood kids, which eventually lead to a regular spot on a local television show.  From there, it was a logical and fast progression to network TV, then movies, until he finally got to work for his hero, Jim Henson.  Once he was part of Sesame Street, he found Elmo, and suddenly, there was a magical connection.  Kevin’s inner child and years of apprenticeship made Elmo a star.  But being a celebrity took its toll on Kevin’s personal life as he committed to more and more travel and time in character, losing connection with his wife and daughter.  He’s come to a balance now, between the demands of Elmo and the other forces in his life, but for one man, being Elmo comes a bit easier than being Kevin.