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Around Myers Hollow
Feathered Friend
Senior Class Selects Caroll Spinney as Speaker

Named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, Big Bird has captivated children around the world for more than 30 years, thanks to puppeteer Caroll Spinney, the man behind the famed feathered one from the beginning. The Class of 2004 will have the opportunity to hear Spinney’s words of wisdom as he presents the keynote address during Wittenberg’s 159th Commencement exercises, May 15.

Spinney first caught the attention of Muppets’ creator Jim Henson back in 1969 while Spinney was performing a combined puppetry and animation show at the Puppeteers of America Festival in Salt Lake City. Following the performance, Henson persuaded Spinney to come to New York to join the cast of Sesame Street, which premiered later that year. Since then, Spinney’s characters, including Oscar the Grouch, have been seen on more than 3,900 shows in 148 countries.

In his book The Wisdom of Big Bird (And the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch): Lessons from a Life in Feathers, Spinney vividly recalls a life enriched by pursuing and attaining his childhood dream. In an honest and endearing tone, he also shares the wisdom he has gleaned from portraying one of the world’s most beloved characters, noting that innovation, optimism, knowledge and diversity are the values around which Sesame Street is built.

Determined to be “a set puppeteer on the best kids’ show in the world,” Spinney launched his television career in Las Vegas, where he created a show titled Rascal Rabbit in 1955 after attending art school in Boston. Upon his return to Boston, Spinney joined the Judy and Goggle Show as a puppeteer and then moved to The Bozo Show where he remained for 10 years.

Since achieving worldwide renown, Spinney has appeared on numerous television shows, always as Big Bird and Oscar. He has also performed in specials with Julie Andrews and Bob Hope, and he starred in his own 90-minute special, Big Bird in China, in 1982. Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird marked Spinney’s motion picture debut in a starring role.

Winner of four Emmy awards, two Gold records and two Grammy Awards, Sesame Street has been honored for its groundbreaking work in using the power of the media to help children reach their highest potential. For more information on Commencement activities, log on to www.wittenberg.edu. headline



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In This Issue Around Myers Hollow
Education
Witt World
Tiger Sports
Alumni World
Class Notes
Reflections
Last Word