Weeks ago I made the decision to download Elmo Loves ABCs for iPad so my daughter could learn while playing. I could not imagine that I would find interesting facts about the puppet called Elmo.
Does Everyone Really Know Elmo?
For years Elmo has earned the most popular Sesame Street character title. In 1996 when the Tickle Me Elmo Doll was released some people went wild just to get their hands on a cute representation of Elmo.
My daughter was first attracted to the the puppet in the Elmo ABC’s app. I started switching our daily routine of watching Payasa Agapita videos and went searching for Elmo videos.
While searching I found this interview of Kevin Clash. He popped up on my Elmo search because he happens to be the person who brings Elmo to life.
After watching the interview I was intrigued to know a bit more about Kevin’s life but when my daughter kept on requesting more fun videos I left it as a task to do later.
As I searched in the iTunes store on my Mac for some iPad apps that where on sale I found an ad to rent the Documentary on Kevin Clash called “Being Elmo”.
Since my daughter is such a big fan I saw the opportunity to pay .99 cents to watch a documentary on a Muppet and Puppeteer that has fascinated so many. By the end of the documentary, I became a bigger fan.
Getting to Know Kevin
Kevin grew up in a rough part of Maryland with very limited resources. I quickly found many similarities in how Kevin was brought up and how I was brought up. His parents motivated him when he started creating puppets; they sacrificed living space to nurture Kevin’s Dream. I remember when I set up my first business grooming dogs, my parents gave me a part of our common living space so I could take care of my clients.
Kevin also wanted to go to Disney as a child; I also wanted to do that. Both of our families could not afford a visit to Disney so similar to me, I ended up going to Disney as an adult with co-workers. When Kevin finally reached Disney World he was accompanying the great and late Jim Henson.
Body of Work
Kevin started creating puppets at a very early age. Where Kevin’s story really won me over was when I saw his work bringing smiles to children with special needs. In another part of the documentary, he makes a child feel very special by giving her a similar opportunity that he got when he was a starting out in the industry.
Bringing Elmo to life requires many sacrifices. In the documentary you can see that his career took time away from his most amazing creation, his daughter. I find it very moving to see how he seeks a balance of being present as a dad and continuing with all his commitments with Sesame Street and other projects.
Elmo is about Love
Getting to see the behind the scenes of Elmo and Kevin’s great body of work, I was amazed that Elmo is a representation of those Papaheroes in Kevin’s life.
His parents nurtured Kevin’s creativity from the start. The love they gave him exceeded anything else. I interpreted Elmo being a tribute to Kevin’s mom and dad. Elmo is a reminder to spread love and strive towards leaving a legacy behind.
I recommend watching the documentary with your family. Also be ready to shed a tear or many like we did.
More about Being Elmo