A fascinating look behind the curtain of Sesame Street, Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey spotlights one of the most adored characters in the world — and the near-anonymous man who brings him to life, Kevin Clash. Constance Marks and Philip Shane’s documentary traces Clash’s modest beginnings in Baltimore, where he dreamed of joining the family of Jim Henson puppeteers, to becoming one of the key creative forces behind today’s Sesame Street as a producer, writer and, of course, performer. Clash is a humble and likable personality, and a good sport as he allows his alter ego to inevitably steal the show; while the sight of Elmo being attached to the arm of a puppeteer takes some getting used to, seeing how the heart and soul of Sesame Street actually “works” somehow makes him even more magical and endearing. Narrated with a genuine sense of amusement by Whoopi Goldberg, the film also includes interviews with Clash’s Sesame Street colleagues Carroll Spinney, Marty Robinson, Fran Brill and Bill Barretta, as well as Joan Ganz Cooney (founder of the Children’s Television Workshop) and, of course, Frank Oz.
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