Director Paul Fierlinger's life story is so extraordinary that for years people told him he should write a book. "Well of course, since I don't write," says Fierlinger, the animator who created the Teeny Little Superguy on Sesame Street, "I realized that I could only tell my story through my art-which is animation." Fierlinger, the son of a Czech diplomat, was born in Japan. The Fierlingers were on their home back to Czechoslovakia when they learned that Hitler had invaded their country. Fierlinger spent World War II in America in a series of foster homes. After the war, his family returned to Czechoslovakia and, speaking only Japanese and English, Fierlinger entered a prestigious Czech school. Although his classmates included Milos Forman and Czech president Vaclav Havel, Fierlinger became the quintessential foreigner within. He dreamed of an idyllic America and resented his privileged life as the son of a member of Czechoslovakia's ruling Communist elite. In 1967, before Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia, he made a daring escape.
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