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I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story (2014)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography, Drama | 6 May 2015 (USA)
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1:40 | Trailer

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Caroll Spinney has been Sesame Street's Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969; at 78-years-old, he has no intention of stopping.

Directors:

Dave LaMattina, Chad N. Walker (as Chad Walker)

Writer:

Dave LaMattina
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Frank Oz ... Himself
Jim Henson ... Additional Muppets / Himself (archive footage)
Roscoe Orman ... Himself
Caroll Spinney ... Himself
Sonia Manzano ... Herself
Steve Whitmire ... Himself (archive footage)
Eric Jacobson ... Himself
Alison Bartlett ... Herself
Jerry Nelson ... Himself
Emilio Delgado ... Himself
Dave Goelz ... Himself
Bob McGrath Bob McGrath ... Himself
Fran Brill Fran Brill ... Herself
Matt Vogel ... Himself
Leslie Carrara Leslie Carrara ... Herself
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Storyline

Think you know everything there is to know about Sesame Street? You don't. You might know that Frank Oz turned down an offer to play Big Bird, but you probably don't know that until a last minute change of heart by NASA, Big Bird was supposed to go to space aboard the Challenger. Or you may know that Oscar the Grouch got his voice from a cantankerous cabbie, but you'd be surprised to learn that a fire in his trash can almost led to Caroll's untimely demise. Caroll's stories are the stuff of legend. He has been a constant presence in our lives for over 40 years, his path weaving through American history like that of Forrest Gump. His time inside the Bird has taught him about the world and about himself. I AM BIG BIRD will peel away the instances in Caroll's life that inspired his creation of characters that influenced generations of children. And, as the yellow feathers give way to gray hair, it is the man, not the puppet, who will steal your heart. Written by CPP

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Big Bird guided you through childhood. Let Caroll take you the rest of the way.


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 May 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Am Big Bird See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$100,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,000, 10 May 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$13,000, 10 May 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Copper Pot Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was partially funded by fan donations. More than $120,000 was raised for the film after people donated amounts between $1 and $10,000. See more »

Quotes

Sonia Manzano: I have always loved Big Bird because he's... complicated. So he has a lot of emotional qualities that a lot of the Muppets don't have.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A segment about an incident where a caretaker of the Spinney property hit a jogger with his car and hid the body in a shed without the Spinney's knowledge was removed from the film when it was released on VOD and iTunes. See more »

Connections

Features Follow That Bird (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

Big for the whole family.
19 May 2015 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

"He didn't fit in, and he knew it." Frank Oz

I Am Big Bird: the Caroll Spinney Story is a big, feel good doc about the man under the bird for over 40 years. While Big Bird is arguably the best known animal icon for kids in the world, relatively few know the soul of that puppet, much less the workings of its animated presence on Sesame Street.

Caroll Spinney's story, as told in this documentary for all ages, is an upbeat survey of a life well lived for children by him and other geniuses like Jim Henson, for whom puppets were an expression of the highest creativity even when the circumstances are not as perfect as the kids' perception of Big Bird.

Directors Dave LaMattina and Chad N. Walker do not sugar coat or dumb down Spinney's story: He was initially wracked with doubt about his abilities, his director did not like him for unknown reasons, and his role was alone amidst the very social other members and roles of the cast. Yet out of this isolation came a character that showed his humanity in ways different from everyone else, to such a successful extent that NASA invited him to fly with Challenger. That role's last minute cancellation spared Spinney's life and saved him for generations of youngsters.

The Challenger tragedy and his contemplation of suicide keep this doc from being too sweet, peppering it with the kind of reality Sesame Street never shied away from, and in the case of Henson's death, was able to turn the grief into a lesson for the kids.


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