Sesame Street Blog

Sesame Family Robinson – From making Muppets to Raising Moppets

Entries with tag tagjuly2010 .

HANDYMAN'S Emmy adventure

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Learn more about the Man behind the Hand

Dear Marty,

I’ve been showing your HandyMan films to all my friends because they crack me up. I sometimes make my fingers walk like that to amuse my kids, but I never thought about making it into a character. It’s amazing how expressive HandyMan is! Where did you get the idea for HandyMan? What’s the trick to making it look so real?

 All the very best,
Mountain View, CA

Dear Tom,

Thanks for enjoying the HandyMan films. Often while I am editing them, I will sit there and crack myself up. It’s nice to know there are other folks out there that like them too. I would be surprised if there were any culture on planet earth that did not make their fingers walk to represent a human. I wrote a little explanation of HandyMan a while back for the blog; it may explain more. There is no real trick to making him look real, except that I am a puppeteer—it’s what I do. After wiggling dollies for 35 years you either get good at it, or you go mad. I, of course, have gone raving mad.

Come back next Monday for a new HandyMan movie!

Move Over, Imelda Marcos!

Word of the Day: Shoes!

Shoes fascinate Ripley and Lyra. They don’t say the word yet, but they most certainly know it. I can say, “Lyra, go get your shoes,” and she’ll walk into the rumpus room and return with them. Lyra and Ripley will sit on the steps for long periods of time, trying to get their shoes on. The Velcro on their sandals is a wonderful, noisy toy. They open and close it, pull their shoes off, then try to get them back on and close the Velcro. They also love trying to put our shoes on our feet. I’ll hold my foot up very straight and the girls will try to maneuver my flip-flops around my big toe. Marty always likes to let them choose their shoes in the morning. They both seem to prefer the fancy ones. I’m partial to their Converse high tops but they’ve already outgrown them. They don’t have a sense of ownership yet, so we haven’t had to deal with the problem of whose shoes are whose. We’ll have to wait and see what shoe-filled path we walk on that score, but for now, shoes are a constant avenue of enjoyment.

Here’s a HandyMan film by Marty about shoes:

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Travel Broadens our Minds.

Curriculum of the Day: The World and the People in It.

Marty and I are very, very lucky. We get to travel around the world teaching workshops at the various Sesame co-productions. It has given us many wonderful friends from many vastly different cultures. Through these friendships, we’ve come to believe that we are truly all one tribe and only a few troublemakers are making the problems the world is facing today. It is our great hope that we can continue to bring the girls with us on these teaching trips. They’ve already gone with us to Northern Ireland when we did a workshop for Sesame Tree. Telly came along and did a little sight-seeing. There have also been times when only one of us has been asked to do a workshop. Last year, I spent a week in Bangladesh helping start the sixth season of Sisimpur. We were able to keep in touch via telephone where I sang to them “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Ripley finally hung up on me. Recently, Marty went to China for a workshop. This time, I put my computer on the kitchen table and every morning we called each other using Skype so the girls could actually see and talk with their dad. It worked beautifully. At one point, I asked them. “Where is Daddy?” and they pointed at the screen—modern kids in the making!

HandyMan also went to China on this trip: 

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Like your family we have twins, boy/girl, that turned three last month. I saw your blog entry for January and it looks like we have something in common, potty training twins. Like one of your girls, my son WILL NOT pee in the potty but his sister was doing well until she caught on to "Bubbie" not trying. I was just letting things run their course but our local pre-schools/mommy day out programs require the children to be potty trained and this mommy needs a day out. Bribery isn't working. Have you had any success?


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How often is the telly puppet renewed or replaced?

Katherine Sydney, Australia

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I read in 40 Years of Life on the Street about an incident involving Snuffy's puppet where a sombrero caused the wood frame to collapse on you and Bryant Young. Did they rebuild the puppet after that or did they just make a new one?


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I just wanted to say thanks for the blog. My daughter Kylie (who just turned two yesterday) loves to ask if we are going to see "the babies." Thank you so much to you and Marty for bringing the joy of Sesame Street into our lives every day.

Kendal and Kylie Montreal, Canada

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I've noticed that there are fewer Muppets and people in an episode now than there were twenty years ago. Does everyone show up on the set for filming days or only certain ones? Who decides who gets to play the Anything Muppets? There are some voices I hear more than others.


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