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Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey

“When a puppet is true and good and meaningful it’s the soul of the puppeteer that you’re seeing.” Frank Oz says in the intro to Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey. That’s the perfect summary of this new documentary about the career of the muppeteer, Kevin Clash. Being Elmo goes through the early years of Clash’s life with his fascination with the Sesame Street puppets so much that he creates his own puppets through everyday objects, like his father’s brown fur-like coat. It goes on to tell how he got into the television business by local stations Captain Kangaroo, working on Labyrinth and finally landing on Sesame Street. Also, it shows the phenomenon of the Tickle Me Elmo and his touring and fame because of it. But that’s not the charm of this small docu-flick, it’s learning about how a passion for something so obscure can gain success.

Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, Being Elmo is beautifully edited and put together to show the soul of this nervous puppeteer. Running an hour and 16 minutes it’s perfectly paced and interesting enough to hold any audience who appreciates the content. Unbelievable early footage of Clash with Jim Hensen and Frank Oz intertwines with the storytelling giving the viewer more excitement.

This is a documentary for those that have those childhood memories of Sesame Street and The Muppets. Those that have the appreciation for those franchises will further appreciate those that (literally) had their hand in the success because of their talent and their unique charm to bring those felt puppets to life. Trust me, it’s a joyful and easy watch.

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