Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reeve on Sesame Street

Yesterday's post was about Christopher Reeve guest star appearance on The Muppet Showback in 1980. Here's an interesting tidbit about Reeve and the Muppets from Muppet Wiki page on Christopher Reeve:

"Reeve first became friends with Jim Henson and Frank Oz while filming Superman: The Movie outside of London, at a nearby studio. He occasionally supplied background voices and was invited to manipulate on of the Japanese Pole Vaulters in episode 221 of The Muppet Show."

In the episode, Miss Piggy had quite a crush on the man of steel as is seen here in this little picture of her dressing room:

Here's the closing of the show, in which Piggy's patented karake chop is thwarted by Reeve's superior strength--something that seldom happens to our ham-fisted heroine:

Unlike the Muppet show, today's post will end a bit heavier. Of course the Muppets lost their own great superhero in 1990 when Jim Henson died. The Muppets aren't all about Henson, but without him they certainly never would have been.

In 1995, Christopher Reeve was paralyzed when he was thrown from a horse during an equestrian competition. From that time until his death in 2004 he lobbied for stem-cell research and became a public face for people with spinal cord injuries.  Here is a clip of Christopher Reeve and his son Will on Sesame Street in 2000:

Reeve's appearance on Sesame Street is beautifully tragic. Sesame Street, just like a child, has always dealt directly with all kinds of "difficult" issues (such as Mr. Hooper's death in 1983). Big Bird talks about his wheel chair in such a matter-of-fact way, as if he were discussing a new shirt or hair cut. Amazing. The clip is so well done in that it doesn't speak down to kids. It doesn't tell them what they should think. It's all real raw presentation. I don't know what else to say but amazing.

I don't want to get too cerebral in analyzing the appeal of the Muppets. I just want to end simply by saying that I, for one, think they make the world a much better place.

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