Big Bird Actor Caroll Spinney Narrowly Escaped Being A Passenger On The Doomed Challenger Flight
The documentary “I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story” is in theaters now.
A documentary about the man who’s played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969 and still does. Caroll Spinney is the last of the original “Sesame Street”puppeteers. He helped start the show with Jim Henson and Frank Oz over 45 years ago.
Caroll Spinney, says that he was invited to ride the rocket and said yes, “because I could not ever imagine that I would be in the situation to orbit the earth.”
Fortunately for him, the invitation had to be revoked as the Big Bird costume was too large for the mission on the doomed shuttle.
“Big Bird couldn’t be stored on that spaceship,” he recalled. “There’s just no place to put him. The quarters were quite cramped.”
The actor vividly remembers watching Challenger’s disastrous launch. “We saw its fate and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I was supposed to be on that.'”
“But worse than that selfish thought,” he continued, “I felt, ‘Oh my god, those poor people. They’re gone.'”
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Photo: Wikimedia Commons