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Joseph Scarbrough launched what he called "The Scarblog" as a way of cataloging his work over the years, as well as going into greater detail of things on his mind (known as "Unfinished Thoughts").

Friday, August 24, 2012

R.I.P. Jerry Nelson

How sad is it that you go to sleep one night, without worrying about any significant problems, other than your own personal ones, and then wake up the next morning to learn that one of the greats has passed on? Well, that's pretty much what has happened, I was deeply saddened at the news I read when I woke up this morning, that the puppetry world has just lost one of the greatest puppeteers that could ever be produced.

 

Unless you're completely emersed into puppetry like I am, you may know his characters, and you certainly know his voice, but you may not know his name: Jerry Nelson. Growing up, a lot of us got to know the numerical vampire Count Von Count, the bumbling but ever persistent magician The Amazing Mumford, the big but lovable monster Herry, and even the clueless detective always on the hunt for clues Sherlock Hemlock from Sesame Street, elsewhere on The Muppet Show, we rocked with Sergeant Floyd Pepper, bassist of the Electric Mayhem, we dodged those boomerang fish being thrown by Lew Zealand, we adored Kermit the Frog's kid nephew Robin, we were spooked by the phantom of the Muppet Theater Uncle Deadly, we were in awe of the massive size of shaggy blue monster Thog. And even down at Fraggle Rock, we were alway in on the Fraggles, led by Gobo Fraggle, and we sought council from the all-knowing Trash Heap. And the songs. The songs that we grew up listening to, and never got tired of... even Jim Henson said Jerry Nelson was responsible for some of the best singing the Muppets had to offer, and it really wasn't too long ago that Jerry released his own album, Truro Daydreams; and throughout this past year, writer Craig Shemin has been sharing candid, backstage footage of Jerry's Truro recording sessions.




Similar to Frank Oz, Jerry had retired from performing his Classic Muppet characters (and I certainly do commend Matt Vogel for the terrific job he did giving those characters new life in The Muppets (2011)), and while health reasons prevented him from doing any actual puppetry, he still continued to dub the voices of his beloved and cherished Sesame Street characters. Still, in spite of the fact that we knew he wasn't in the best of health, and was living on borrowed time, to me, this still seems too soon, and too sudden. This has certainly been a rather bad year for celebrity deaths, but this one hits much closer to home for me (like Andy Griffith last month)... I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Jerry has left us now. I do know, though, that my fellow Muppet Freaks will always and forever keep his legacy alive for many more years to come... so, why not take the time today to revisit some of those memories of yesteryears: count along with The Count, have a peanut butter sandwich while watching Mumford screw up his latest magic trick, let the sounds of the man with a thousand magnificent voices fill your head as you sing along to the songs you grew up with, and remember the joy and happiness the man, the Muppeteer, the legend brought to us.

We'll certainly miss you Jerry Nelson. Thank you for all that you've brought to us. Say hello to Jim Henson and Richard Hunt for us.

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