For awhile, during my childhood, he was a hero of mine, and probably yours too. I watched him on television almost every day: listening to his stories, singing along with his songs, learning the lessons he delved out. He taught me my ABCs and how to count. He introduced me to his imaginary friend and he taught me that being a little different made you unique, not strange. I loved him.
He was on my lunchbox in kindergarten. I had a tee shirt or two with his picture on it, and countless books. And for his efforts he was given my undying attention, 4 Daytime Emmy Awards and 2 Grammy Awards, 2 Gold Records, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Library of Congress's Living Legend Award.
Mr. Spinney has performed in countless stage shows across Australia, China, Japan, and across Europe, has visited the White House multiple times, served as a recording artist on dozens of albums, conducted orchestras across the US and Canada, including the Boston Pops, and starred in theatrically-released movies with high-billing.
As a child, I learned many lessons from him. But as I became an adult, he taught me how to be independent, yet still need my friends; how to love my family, yet be able to create my own family around me; and that just because others don't see or believe what I do, does not make my ideas or beliefs wrong.
On April 22, at the 2006 Daytime Emmy Awards, Mr. Spinney will receive the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Lifetime Achievement Award. He was a wonderful influence on - well - just about all of us at one time or another. We should all be grateful for Carroll Spinney.
Who is he, you ask? You might know him better as this character.