The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on March 15, 1984 · Page 40
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The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia · Page 40

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Location:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date:
Thursday, March 15, 1984
Page:
Page 40
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6 Thursday 15 March 1984 KgTi:if8TTTTTTTTTTTm YAMAHA COMPACT DISC. $599 SCOOP RELEASE. TRUE, SECOND GENERATION. CD-X1 WITH ADVANCED YAMAHA LSI CIRCUITRY. WE HAVE THE FULL RANGE OF , FAMOUS DIRECTREFLECTING BOSE SPEAKERS. MODEL 201. MODEL 301 B. MODEL 501 HI. MODEL 601 M. MODEL 901 V ALL HAVE INCREDIBLDYNAMIC RANGE AND DEPTH. TO SHOW THE NEW DIGITAL DISC TO THE FULLEST ADVANTAGE. STOCKS STILL AVAILABLE OF THE MODEL 201 AT OUR SPECIAL SCOOP OF $299. Normally $460. CHECK OUT THE LATEST RELEASE OF BOSE FLUSH-MOUNT CAR HI-FI SPEAKERS. REAL HI-FI ON WHEELS AT $289 PR. COMPACT CRQQ was DISC. 03a $1299 ALSO STEREO VIDEO AND TELEVISION. GERMANY'S FINEST. GERMANY'S FINEST AUDIOPMLE TURNTABLES STARTING FROM $399 COMPLETE WITH ARM. NORDMENDE THORgN5 TRADE-INS WELCOMED. CHECK OUR TRADE-IN CORNER TURNTABLES FROM $49. AMPLIFIERS FROM $29. TUNERS FROM $ 1 00. RECEIVERS FROM $ 1 49. CASSETTE DECKS FROM $39. SPEAKERS FROM $89 pr. BULK TAPES. AUDIO OBLIGATION QUOTE. AND VIDEO. RING NOW FOR NO DENMSN AUDIO JO St Rlda Road. St KkU. Phone 534 4788 JUST NEAR THE JUNCTION 3 MTHS. INTEREST FREE TO APPROVED CUSTOMERS (Late Nights Wed. Thursday Open tHI 8 pm) (Lay-ByBank cardCashTnde-lns) Would you believe, rent a TV and video from $1.64 a day! Make 1 984 the year to watch with your very own colour TV and video recorder from as little as $1 .64 a day - all fully guaranteed! Minimum contract period 1 2 months. vrccottzimE Box Hill 8982339; Dandenong 791 4784; Footscray 6894275; Frankston 781 2097; Geelong 92535; Knox 221 5211; Preston 470 1260; Richmond 4295066. VH 2076 BB&G VIC i r 1 1 t-nawTssT- .;:vovii'ssw ioasfl -HDimts-. sjiraDiiaasIhis mw THE Chinese know him as Da Nao, the Hawaians as Manu Nui, the Japanese as Oki Na Tori, the French as Le Grand Oiseau and the Germans as just plain Bibo mainly because the literal translation. Gross Vogel, didn't sound so crash hot He is the star of Iftah Ya Simsim, if you live in Kuwait, Sesamstrasse if you live in Germany, Plaza Sesamo in Spanish-speaking countries and Sesamstraat in Holland. Millions of English-speaking children (and adults) know him less exoti: cally as Big Bird, that lovable yellow feather duster who lives on Sesame Street, created 15 years ago by Jim Henson, then of the Children's Television Workshop (later. The Muppets) to improve literacy and numeracy among disadvantaged American preschoolers, but in an entertaining format In fact, the program became so popular that when the producers tried to test the success of their concept with regular viewers of Sesame Street against a control group of children unfamiliar with the show, they couldn't find enough youngsters who had not seen it the viewership was at nearr saturation point. Big Bird is on his second visit to Australia, this time for Moomba, but he was feeling a trifle jet-lagged so his alter ego, Carroll spinney, spoke Green Guide on behalf of his special friend, affectionately and . simply known as "The Bird .; Spinney, who has done 2000 epi sodes of Sesame Street, Since JOiau me company m io wdobji bered five members compart now, said Big Bird was introduce the Street when it was found chii related more to Bert and Ernie, fantasy puppet element, than the si which was designed to be Every Street in the poor part of Every Town. "Big Bird, who was actually based on a dragon Jim once had, was never designed to be the star, just for moments of frivolity between the teaching bits which we try to slip in so the kids don't notice," Spinney said. "But gradually, after the writers learned more about him and I learned more about him, because half his lines are ad libbed, he became the kids favorite. From the letters I get 90 per cent of children relate to Big Bird on the 'please come over to my house and play' basis, they see him as another child, not a grown-up or an authority figure with whom they have to deal on an official level." In addition to the three Rs, Sesame Street also successfully teaches children about life and the world around them and the character of Big Bird is By BARBARA HOOKS often used as a vehicle to explain many "difficult concepts to the young audience. ''One of the things that I have tried to program into The Bird is compassion. The fact that he is a bird is really incidental he's at hitman as any- For (injleNRlae' actor who plgI Mr KoopeU the storekeep er, 6ie$ox cancer repnuy and it was tbjesgj&The Bird thf &4eath was W twepid be upfront "ar aie too; otners thougiW j? Jetire to Florida and sewLii I once in a while andujtfs&fiL.- pthought that if we I$itpi$t" jb6uld still use reruns jOafflje did. " AnywSpfftttlaKy .apprehensive becausthe writer who was assigned to ibis script Is j& very funny writer, a real yuk-yulr writer, but I was Absolutely delighted with the depth and the warmth that he got mto it. We did one take and we couldn't have done It better, it's as? good as ling that I've seen dealing with for cmidrenr This show, like all controversial. material, was tested on a group of three, four and five-year-olds. Only a few of the three-year-olds grasped the Idea that Mr Hooper would never come back but about nail the four- I year-olds and all but one five-year-old understood. " Death jssuu the hardest concept to get over J haven't accepted it yet myself," Carroll Spinney" said. Big Bird also 4iad to deal with sibiJ rivalry when the programfs Indian anger, Burry sam ra birth to bar so&l&dy. 'SfNOred to tell The Bird India sto nes,! -ot-lJtttxWjacody startl v 2Sy irfJtei time, he moug&aLM:',Are you reallyfeiBtfcBmfcitfoy!' It was real! caja playtogLOscar dew Mribn BSstetev t' ixnmfc because I wotai'tcros Carr- trash :the ru the antithesis "Oscs but tha Oscar I talk schizzoJut playing a I must say. V which I don' n 4 cnaracxeri ttulcaiWJ out of a the Grouch, ision" and rd. The Bird don't like the street to him. I'm not izxo situation doa'tevenlike.I dark admit I Have resents the grump in everyone's life, Carroll Spin ney is concerned about the development of the character. "He's obnoxious and rude but somehow, the way he is written, It appears that that is the cool way to be and I think that's the worst way in the world to be. I keep asking 'why is he on the show?', 'what are we trying to demonstrate with this character?' And he has been winning too much lately. He needs a pie in his face. In one of the scenes which ends this year's series he's rude and horrible to this pathetic little monster and makes him cry. It was a take and the show goes to air that way. I was very disappointed. Still, no show is perfect and looking at our competition, we're holding our own." There are a few subjects which Sesame Street doesn't deal with sexuality for example although Carroll Spinney joked that the show had dealt with full frontal nudity, when young Cody took a bath. "It's very hard to touch every element although we sure try and we try to be very responsible because people's babies are watching and if we're standing there corrupting them, then shame on us." AS a performer, Carroll Spinney does&t nndrfish and feathers limiting at all: "I think of myself as a puppeteer not an actor, whose major reason for being there is to be seen. I say, xtoa't look at me, don't look at me, don't take my picture'. I hate recognition; it destroys the fantasy. You should see the disappointment on children's fates when someone says, 'hey, do youqknow who that is?' Their faces Jatmple." ipfpthough Sesame Street has paved fhe way for children's television in the US, and despite the efforts of several action groups, Carroll Spinney believes children's viewing today is in a worse state than it ever has been. He attributes the reason to a lack of qualified people in the industry, poor pay and low status and a presidential administration intent on "deregulating everything".' "The networks are now showing 18 minutes of advertising in the hour and it could go as high as 24 within a year or two. I know I'm talking about the hand that feeds me but I frankly think children are given greater disservice by network television and I think it would have been better if it had never been invented." It's a subject Carroll Spinney cares deeply about because "kids are the best people in the world they're not rotten yet". Happily, Sesame Street at least has the power to counter-balance what he describes as knife-in-the-back entertainment. Sadly, it seems, alone. 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