On October 17, 2018, Caroll Spinney officially announced his retirement from performing Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street. The following day, Spinney recorded his last dialogue for the characters for an episode for the 50th season. Following the taping, the cast and crew moved next door to the Museum of the Moving Image for a private retirement party in Spinney's honor.
The party involved a live show, written primarily by Andrew Moriarty and adapted some material scripted by Craig Shemin for the Puppets for Puppetry event honoring Spinney earlier in the year. Following the live show, a reception was held in the lobby of the MOMI, where a poser of Oscar was stationed for photo ops, as well as a specially made cake of Caroll created by Carlo's Bakery.
The live show was hosted by Matt Vogel, who began the program dressed in a Birdketeer uniform and addressing the crowd to celebrate the club's 50th anniversary meeting to honor Caroll. Eric Jacobson appeared, dressed for a Grouchketeer meeting honoring Caroll as well. Martin P. Robinson then stepped out as a Snuffketeer, pointing out that Caroll is an honorary member of his club as well.
Robinson then introduced Sesame Workshop C.E.O. Jeffery Dunn with a speech on Caroll's impact on the show. Dunn also read a letter written by Joan Ganz Cooney and presented Caroll with a specially-made cuckoo clock depicting Big Bird and Oscar at 123 Sesame Street.
A What's My Line? parody followed, hosted by Guy Smiley. Blindfolded contestants Ernie, Cookie Monster and Count von Count tried to guess who their mystery celebrity was (Caroll, naturally). The sketch was then followed by clips of Caroll's own appearance on the program in 1972.
Martin P. Robinson came back out and delivered a message to Big Bird as Mr. Snuffleupagus, without the puppet and using a cup to help simulate the voice.
Alan Muraoka starred as Caroll in a sketch called "Great Moments in Spinney History," which walked through his entire career from Bozo's Big Top, with a Muppet version of Bozo (performed by Peter Linz), to meeting Jim Henson (an Anything Muppet performed by Eric Jacobson) and meeting his wife, Debra Spinney (also an Anything Muppet, played by Jennifer Barnhart).
Following a pre-taped message from Frank Oz, Pam Arciero, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, Carmen Osbahr, Stephanie D'Abruzzo and Jennifer Barnhart performed a spoof of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" about Caroll.
The show ended with a performance of "Sing" by the entire cast, including Emilio Delgado, Matt Vogel (as the Count), John Kennedy (as the Amazing Mumford), Ryan Dillon (as Elmo), Jennifer Barnhart (as Zoe), Peter Linz (as Ernie), Tyler Bunch (as Louie), Leslie Carrara-Rudolph (as Abby), Alan Muraoka, Desiree Casado, Loretta Long, Frankie Cordero (as Rudy), Pam Arciero (as Grundgetta), Stacey Gordon (as Julia), Lara MacLean (as Grover), Bryant Young, Alison Bartlett, Sonia Manzano, Martin P. Robinson (as Telly), Fran Brill, Stephanie D'Abruzzo (as Prairie Dawn), Carmen Osbahr (as Rosita), Suki Lopez, David Rudman (as Cookie Monster), Eric Jacobson (as Oscar) and Big Bird.
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