Characters:
Big Bird wave Ilovetrash
Big Bird Oscar the Grouch
Understudy/successor:
Matt Vogel
Since 1997
Understudy/successor:
Eric Jacobson
Since 2015





Big Bird

BirdandVogel

Matt Vogel has served as Caroll Spinney's understudy for Big Bird, since 1997. In most cases before Season 48, Vogel would manipulate the puppet to Spinney's vocals (either pre-recorded, dubbed in post-production, or provided live on set); however, there have been several appearances and performances where Vogel has provided the vocals for Big Bird as well, most notably in the Journey to Ernie segments that ran from 2002 to 2005. Spinney stopped puppeteering altogether in 2015, and retired from vocal work in 2018.[1]

Appearances where Matt Vogel performed Big Bird's voice (prior to season 48):

Spinney-Vogel-SS-BTS

Spinney and Vogel on the set

Instances where Matt Vogel performed Big Bird to Caroll Spinney's voice (prior to season 46)

  • Sesame Street
    • Episode 3698: In scenes that feature Oscar in the same shot.[2]
    • Episode 3790: In scenes that feature Oscar in the same shot.
    • Episode 3831: In Scene 7, where Oscar and Big Bird appear together.
    • Episode 3838: In Scene 5, when Oscar and Big Bird are in Hooper's Store.
    • Episode 3845: Vogel briefly performs Big Bird in Scene 1, in the first flashback where Fluffy is tap dancing in Oscar's can. After Fluffy returns inside Oscar's can, Spinney takes over. Vogel later performs the bird during "Great Big Beautiful World."
    • Episode 3851: In Scene 3, Vogel briefly performs Big Bird as he and Elmo practice the tango.
    • Episode 3863: In Scene 3, when Oscar declines attending Big Bird's show-and-tell, Vogel performs Big Bird.
    • Episode 3997: Spinney performs Big Bird for Scene 1 and parts of Scene 2, but because the storyline is mainly about Oscar, Vogel performs Big Bird in other instances where he and Oscar share a scene.
    • Episode 4021: At the end of Scene 2, from the line "The same as when you meet a bird for the first time, Gulliver" and singing "How Do You Do?" with the cast.
    • Episode 4041: An Oscar-centric episode, Vogel puppeteers Big Bird for his cameo at the beginning of Scene 1, where he briefly interacts with Oscar, and in Scene 3.
    • Episode 4039: Vogel performs Big Bird to a vocal track in a scene where he visits the Mail It Shop, and again in the closing scene.
    • Episode 4109: Vogel performs Big Bird during the song "Everyone Needs a Friend" to Spinney's vocals.
    • Episode 4187: Vogel performs Big Bird to Spinney's vocals in chroma key sequences and in the final musical number "This is My Home."
    • Episode 4203
    • Episode 4206: Vogel performs Big Bird in a brief shot showing the aftermath of his crash, where he is wedged inside the low wall in front of 123 Sesame Street.
    • Episode 4266: In scenes where Big Bird and Oscar appear in the same shot.
    • Episode 4512: Vogel performs Big Bird for the entire street story, while Spinney provides the voice.
    • Vogel puppeteers Big Bird for the songs "What I Am," "Elmo's Got the Moves," and "That's Cooperation."
    • Two bumpers where Big Bird and Snuffy introduce the letter of the day and an alphabet segment.
    • Music Works Wonders: In the scene immediately following "All Over the World," as characters leave the scene starting with Oscar. Big Bird adds "And I'll get a few more birds!"

Oscar the Grouch

Oscar-LWT

Oscar on Last Week Tonight

By 2015, Eric Jacobson became Spinney's understudy for Oscar the Grouch; often lip-syncing to a prerecorded vocal track by Spinney, and other times doing the voice himself. Spinney stopped puppeteering altogether in 2015, and retired from vocal work in 2018.[1]

Appearances where Eric Jacobson performed Oscar's voice (prior to season 48):

Caroll Spinney's final performances

SpinneyFinalDay

Caroll Spinney reading his lines on the Sesame Street set, on his last day before retiring.

Though Caroll Spinney ceased puppeteering in 2015 due to physical setbacks, he continued to regularly voice Big Bird and Oscar for Seasons 46 and 47 of Sesame Street and in select prerecorded material, including the following:

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 The New York Times "Original Big Bird, Caroll Spinney, Leaves Sesame Street After Nearly 50 Years" by Dave Itzkoff, Oct. 17, 2018
  2. On-set photo

See also

Start a Discussion Discussions about Caroll Spinney character transitions

  • Matt Vogel and transition page duplication

    4 messages
    • That's what I'm thinking myself. Moving might even allow for the remaining text noting the overlap to be reworked into the main text.
    • Yeah, something like that should be its own article, not stuffed on the performer's page.
  • Caroll's last performances

    2 messages
    • Should we include a full list of Caroll's later performaces (beginning with 2014 or so before he stopped puppeteering full-time) as a sect...
    • Personally, I like the idea of a complete list of who performed Big Bird beginning all the way back to when Matt started. I realize for a while...
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