Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Steve Whitmire Responds To Departure!

Our friends at ToughPigs discovered what appears to be a newly created blog by non other than Steve Whitmire. 

While the blog has yet to be verified, the bio sounds very authentic:

About Me

When I was a kid growing up in Atlanta, I’d beg my parents to let me stay up to see Rowlf the Dog on The Jimmy Dean Show. Though I was only five, I distinctly recall his large, black mouth on our black and white television, and thinking it was something you could climb inside of. Little did I know…Even then, I knew he was a puppet, but I was mesmerized by the ‘magic’ of how he was able to do what he did.
The Muppets have been a part of my whole life, and by the time I was ten they became an undeniable calling. After nine teenage years of being the nerdy puppet guy, I met Carroll Spinney at a puppetry festival and after seeing my puppets he suggested I contact Jim Henson to audition. I joined The Muppets less than a year later in 1978 at age nineteen and was involved in virtually every Muppet endeavor up to 2016. Who knows what the future will hold…that’s what the edit button is for. 
Though I may be most well known as Jim’s choice to step in as Kermit the Frog, in all honesty arguably my favorite work goes straight back to Rowlf when I would assist Jim as Rowlf’s piano playing hands. 
My immediate goal for this blog is to leave anyone interested in the Muppets at any level, past, present, or future, with the deepest possible understanding of my discoveries in taking the intangibles of Jim’s unique methodologies and giving them a basis in fact.
Still the nerdy puppet guy at heart,
That certainly sound like same guy that took this photo as a kid:

 In his first post, Steve directly addresses the issue of his leaving The Muppets.  
It’s Time To Get Things Started…

Dear Friends, 
In 1978 when I was asked to join The Muppet Show, the Muppets were the hottest thing on the planet. I was invited to sit at the feet of the true masters, Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, and Dave Goelz; working alongside them, absorbing different skills from each, as we, along with many talented others, contributed towards the same shared vision, the vision of one man. The result became a skill-set for myself that was sort of a compilation of the best of them all. 
For me the Muppets are not just a job, or a career, or even a passion. They are a calling, an urgent, undeniable, impossible to resist way of life. This is my life’s work since I was 19 years old. I feel that I am at the top of my game, and I want all of you who love the Muppets to know that I would never consider abandoning Kermit or any of the others because to do so would be to forsake the assignment entrusted to me by Jim Henson, my friend and mentor, but even more, my hero.
As I am sure you can imagine, I have experienced every possible emotion since October 2016, when I received a phone call from The Muppets Studio’s executives to say they were recasting. Through a new business representative, I have offered multiple remedies to their two stated issues which had never been mentioned to me prior to that phone call. I wish that we could have sat down, looked each other in the eye, and discussed what was on their minds before they took such a drastic action. 
I have remained silent the last nine months in hopes that the Disney company might reverse their course. Doing what is best for the Muppets is the lens through which all my interactions have been filtered. Given the opportunity I remain willing to do whatever is required to remedy their concerns because I feel my continued involvement with the characters is in the best interest of the Muppets. 
For decades, you have been an invaluable partner in co-creating the existence of the Muppets, and I am humbled by your devotion to them. There is so much more for us to talk about so I have created this site as a place to connect and share on all things Muppet, past, present and future. 
Please forgive any faux pas as I have not been active in social media previously and have a serious learning curve. I just want you all to know that I am sorry if I have disappointed any of you at any point throughout our journey, and to let everyone know that I am devastated to have failed in my duty to my hero.

It appears this was Disney's decision and not just Steve "retiring" or "moving on." There's still a part of me that hopes there is a way for reconciliation between them.

I hope Steve continues to be the beacon of light that Jim, Jane and the whole Henson team knew he could be, whether or not that light is in the frog or not. 

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