Today I saw “Being Elmo”, the excellent documentary film about Kevin Clash, the immensely talented fellow who does the voice and puppeteering of the beloved Sesame Street character Elmo. Clash also created the character and personality of Elmo as we know it today.
Young Kevin first entered the Henson fold through the generosity of Kermit Love, Jim Henson’s long time chief puppet maker (not, by the way, the inspiration for Kermit the Frog, who had existed for ten years by the time Henson and Love first met). Kermit Love took the talented young man under his wing and became his mentor, eventually talking Jim Henson into hiring the young puppeteer.
The film mentions that Clash’s big breakthrough in developing Elmo was to conceive of him as a character who both accepts and offers unconditional love — a marked departure from other Muppets, who are generally rather prickly.
Interesting that Kevin Clash came up with this beloved character while being mentored by a man who just happened to be named Kermit Love. Think about it: Elmo is the most popular muppet because he successfully combines two powerful memes: Kermit the Frog and Unconditional Love.
Mere coincidence? Or simply the Universe enjoying a happy little joke?