Thursday, August 23, 2012

Farewell Gobo

When I wrote Fraggle Rock some time in the last century, the lead puppeteer on the show was a gruff guy who looked kind of like a Hell's Angel but had the sweetest disposition of anyone I've ever met named Jerry Nelson.

On the show he played Gobo - and remember that he manipulated the puppet AND did the voice at the same time - as well as Pa Gorg's voice, (another puppeteer was inside the Pa Gorg suit while Jerry did the voice and manipulated the face via radio control), and crawled inside Marjory the Trash Heap as well as doing her voice.

I was SO intimidated by him at first, but in awe of his talent.

A couple of days ago, the Fraggle family learned that Jerry was not doing well and was in and out of the hospice.  The doctors had given him anywhere from two days to two weeks to two years.  He'd decided to take the two years.

I emailed him:

"Dear Jerry

It's been so long since we worked on Fraggle Rock, that I don't know if you'll remember me.  I was the really, really young writer who was really awed by you on the show.  But I tried not to show it because you were actually so great to work with and you made my dialogue sound like it wasn't written--which is the ultimate compliment I think a performer can receive from a writer.  It's meant to be a compliment anyway.

The news that you are in and out of the hospice is very distressing.  I just wanted to let you know that I think of you and the rest of the Fraggle family a lot.  I didn't know it at the time, but working on Fraggle turned out to be the best gig of my writing life and perhaps of my show biz experiences.  (Since then, I've acted myself and directed a bit.  But writing for you and Steve and Dave and Karen and Kathy and Richard will never be beaten.)

I wish you were doing better.  I hope you do soon.  I think of you and those days lots these days.

lots of love, Jerry.


The next day came this reply:

"Sugith,  of course I remember you. I remember us all with great fondness working on the best show we ever produced. How could I forget? It was the best and you helped make it that way.
Thank you for the nice words but that show was team work all the way and that's what made it so good.

Thanks for wishing me well . I can use it all.

Warmest regards to you, , in all that you do,

Jerry Nelson

Sent from my iPad"

Jerry passed away this evening.  I had no idea that yesterday's email would be my last.

Farewell Gobo and Pa Gorg and Marjory.  And Robin the Frog.  And The Count.  And and and...

1 comment:

Jaime said...

This actually brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for posting.