I recently organized Rochester’s 90-Second Newbery Film Festival and, through my friendship with Author and Film Fest Founder James Kennedy, I met the amazing Mr. Loops (as he is known to his adoring fans under the age of 10). Mr. Loops is otherwise known as Jon Lewis to those in music and animation circles in Rochester and beyond.
During the festival, he did a very funny song spoof with James Kennedy (video included below) that gave me the idea to feature Children’s Entertainers on Conversations with Creatives. And who else could I possibly invite but Rochester’s beloved children’s entertainer Gary the Happy Pirate? Gary now captains the Pirate Toy Fund, and last year, gathered and donated more than 30,000 toys to children in need.
Each of us has children’s entertainers who we remember fondly, be they Sheri Lewis, Captain Kangaroo, Eddie Flum Num and Merrily from the Magic Toy Shop, or more recently, Mr. Rogers, and even the Muppets. These entertainers somehow capture our kid’s imagination and snuggle into our hearts, leaving traces of warm memories, long into adult years and beyond.
What does it take to become a children’s entertainer? What are the rewards and challenges? And what kind of responsibility is there in creating that legacy? These are just a few of the questions we explored in this laugh-riddled episode of Conversations with Creatives.
A warm thanks to Jon Lewis and Gary Smith for joining me in this wonderful episode, and for allowing me to use segments of their work.