Sesame Street debuted in 1969, the year I was born. I grew up watching it and then watching as Jim Henson brought his puppet creations to The Muppet Show.

I was done watching Sesame Street before the Elmo character ever debuted, but when the Tickle Me Elmo craze erupted I caught a few episodes of Sesame Street just to see what the character was all about.

I didn’t care for the way he talked in third person, and that every other sentence seemed to be “Elmo loves you.” But hey…this is a kids show and they loved that little red-headed stepchild.

Elmo may be my least favorite puppet, but I’m guessing the man behind the cotton and felt is easily my favorite puppeteer.

Kevin Clash’s journey led him from a middle-class neighborhood in Baltimore, to meeting his heroes Jim Henson and Frank Oz, and eventually working with them.

His parents were so supportive. And even those teen years when he’s going through puppetry, and having to deal with bullies picking on him…it quickly becomes a happy experience when we hear how excited the town is that he’s on a local TV show.

Yet that’s also one of the problems with the film. I didn’t hear enough about the experiences he had as an African-American that didn’t play sports, but stayed inside sewing and playing “with dolls.”

We also don’t know much about his ex-wife. One line is mentioned: “My ex-wife Gina.” Did she leave him because he was always on the road with Elmo?

We get the powerful story about Henson passing away much too soon, yet we don’t hear what happened to Kermit. No, not the green muppet but Kermit Love, the long-bearded fellow that basically gave Clash his career.

He got him the job working for Henson in a parade, and was instrumental in other aspects of his career. They obviously had a close bond. Even the parents talk about Love taking him under his wing. Yet we don’t hear him talking now, which leads me to believe he passed away. Why is this not included?

All of this makes the film come off as more of a puff piece, but hey…I enjoyed watching it. I cried watching him talk to Make-A-Wish kids, and loved the fact that he seemed to genuinely love what he was doing. For example, when we see him give a tour of the factory to a young puppeteer, we don’t feel like it’s contrived for the cameras, but that this has come full circle.

A lot of the archival footage was interesting to watch, and it was interesting to hear his take on the Tickle Me Elmo craze. Even more bizarre to hear Rosie O’Donnell talk about Aaron Spelling, one of the richest men in TV history, calling her to ask where he could buy two of them.

It was interesting to find out that Elmo actually had another person do the voice originally (which sounded like a caveman), before Clash took over the character.

It reminded me of the interesting book Live From New York, which had every cast member of Saturday Night Live talking about various aspects of the show. It was fun reading about how they created some of the characters that took off, as well as the ones that flopped.

I remember when I was making hardly anything working in radio, and talking with other DJs about how we were doing what we loved. One guy said “My father told me that you should do what you love, and the money will follow.”

Often times in life, that isn’t the case. The story of Kevin Clash and Elmo is one example of it working out and after watching this, I’m thrilled it did.

I’m giving this 3 ½ out of 5 stars.