Happy Belated Birthday, Richard Hunt!

We are happy to report the site is back from its technological snafus! To celebrate Hunt’s birthday, please enjoy the speech he gave at Jim Henson’s memorial service in May 1990.

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Hunt on the Big Screen: “Trading Places” (Book Excerpt #4)

Hunt loved to tell the story of being recognized on the street for his role in one of 1983’s biggest movies. “You. Trading Places. You’re in that last scene.” Hunt preened, thrilled to be seen not just as a puppeteer but as an actor. “Yeah, I was in Trading Places. What was it about my performance that made you remember me?” “Oh nothing,” said the man. “I’m a projectionist. I’ve seen that movie at least 200 times!” Continue reading

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“Girls Just Want to Stop Trump”: Snapshots from the NYC Women’s March

nycwm21I am full of hope after participating in and reporting on today’s Women’s March in New York City. About 400,000 people marched from the U.N. to Trump Tower, joining over three million people who marched across the country, and millions more in the streets around the world. Here are some snippets from my reportage. Continue reading

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Eulogy for Lou

louis-menchise-01 If we hadn’t belonged to the same gym, Louis Menchise and I would never have been friends. He was about ten years older than me, a balding guy in a grey USMC t-shirt, huffing away on the recumbent bike or grimacing while lifting free weights. When he first started talking to me, I figured he was trying to pick me up.

But we became buddies. Continue reading

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Gail Poch: An Unexpected Sketch


Writing Richard Hunt’s story often unexpectedly yields its own good stories. In summer 2014, I was on Cape Cod interviewing Hunt’s sister Kate when she mentioned their “phenomenal” high school music teacher: Gail Poch. At Northern Valley High School in suburban New Jersey, Poch conducted Hunt in multiple choruses, directed him in school musicals, and hung out with him and his friends as they crowded into Poch’s room during free periods, playing records and rehearsing lines and singing, always singing. Poch wasn’t much older than the students, a beatnik who laughed at their jokes as he smoked endless cigarettes and swigged from a seemingly bottomless thermos of coffee. “I wonder how he is,” Kate said wistfully.

I looked him up the next day, still on the Cape. I figured I’d find an obituary – but instead I found Poch! He lived in the Boston area, where I was already planning to stop on my way home. I dialed him right up. “I’m sorry to bother you, but is this Gail Poch, the music teacher?” It was. “I’m writing Richard Hunt’s biography, and I was wondering if you might be able to meet for an interview…” Continue reading

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