Noel MacNeal – Episode 197


Today, Matt Talks with Noel MacNeal, Star of Bear in the Big Blue House and creator of The Show Me Show!

Quick Note: As with all our recordings at the Great Philadelphia Comic Con, the background noise is the bane of our existence. I kept a singular mic attached to my Zoom pointed directly at the talent, rather than Yours Truly.  Apologies in advance–I am kind of hard to hear–fading into the background, but Noel is loud and clear!

Today we are going on a nostalgia trip that reaches far back into my childhood, and hopefully yours, or your now-grown children’s childhood too. Just a quick “spoiler” warning: If any of you have kids around listening who still visit with Bear at his Big Blue House, or who still walk down Sesame Street from time to time, I would encourage you to turn this episode off right now. We go behind-the-scenes, and I don’t want to spoil any of that Muppet magic for your little ones.

In this conversation, Noel MacNeal takes us through his career as a puppeteer, including his time as the world’s most famous Bear…living in that Big, Blue House of course! From audition, to the show’s insane popularity, to its quiet cancelation, Noel really dives into that journey. Plus, we also discuss his earlier role as the baby dragon Magellan on Eureeka’s Castle.

Noel is currently touring with the Sesame Street 50th Anniversary Road Trip. Now, you won’t see him, and I’m not telling you which gigantic yellow bird he’s helping to portray, But the Road Trip continues through August. Click on the link above for tickets

Noel’s newest project is called The Show Me Show, a show geared towards children with special needs, in particular, children with Autism. Noel told me the idea sparked after seeing how Bear was able to reach and affect children on the spectrum. Follow this beautiful project on Facebook at Twitter @NoelYourHost.

This conversation took place ALL the way back in April at, yes, the Great Philadelphia Comic Con! I am STILL mining from those awesome two days–Max and I had a blast–and will be surprising you from it all summer long.

Noel and I had never met, but we have mutual friends. My good friend Joe Selph, I believe, has worked with Noel. I’ve met Victor Yarrid at KAX, and so I had some good icebreakers. But for those of you that know me, know I am about as awkward as they come when trying to meet someone new–especially in an environment like a comic con. But Noel was great! We hit it off real fast and I stopped by his booth frequently throughout the con.

One thing that will shock you–it took me aback for a moment–Noel’s voice is Bear’s. That was not a character voice. So, be prepared for that because I sure wasn’t. But after I got used to it, hearing Bear’s voice in the flesh did something–it reached that child in me, struck all the nostalgia cords, and put a huge smile on my face. And I know it will for you, too.

Special thanks to Max Hornig for audio production!