Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What happened to Crank/ Jim Boyd?

Jim Boyd/ James A. Boyd  (1933 - 2013) was an actor best known for his work on The Electric Company, staying for the entire run from 1971 to 1977. Boyd was at first, a puppeteer on the WPIX-TV series The Surprise Show and was hired by CTW to reprise his puppet character Lorelei the Chicken, perform the suit character Paul the Gorilla, and providing off-screen voice-overs, notably as the angry caller J. Arthur Crank.



Beginning in the second season, Boyd brought Crank before the cameras and expanded his repertoire to include the Blue Beetle, The Wolfman, and the puppet Maurice the Plant. Mr Crank was the perpetually angry middle-aged New Yorker who always finds himself yelling at performers or the audience. The character appeared in all 780 episodes of the original Electric Company (1971-1977), a show that was created for older children who were no longer served by Sesame Street.

Crank remained Boyd's signature character and on one occasion, had the privilege of meeting two Sesame Street Muppets. He proved fairly sympathetic when encountering a tearful Grover at Vi's Diner, but later rejoiced in paying tribute to his mentor and role model, Oscar the Grouch.

Boyd also supplied the voice of Spider-Man in the Spidey Super Stories album based on the Electric Company skits.



Boyd died on January 2, 2013, after a brief illness. He was married to his wife, Kathleen, and was a loving father of Jeanne (Bill) Billings, devoted grandfather of Andrew Billings. J



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