Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

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Bud White
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Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by Bud White » May 1st, 2018, 6:52 am

I arrived from vacation Saturday night and had to hussle to Oaks Sunday morning for a huge want of mine, Steve Whitmire, the recently ousted Muppet performer who handled Kermit the Frog since Jim Henson’s passing. I’m a huge Disney/muppet/Sesame geek.

I attended Oaks three years ago, and walked away impressed. I was there only for Carroll Spinney and at $25 admission and $30 for Carroll to sketch me something of both Big Bird and Oscar, it was the bet $55 I had ever spent. This would not be the case.

First kick to the groin was $35 admission fee, ouch. I blame myself, but I was away for 11 days and no internet access, so I never checked. Anyway. I’m second in line for Whitmire and had only one person behind me.

This is a difficult encounter to write about, and I feel like an unhappy prick for saying that. I had the original poster from the 2011 movie to get signed. It features standing Kermit, Fozzie, Piggy, and Gonzo. I get up to the table and see his price is $40 except for “premium items” like Posters that were $60. I’ve never seen that outside of sports at a con. I’ve seen it for online orders for entertainment but not in person. His handler wouldn’t cave. Steve was great. He talked to me for 10 minutes, answered any muppet question I had. Was very kind and humble. Now it’s time for the autograph. If you google Steve Whitmire autograph you will see my unhappiness. I ask Steve, “can you sign it Hi Ho.” Steve very politely tells me,”oh, I’m not signing as the character anymore. Is that ok?” That’s where the Kermit face came in, I wish I could have a pic of my face. When he said that. So now I’m looking at poster that just says “Steve Whitmire. Kermit 1991-2016.” Not the famous Kermit signature with the huge curly q “g”. So I’m thinking well this blows, let me try and make mine different. So I ask can you sign it “the second person ever to perform Kermit the Frog?” He goes “well I sort of did that by putting the dates that I performed Kermit.” Again, I must have Kermit faced him. I’m not the guy who’s going to make a scene at a con, just not me. I start to walk away and he calls me back. “Hey o thought about what you said, let me see the poster.” He then puts #2 next to where he signed Kermit. I kinda stare, say thanks and walk away.

Am I wrong here guys? I mean I feel like I paid $95 and didn’t get what I wanted. Now, since Disney owns the Muppets, maybe he can’t sign it as the character anymore, but he didn’t say that. If he would have, I would have understood. If you look at Muppet autographs it’s ways the performer and the character. I feel like what I have is invalid, which is why I’m not posting a photo. I feel like a baby, but I’m not even sure I would attempt to finish the poster now. Anyway, this was his first con, he’s stoked about the circuit. Just wanted anyone who’s expecting the classic autograph to know and not be disappointed. If I would have known all this, I would not have went out. $95 is a lot of money to be disappointed.

Also, Carroll Spinney is not in good shape. Very sad to see. He can no longer sketch, looks extremely disinterested and has trouble even signing his name anymore. It was sad to see, knowing the encounter I had with him just three years ago. If you need something signed by him, I’m pretty sure this is his farewell tour.


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Re: Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by capman » May 1st, 2018, 8:54 am

First, great report because had I been able to get out this weekend with more time, I would have hit here and chiller for Steve. Any pics? Also, did he charge for a table op for him?

I'm kind of on the fence here of the Steve story and here is why:

- The star pretty much can deny anything they want to sign. Being that this was his 2nd, maybe first con, it probably would have been better for him or someone to post what he won't sign. However, not having a basis on this, maybe he wasn't ready for anyone to ask requests of stuff.

HOWEVER - Being a huge Henson/Muppets fan, I will say , frankly, I am surprised he would deny to write ANYTHING at this point considering the position he is in and his fan base. Unless he is under a thought that he "may" get hired back ( and he won't), that would be the only reason why he wouldn't sign ur request. He should thank his lucky stars that he worked for Henson/Disney for so long taking the important and difficult mantle of Jim Henson's characters. I mean Jesus, most people aren't the character anymore, yet they write the catch phrases. $40 sounds about right for him, but $60 for poster....esh. I would have said I only brought $40 at first, but trying to think quickly can catch people off guard so I feel for you. I am hoping he comes to chiller in Oct.

As far as Carroll, I noticed two years ago he is slipping and thank God I got him on many of the things I wanted since 2008. I was on the Sesame street set w my family in 2015 and he was there to do the voice and seemed really out of it. Again, Would be shocked if at least he doesn't do a final chiller in Oct.

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Re: Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by Bud White » May 1st, 2018, 9:09 am

Hey Cap. I didn’t take any pics of the poster. I’m that disgruntled. If I’m understanding the handler correctly it was $40 unless you brought your own item. Sp $40 got you one of his 8x10s, $50 got you a combo. I paid $60 and got a combo that I didn’t want. I don’t do pics, just not my thing. I tried to use that as a bargaining chip for a cheaper price to no avail. I only spent 10 mins with him but I have no doubt he caused his departure from the Muppets. He’s really nice, but he def believes in what he believes in. I can see Disney just getting fed up with that.

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Re: Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by ICW » May 1st, 2018, 10:27 am

I don't think you're wrong for feeling disappointed. If we're looking at this in a vacuum, you ultimately did not get what you wanted - and it feels especially worse given the price that you paid.

But you still scored an autograph from an important person...he just messed up the project you were working on, unfortunately, because he didn't sign it the way like the other cast members did
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Re: Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by CubsFanKEC1982 » May 1st, 2018, 2:48 pm

You should've laid out how you wanted it git-go and if unable to accommodate to your specs, demand a refund and part friends. That's the cut and dry answer. There was no reason for this to escalate this far. You are the paying customer.


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Re: Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by Bud White » May 1st, 2018, 6:50 pm

CubsFanKEC1982 wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 2:48 pm
You should've laid out how you wanted it git-go and if unable to accommodate to your specs, demand a refund and part friends. That's the cut and dry answer. There was no reason for this to escalate this far. You are the paying customer.
I can respect that. I just didn’t expect him to seize signing his autograph the way he always has. It’s like Jake the Snake Roberts only signing Jake Roberts after he’s always signed “the snake.”

Also found out through a private signing on Facebook that it’s because of Disney.

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Re: Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by Silpheed » May 1st, 2018, 6:59 pm

I remember meeting carrol spinney at chiller a few years ago. I had him sign a couple of pop vinyls for me. I saw him drawing a couple a sketches for someone and I was totally jealous. I knew if I met him again I would ask for a sketch.

A couple of years later I saw that he was coming to Rhode Island comic con. I bought th sketching materials in hopes he would draw me a sketch. When I saw him he looked very weary. When I asked for a sketch his handler said that he would not be doing sketches. It was a shame as I would have loved one, but completely understand considering his condition.

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Re: Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by Greg2600 » May 1st, 2018, 9:28 pm

Whitmire had a really nasty dismissal from Disney. Sucks that your experience was that lousy though.
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Re: Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by Gumby » May 1st, 2018, 11:48 pm

Oof, sorry to read that you had a bad experience (and thanks for giving the rest of us a heads up). You are not wrong for feeling the way that you do, it's perfectly within reason. Contrary to what you heard it's not Disney's fault at all and they have nothing to do with it. Nobody can tell someone how to sign their own name. That's such a ridiculous concept. The truth is, Whitmire is a notorious dick (that's why he was fired) and it shows in your interaction when he pulled not only this move, but salting the wound by calling you back only to add the #2. Shameful.

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Re: Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by Bud White » May 2nd, 2018, 6:24 pm

I appreciate the responses, guys. I felt like a brat being disappointed because everything up to the autograph was great. He really took his time, answering questions, explaining things. He was even polite about not signing as the character. It was just a surprise. I actually was going to mention something to him and his handler later on in the day but he wasn’t in his booth. Just like “hey you should really announce that you won’t sign as the character because people are expecting that.”

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Re: Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by class316 » May 2nd, 2018, 10:16 pm

I paid $20 for that Steve photo op. So no complaints on my end.
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Re: Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by Btvsp3 » May 2nd, 2018, 11:06 pm

I will say one of my biggest pet peeves is when celebrities charge more for items your bring from home. It literally costs them nothing and it's just a way to grab more money from the fans. I know Peter Capaldi does this, but luckily I have no interest in him. The only celeb I've wanted who did this was Kathleen Turner at Chiller this year but I managed to get the handler to agree to let her sign my poster since I was already paying for a combo.

That being said despite us being the ones paying we're always at the mercy of the celeb and what they say goes whether we like it or not. :virgil:
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Re: Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by Greg2600 » May 3rd, 2018, 12:07 am

Gumby wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 11:48 pm
The truth is, Whitmire is a notorious dick (that's why he was fired) and it shows in your interaction when he pulled not only this move, but salting the wound by calling you back only to add the #2. Shameful.
He'll never be the one true Kermit!
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Re: Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by Krazyjoe » May 8th, 2018, 12:34 pm

If you're that unhappy with the signature, I might be willing to buy the poster from you.

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Re: Kermit faced at the Oaks Greater Philly Comic Con

Post by Bud White » May 9th, 2018, 1:14 pm

Krazyjoe wrote:
May 8th, 2018, 12:34 pm
If you're that unhappy with the signature, I might be willing to buy the poster from you.
PM if your interested. I’m not sure the price will be worth your wild at this point. I’m out over $100. Not sure that’s worth it for a Whitmire signature...


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