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Memories of Maurice Sendak

Published May 9, 2012 10:10 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Everyone, it seems, has a Maurice Sendak memory.

Maybe it's the first time you read "Where the Wild Things Are," or the first time you read it to your own children.

The folks at the Sundance Institute have a specific memory: a photo by John Schaeffer - posted on the institute's Facebook page - of Sendak's 1987 visit, with a few Wild Things, to the Sundance Theater Lab. (That's Sendak in the middle, and Robert Redford on the right.)

Mrs. Cricket unearthed this little gem on YouTube. It's an old "Sesame Street" cartoon short, a reading of Sendak's poem "Bumble-Ardy" - in which a little boy invites nine pigs to a birthday party. (You can tell it was a different era, because the drinking of wine is mentioned. You also notice that the voice of little Bumble has the Kermit/Ernie lilt of Jim Henson.)

The Cricket recalled a summer in 1985, when he was a student at the University of Washington. That summer, Meany Hall, the campus' main concert hall, was closed off for a movie crew filming Pacific Northwest Ballet's version of "The Nutcracker." Sendak had done the costume and production design for PNB's production - bringing a dark, but also comic, sensibility to the classic Christmas story. The resulting film, "Nutcracker: The Motion Picture" directed by Carroll Ballard ("The Black Stallion," "Never Cry Wolf"), remains one of the finest versions of "The Nutcracker" ever recorded.

What's your favorite Maurice Sendak memory? Leave it in the comments below.