Interview With NHPTV's Sammy Snail
Talk about high hopes. Sammy Snail may not know the ant that tried to move the rubber tree plant, but he’s buddies with Elmo and Cookie Monster and he’s trying to raise funds for a new TV show to be produced at the NH Public TV studios in Durham.
Sammy is the puppet appendage of ventriloquist, comedian and motivational speaker Lesley Smith, of Durham. Their show, “Sammy’s New World,” is filming a pilot episode featuring Sammy and his gang of puppet friends at NHPTV with some of the best writers and talent in children’s television. A crowd-funding effort with Indiegogo to underwrite the show was just wrapping up as this issue was being shipped. Not sure how it went, but Sammy is nothing if not positive.
What makes a snail think he can get people to donate to a TV show? Well, I am not just a snail. I am a real live puppet snail! And I’m a snail who gets a lot of mail from kids, because I have been with them in the schools for a very long time doing special shows. They say, “Sammy, you are awesome,” “Go, Sammy Go.” Some of my friends from the schools are big now, and might be having children soon.
What can kids really learn from a snail? I show kids how to love and respect themselves, even when someone else doesn’t. And through our adventures, we learn how to make the world the bestest place for everyone and everything that lives here. But do you know what my most important job of all is? It’s the biggest job we have each day and if you forget to do it, then everything is really yucky. We’ve got to laugh and be silly.
You’ve performed with Peter Yarrow from Peter, Paul and Mary. Have you worked with any other celebrities? Every kid in every school is my hero! They are celebrities to me. And I have met Bert and Ernie, and Cookie Monster and Elmo, and Telly Monster and everyone from Sesame Street, and even the puppeteers too.
Is there anyone you’d just love to meet in your new role as spokes-snail and star of your own show? I want to meet people who make the world a better place for children. I want to meet Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama because they do that. I want to meet the president of the United States of America, so I can make sure he is listening to the children. And I want to meet every mom and dad, so they understand that children need lots of love and kindness, plus healthy good food to eat and clean water to drink.
Do you have a puppet role-model? Yes, Mister Rogers, Jim Henson and Shari Lewis! I know they weren’t puppets, but they were good to their puppet friends, and that’s important to me.
You’re very well-traveled for a snail. Is there anything special about New Hampshire? I picked NH to make my TV show because it is as magical a place as my Snailville. There are awesome mountains, lakes, rivers and the ocean. And lots of my earthly relatives live in the woods here.
Ever hang out with New Hampshire Magazine’s mascot, the Red Spotted Newt? We both love to hang out in New Hampshire marshes, forests and ponds! This is the most beautiful state in the world, and Newt and I say so!