Jim Thurman

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Biography:

Jim Thurman started his TV career by providing the voice of the title character on Shrimpenstein. This children's show aired locally on what was then KHJ Channel 9 in Los Angeles during the late 1960s.

Shrimpenstein was the first show in which Thurman worked extensively with the late Gene Moss. Their collaboration continued when a rival L.A. station hired them to write and perform voices on the cartoon Roger Ramjet.

But Thurman's true calling came when he did educational material for the Children's Television Workshop. In 1971, Thurman became a writer and performer for CTW projects. His writing credits started with The Electric Company.

But it was his connection with Sesame Street that will live on. Thurman was asked to provide voices for a series of "Teeny Little Superguy" cartoons by Paul and Helena Fierlinger. Teeny Little Superguy was a boy drawn on a plastic cup. (To hear the theme for "Teeny Little Superguy," go here.) His combination of stop-action and cel animation provided just a fraction of the multi-faceted entertainment and education for which Sesame Street is so known.

Thurman continued to work with the Fierlingers for many years. All three contributed, however humbly, to a CTW triumvirate: The Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact, and Square One TV. Outside the CTW frame, Thurman's voices complemented one of Paul and Helena Fierlinger's finest works, It's So Nice to Have a Wolf Around the House.

Jim Thurman continued to write for CTW, and even performed uncredited roles for 3-2-1 Contact and Square One TV. Perhaps his most undiscovered part on any CTW program came in January 1990, when he and CTW original David D. Connell played sportscasters Dick and Vern in an installment of "Mathnet," Square One TV's most consistent sequence. Thurman and Connell co-wrote all but one of the Mathnet mysteries. While no Mathnet mysteries (or any other old CTW shows) air today, online sites direct surfers to the novelizations Thurman and Connell devised.

Jim Thurman's last contribution to PBS came in 1995, when selected scenes from Square One TV were reassembled in a 15-minute form and repackaged as Math Talk.