CC Loveheart Interview from Andy Anderson
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
A very special thank you to our own Andy Anderson for conducting this interview with CC Loveheart better known as “Coco the Mime” on Pinwheel House from 1979-1981. She is commonly referred to as “The First Coco.”
Here are the questions (they may be long!). Thank you for participating in this interview.
AA: How did you get the job as "Coco" on Pinwheel? Were you asked to audition, or did you develop the character yourself? Where did the name "Coco" come from?
CC: A lovely woman and producer of the first 2 seasons, Sandy Kavenaugh saw me in a 2-person mime show in NYC. She talked to me about developing a mime character for "Pinwheel House". The project was proposed as a project called, "Qube". Qube was to be the first attempt at 2-way television. (Meaning, the viewing audience could have the potential to communicate with the performers.) This never really happened. But Pinwheel House was taped with its myriad characters in place. I participated in the first 2 seasons of taping. I wrote almost all the skits that I performed because the writers did not know how to write for a mime. Writers use words, mimes do not, so I was also hired as a writer.
CC: It was still being structured.
CC: I flew to Columbus, Ohio for 2 weeks at a time. I had young children at home, so it was part of my contract that I be flown home and have time off in-between shoots for Pinwheel House.
CC: I began as and wanted to be a dancer. (I had danced in the floor shows in Las Vegas.) And, after my last child was born, I took a mime class at a local community college in upstate New York in order to get back in shape. The teacher of the class asked me to perform with him in NYC. That’s where Sandy Kavenaugh saw me and hired me. I also studied mime with Moni Yakim and others before going into “straight” acting.
CC: I loved Coco. I developed her, wrote and performed her. I wanted to entertain and inform. My intention was to make Coco childlike in her innocence and playfulness. My hope was to make her available and loveable for kids of varying ages. As to the performing aspect, I was required to be an “athlete” in that often many takes were required, so I had to be very strong physically, in order to repeat the mimes required.
I enjoyed my interactions with Jake, the older couple who lived in the house (whose names I have forgotten), the vegetable vendor, the veggies and the puppets. All in all, it was a most pleasant working experience.
CC: I don’t know. But it certainly caught on. I still receive emails from folks who grew up with Coco and still remember her fondly.
CC: Yes, that was a big concern of mine. Children are known to be afraid of clowns and the white face look. So, I developed Coco’s make-up by trying various make-ups. I would get in front of the camera and look at the monitor to see if the look was friendly, appealing and not scary. That’s how the hearts on the cheeks along with the big eyed-double- false-eyelash, and pale lip color came to be.
CC: Pinwheel House was always the name of the project. All of us lived in Pinwheel House or the neighborhood. As I said, in the beginning, it was under the aegis of “Qube”.
AA: How different was it from making the program for QUBE in Columbus, Ohio, where Pinwheel was created, to making it for Nickelodeon in New York? Did Nickelodeon make any changes to the series once it launched?
CC: I was not involved in the NY taping. When it came time to renew my contract, we had a new producer (Tippy Fortune was her name and how appropriate it turned out to be) and we had “contractual differences”. And so, a woman who was VERY different physically from me, and who had not requested residuals replaced me.
CC: I remember a wrap party in which Coco spoke. I had secured promises from the camera and sound folks and we, in secret, made a tape of Coco speaking and thanking everyone. Coco had a very strong lisp and the running joke in this private tape (meant only for the party) was that that was why Coco never spoke. The actor-musician, George James, who played Jake, was a friend and I recommended him for the show. We had a great time cracking each other up both in front of and behind the camera.
CC: As mentioned above, there were contractual differences that played into my leaving. But, I also felt a strong calling to move on to speaking characters. I began to work as an actor and went on to have a career that has spanned some 40 years.
AA: Can you recall any other individuals important in developing Pinwheel?
CC: The young men, Jim Jenson and Brad?? Were the puppeteers and they were very talented. They brought much to the show. Unfortunately, Jim died quite young.
And again, Sandy Kavenaugh had great vision and pulled the cast and crew together. She was instrumental in the success of the show.
AA: Thank you for generously participating in this interview.
CC: You are welcome. Please send me the link to your blog.