Shields and Yarnell

Shields and Yarnell

I was watching a movie called Buskers the other night. It is about street performers. Why would I watch that? Because that’s the kind of weird stuff I like to watch.

The movie is basically a series of interviews with various buskers/street performers. One of the people being interviewed was a guy named Robert Shields. They had to say it a few times, but it finally dawned on me. Shields…Shields…Shields…Shields and Yarnell!

Shields and Yarnell was a mime team that were always appearing on The Muppet Show as well as other TV shows. I was very young at the time I saw them and didn’t understand anything about mime or teams or art or anything. I just thought they were neat. Over the years I forgot about them, but this documentary awoke my sleeping memories. Happily so, I might add.

What was even cooler, though, was the footage of Shields working as a mime on the streets of San Francisco. I’m not really a mime fan, but the stuff this guy was doing was incredible. Check out the running-sliding thing. Awesome.

Sadly, Yarnell passed away a few years ago. Shields now lives in Arizona, but I don’t know if he’s still performing or not. But they performed on the shows of my childhood, and those are some performances I’ll never forget. At least, not for long.


Doug is a child of the 80s who was raised in Ohio and is now living the life of oblivion in the bay area of California.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Doug, a great bit thanks for this post. Does Robert Shields have any bones in his body? I mean…he was pretty much transforming into a spidermonkey in some of those scenes. Apparently Marcel Marceau gave him a full scholarship to the school of mime in Paris after seeing him perform at the Hollywood Wax Museum.

    Very sad to hear about Yarnell passing away though, like many of us I can recall watching them perform on various variety shows.

  2. Robert Shields is also an artist selling his works in Arizona where he’s lived quite a few years. I think Robert Shields used to perform solo but don’t know if he still does.

    I remember their variety show back in the seventies. My wife and I got to see them perform in 1998 in Dallas, Texas. They performed their classic routines and they were just as amazing as ever.

    Afterwords, we waited around and got to introduce ourselves. They were very friendly. Lorene Yarnell gave my wife a hug. Sweet lady.

    Alberto Ramirez Jr.

  3. Man, it’s so weird that I was thinking of Shields and Yarnell just the other day. I brought them up to my wife, and (likely since she’s a few years younger than me) she had no idea who they were. I loved them and even I hate mimes. But definitely a big part of my Muppet Childhood. Thanks for bringing them up!

  4. Shields & Yarnell always brought smiles to our living room faces on our 70s boob tube.

    Great to see this post showcasing their talents.

    And yeah, Shields seems like he’s made of air, flying effortlessly about (and he must’ve been pretty slim to jump on people like that – I don’t think they’d let you do that nowadays).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Menu
%d bloggers like this: