News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 6, 2012

VIDEO: Cutlery never sounded so good, or got so many laughs

Brian Boyce
The Tribune-Star

MARSHALL, ILL. — Even the librarian got a little noisy as a musical spoon player served up heaping helpings of laughter.

Jim Cruise, also known as “The Spoon Man,” had the Marshall Public Library’s meeting room Thursday full for an interactive comedy featuring musical spoons. Decked out in a Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts and fedora, the professional spoon player ran through a musical score ranging from Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” to “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by the Scorpions.

Library director Nancy Claypool laughed aloud along with the audience, which spanned toddlers to grandparents. Cruise has visited the library before, she said.

“I knew he would be popular because they loved him the last time,” she said. “But I never expected this many people.”

About 95 visitors packed the room like a drawer full of silverware as Cruise slapped the spoons across his hands and legs, rattling out rhythm to jazz and rock alike.

“When I was 9 years old, I wanted a drum set, and my mom and dad wouldn’t buy me one,” Cruise said, explaining that his grandfather taught him to play the spoons.

He quickly got hooked. Listening to the radio, he’d play along, dreaming of one day being the first “rock ’n’ roll spoon player,” he added.

Thirty years later, Cruise has been playing as a professional for more than two decades. The married father of five proudly said he pays the mortgage now doing what he enjoys. The key to achieving that, he told the kids, is to avoid drugs, get an education and listen to parents.

“If you can do those three things, you can do anything you want,” he said.

Cruise maintains a website, www.spoonman.biz, and sells his book, “Spoon Boy,” which chronicles his youthful mischief with musical silverware.

After the show, Cruise said the Marshall audience was a great group, and he particularly enjoyed seeing the number of parents and grandparents in attendance. Today’s shows, he said, begin in Quincy, Ill.

“This time of year, it’s almost every day. This is my third show today,” the Jenison, Mich., resident said while signing autographs.

Daniel Savage, 13, said the show was a good time.

“I liked the music,” he said, naming the Glenn Miller tune as his favorite. “I like the old songs.”

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.