“Spoon Man” Jim Cruise has performed professionally 25 years and began learning to playing spoons when he was a youth.
“Spoon Man” Jim Cruise has performed professionally 25 years and began learning to playing spoons when he was a youth.
July 15, 2013

Jim Cruise - "The Spoon Man" - served up a feast of entertainment and good advice at last Tuesday morning's shows wrapping up Carroll Public Library's series of five summer reading program performers.

Cruise, whose name is actually Jim Krzewski and is from Michigan, has been playing the spoons professionally 25 years and began learning the rhythm of the instruments since he was a boy.

According to his website, he's played for former President Gerald Ford, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" TV host Fred Rogers.

He says, "I'm married with five kids and a mortgage, and I make my living playing spoons. Believe me anything is possible."

Three keys to success, "Spoon Man" says, are: say "no" to drugs; get a solid education by listening to teachers, doing school work and reading a lot; and respect and obey parents.

His show featured some heavy-metal spoon playing, a singalong competition and a Mountain Band made up of volunteers from the audience.

"Spoon Man" drew a total attendance of 515 - 274 at the 9 a.m. show and 241 at 11 a.m.

During his visit he also performed at the Audubon Library and the Carroll Rotary Club steak fry.

Cruise has written a 124-page, soft-cover book, "Spoon Boy," on how he got started playing the spoons. He's also produced an instructional video on how to play the spoons, titled "Music From the Kitchen."

Total attendance for the library's five performers this summer - two shows each - was 2,780, with 587 for Rick Brammer, 662 for Blank Park Zoo, 615 for Dan Wardell and 401 for Chris McBrien. Last year's shows totaled 2,620 attendance.

Carroll Public Library children's librarian Diane Tracy says, "We had lots of positive comments about the shows, and the looks on the audience's faces were well worth it. The library received many thank-you's for providing the entertainment. The reaction was overwhelming. The shows were just plain fun, and they all had good educational messages too. I'm sorry they are over for this summer. But we are trying to book a program for over the Christmas break.

"The 'Spoon Man' was wildly popular. Lots of the kids were trying out the trainer spoons afterwards. I know they are fun, because I had them at my house this spring and showed the kids when they came in for their field trips. They caused a lot of excitement."

A little over 1,000 children signed up for the library's summer reading programs, including about 300 for the rookie age group and 700 school-agers. That's about the same as last year's signup, Tracy says. The library this year initiated an adult summer reading program, and about 300 registered.

"We are already planning some enhancements for next year's summer reading programs," Tracy says. "We at the library are trying to help the parents of Carroll help their children to be successful. Reading is the key to that."