Join 3,556 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Come on, monsters! You don't have to cry! We can be happy! Yeah!
April 18, 2006 6:39 PM   Subscribe

Johnny Cash implores Big Bird, "Don't Take Your Ones To Town." R.E.M. explore the spectrum of muppet emotion with Furry Happy Monsters. All the way back in 1972, Stevie Wonder offers the superlatively funky 1-2-3. The Pointer Sisters teach an entire generation about surreal terror with the classic Pinball Number Count. Ray Charles sings The Alphabet Song, with an inexplicable assist from Patrick Stewart, David Robinson and Lambchop. And, of course, who could forget the time The Beetles came to Sesame Street?
posted by Simon! (86 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Apologies for the YouTubeFilter.
posted by Simon! at 6:39 PM on April 18, 2006


Also enjoyable is Norah Jones on Sesame Street singing "I don't know why Y didn't call" but I can't find a video for that.

I hadn't seen the Beatles or the Pointer Sister videos before. I spend a few minutes every morning with my daughter watching Sesame Street videos on youtube to distract her while we get ready to leave the house. These will be added to my favorites - great post!
posted by rks404 at 6:48 PM on April 18, 2006


I remember watching Sesame Street and particularly associating with Karen Carpenter singing "Sing." Thanks for the links.
posted by artifarce at 6:52 PM on April 18, 2006


Thanks to my parents, I grew up on The Beatles (the real ones) and Sesame Street, and still to this day whenever I hear Let It Be I think of that damn sketch. I'd actually forgotten until now that it wasn't to the same tune.

My favorite, though, was U Really Got A Hold On Me (sorry, no youtube).

Thanks, dude. Good post.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:54 PM on April 18, 2006


Here you go, rks404. There are a million great Sesame Street performances floating around, but I made the editorial decision not to post anything featuring Elmo.
posted by Simon! at 6:55 PM on April 18, 2006


If only someone would post the video of the Big Bird & Buffy Sainte-Marie duet. I've been looking for that one for years.
posted by rokabiri at 6:55 PM on April 18, 2006


I had seen the REM one before, but man, can't tell you how many times I've seen Pinball Number Count--that brings me back for sure. And the Beetles song was great... well worth seeing for the first time. :)
posted by artifarce at 7:01 PM on April 18, 2006


thanks Simon!! I support your editorial decision - my little girl adores Elmo for reasons that I don't understand and I already get quite enough of the little red fellow.
posted by rks404 at 7:02 PM on April 18, 2006


Wow, I had forgotten how truly bizarre the "Number Count" was. Nice post.
posted by the_bone at 7:03 PM on April 18, 2006


People may aim for the broadsides and proclaim that the drugs are that which made me weird, but in Factual Reality Land it really all comes down to that damn Pinball Number Count song and animation. Of course along with healthy doses of all that other PBS fare.

Seriously, that pinball clip was featured large and often in dreams and nightmares alike, and even a few waking terrors or delightful daydreams.

"Who are those obviously hopped up freaks that are singing this, this madness? How does that pinball stay on those damn curving ramps without guiderails? How does it keep going!? How does it openly fucking defy gravity like that? THESE ARE SECRETS I MUST LEARN. IF NOT BY DIRECT OBSERVATION THAN BY SHEER PREPONDERANCE ALONE. agh ow head okokuncle"
posted by loquacious at 7:08 PM on April 18, 2006


I recently saw Garth Brooks on Sesame.... oh, it was not pretty. The guy can't sing.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:10 PM on April 18, 2006


Heh, great stuff.

"Ray Charles Saved my life" Milton Nascimento
posted by Eekacat at 7:14 PM on April 18, 2006


Ok, good, it wasn't just me on the pinball video.. it kind of creeps me out, actually. It's sort of manic and psychedelic all at once.

And down with Elmo! Good call on not FPPing that little ****, Simon.

Grover was _way_ cooler.
posted by Malor at 7:17 PM on April 18, 2006


I've a two-year-old and so am getting to see Sesame Street all over again. So far my favourite moment is James Gandolfini's sketch with one of the monsters - I'm a Sopranos fan so it cracked me up.

Also like the Norah Jones duet.

Simon! thanks for reminding me to check out You Tube and Google video - I'd been looking for "vintage" Sesame Street clips on the various file sharing sites without much luck.
posted by Zinger at 7:18 PM on April 18, 2006


Wow, that foot coming down in the pinball song is soooo Monty Python. I wasn't aware of that at all the brazillian times I saw it as a young'un.
posted by TonyRobots at 7:20 PM on April 18, 2006


When I first saw the Pinball Number Count bit on telly I had no idea what pinball machines were, but I loved the idea of a steel ball rolling around and just DOING so much. I remember the first time I actually saw a pinball machine and getting so excited because it was just like the Sesame Street thing - but in real life!
Nice post!
posted by bunglin jones at 7:26 PM on April 18, 2006


unless I am off base that pinball video is a bit of a cut-and-splice representative of a bunch of numbers. didn't it just use to feature one particular number in a given segment? very cool tho'
posted by edgeways at 7:46 PM on April 18, 2006


Links to more Sesame Street youtube clips.
posted by fings at 7:47 PM on April 18, 2006


Yeah, those are OK, but the best song ever on Sesame Street was without question "Me and My Llama" (sorry, no video).
posted by The Tensor at 7:50 PM on April 18, 2006


Nice post.

I still love the "D" song.
posted by Miko at 8:01 PM on April 18, 2006


I remember thinking that this kitchen looked insanely similar to my own when I was little and enjoying "Street!"

I have since attempted to reference this character in conversations, and people look at me like they don't remember any of the awesome Seseme Street clips from the early 80s.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 8:05 PM on April 18, 2006


Oh my God. Thank you. After watching the melange of stars sing the ABC song, I will never, ever need to drop acid.

(Seriously, this made me so happy. I love classic - ie what I grew up on - Sesame Street.)
posted by kalimac at 8:07 PM on April 18, 2006


Ignore them, Ms. Is Disenchanted. TLSG was fuckin' awesome.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:07 PM on April 18, 2006


The Pinball Count video really brings back memories.

Of course, I don't remember the Washington Monument shooting things into Teddy Roosevelt's mouth, but that probably wasn't nearly as memorable when i was four years old.
posted by sellout at 8:10 PM on April 18, 2006


Simon! Thank you so much!!

As an unabashed muppets fan, it had not (I'm sad to say) occured to me to check out YouTube for muppet/henson stuff.

What a treasure trove is on there:

Vintage Henson TV ads
ABCDEF Cookie Monster
Rubber Duckie
Best known of the Manah Manah bits
Ernie Eats Cookies in Bed
Yep Yep Yep Yep Nope Nope Nope Nope
C is for Cookie
I'll miss you Mr. Hooper

Ok, I'll stop now.... Thanks again.,
posted by anastasiav at 8:19 PM on April 18, 2006



I'll miss you Mr. Hooper


Oddly enough, I was just discussing this on an Ask.mefi thread.

<bawling eyes out again>
posted by kayjay at 8:41 PM on April 18, 2006


Previous discussion on the awesomeness that is Pinball Number Count.
posted by Sibrax at 8:46 PM on April 18, 2006


Oh shit, the Mr. Hooper one is really tough to watch.
posted by moonbird at 8:46 PM on April 18, 2006


The Stevie Wonder clip was nothing short of amazing. Nice post.
posted by vaportrail at 8:52 PM on April 18, 2006


Now some say screamin' one plus one all night
Makes us thoughtless, cruel and bad
But kids like you and me
Baby, we were born to add

posted by arto at 8:53 PM on April 18, 2006


Now if I can see "10 Banana Cream Pies!" (The song of 10?) and "I'm going to paint a 6," my 2nd childhood will be complete.
posted by DonnieSticks at 9:06 PM on April 18, 2006


Slightly off topic, but I had to add one more:

Something I had heard and read about but never thought I'd see - Jim Henson's Timepiece, a short film Henson made that was nominated for the Academy Award. (no muppets, though, sorry)
posted by anastasiav at 9:12 PM on April 18, 2006


Holy crap, thank you so much for posting the video for Pinball Number Count! Definitely the most surreal thing I ever saw on Sesame Street.

However, what really freaked me out as a child was Outerscope on the PBS show Vegetable Soup. I've met only one other person in my lifetime who's seen it.
posted by mijuta at 9:23 PM on April 18, 2006


Sesame Street + Family Guy's Boy in the Plastic Bubble Spoof = Wunnerful!

Awesome FPP, Simon!!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:35 PM on April 18, 2006


I loved the Count. I always imagined...

"One! One dead Muppet!" *slurp*
"Two! Two dead Muppets!" *slurp slurp*

etc.....
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:37 PM on April 18, 2006


Awesome - I'd been trying to download "Don't Take Your 1's To Town" for close to a year!
I think I'll have to submit "I Get Mad" (with the goat), and "Counting 1 to 20" - the one that opens with a swami counting. If anyone is interested in seeing these before I get around to sending them in anywhere, feel free to email me. Now, does anyone know where to find "a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread and a stick of butter?"
posted by Iamtherealme at 9:46 PM on April 18, 2006


C is for cookie. That's good enough for me.
posted by bonaldi at 9:51 PM on April 18, 2006


Oh my God. Thank you. After watching the melange of stars sing the ABC song, I will never, ever need to drop acid. (Seriously, this made me so happy. I love classic - ie what I grew up on - Sesame Street.)

Second -- brilliant post. Thanks man.
posted by rkent at 9:51 PM on April 18, 2006


I was so excited to see childhood memories, I didn't check youtube....here's I Get Mad. It may be a silly question, but how insane is it for me to post a clip myself to youtube?
posted by Iamtherealme at 9:54 PM on April 18, 2006


Fings: Thanks! I've been looking for Capital I online for years.

We all live in a capital I
In the middle of the desert, in the center of the sky...


And all they do is... polish it. Very mystical.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 9:55 PM on April 18, 2006


One of my all-time favorites is Monster in the Mirror (the version with all the celebrity cameos, including the Simpsons).
posted by cerebus19 at 9:59 PM on April 18, 2006


Excellent Postage! Nostalgia. It's what's for dinner.

Surprised no one mentioned Ladybug Picnic!
posted by HyperBlue at 10:14 PM on April 18, 2006


For those who aren't yet familiar with this amazing album...



BORN TO ADD

It's a solid rocker.

1. Born to Add - Christopher Cerf,
2. Cereal Girl - Ivy Austin
3. Count Up to Nine - Jerry Nelson
4. Opposite Song - Chrissy, Christopher Cerf, Chrissy
5. Ten Commandments of Health - Thad Mumford
6. Honk Around a Clock
7. Me Going to Munch You, Munch You, Munch You - Frank Oz
8. (I Can't Get No) Co-Operation - Christopher Cerf, Sesame Street, Sesame Street
9. I Am Chicken - Louise Gold
10. With Every Beat of My Heart - The Monotones, Jerry Nelson
11. I Wish I Had a Friend to Play With Me - Bert, Frank Oz
12. Count It Higher - Chrissy, Christopher Cerf, Chrissy
13. Octopus Blues - Kevin Clash
14. Barn in the U. S. A. - Barnyard Animals, , Christopher Cerf,
posted by stenseng at 10:26 PM on April 18, 2006


C is for cookie that's good enough for me
posted by growabrain at 10:34 PM on April 18, 2006


Ok now I'm wondering if I just imagined this....but wasn't there some skit with Ernie and Bert about the Mysterious Nose Snatcher? Where Ernie had Bert go closer to the camera, closer and closer, until Bert was out of focus and there is a loud pop.....and Bert reappears sans nose.
And I can never seem to find any reference to this.

Meanwhile I am SO loving this thread. The Pinball Counting thing has always rocked.
posted by batgrlHG at 10:34 PM on April 18, 2006


Paul Conrad's cartoon after Jim Henson died was of Kermit holding a sign reading: I lost my voice.
posted by brujita at 10:36 PM on April 18, 2006


Myself? I'm partial to the Venetian Snares remix of the Pinball Song... His version is called "Twelve" from the Infolepsy EP.

I wish I could find a better sample online, but this I can't, so here's the small bit (which isn't the best part, IMO)

Click on the "Twelve" of course, to hear the sample. No referral or anything like that, so don't worry, just googled it now...
posted by symbioid at 10:40 PM on April 18, 2006


Oh and Capital I... man... I remember the very first time I saw that, in fact...
posted by symbioid at 10:41 PM on April 18, 2006


batgrlHG, I remember seeing Bert without a nose, but don't remember further than that. It's going to drive me nuts now.
posted by Iamtherealme at 10:44 PM on April 18, 2006


Some more favourites:
The Alligator King
The King of Eight
ABCDEF...Cookie Monster!
Cookie Monster rhymes
Kermit's Mystery Box
Ernie's Cupcakes
Grover the waiter
Ernie the artist (this is the one with Bert without a nose, Iamtherealme)

and of course:

Who's the private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks? Cookie!
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:46 PM on April 18, 2006


I love trash!
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 10:49 PM on April 18, 2006


Abcadefgeejecklmnopqwerstuviyxes! It's the most incredable word I've ever seen!
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 10:52 PM on April 18, 2006


mijuta - I remember seeing Outerscope on Vegetable Soup and can indeed verify that it was deeply freaky. Mostly because the puppets look a lot like CPR dummies. Or crash dummies. Something very creepy plastic going on there. And now I wish YouTube had Vegetable Soup but I can't find any.

Now my head is full of Ladybug Picnic and the Alligator Picnic and I'm going to have really strange dreams.

Oh and the Bert without a nose thing - this was definitely Ernie telling Bert about a Nose Snatcher, getting him to walk towards the camera in search of the thing, and then Bert without a nose. And you have to realize that I'm ancient enough to have been watching some seriously old Sesame Street here. As in pre Snuffy - and remember the days when Snuffy was invisible to all but Big Bird? Yeah, the nose thing was even earlier than that.
posted by batgrlHG at 10:55 PM on April 18, 2006


(...er, Alligator King, not picnic. )
posted by batgrlHG at 10:56 PM on April 18, 2006


Awesome post, thanks.
posted by Falconetti at 10:56 PM on April 18, 2006


Can't find it on youtube, but my favorite Sesame Street clip was the one with the chef that's carrying a bunch of cakes and he falls down the stairs and cake splatters everywhere.
posted by jefbla at 10:57 PM on April 18, 2006


Oh yeah... the pigeon song by bert!

"Doin' the *cuckoo* pigeon..."

and he does that little dance. RAWK.

Also, I'm including a direct link to my server for the Venetian Snares mix of Twelve (mp3). Don't go kill my bandwidth now :P

Also, I remember Vegetable Soup. And what about Eureka, I think it was produced by WGBH (weren't they all?). That was the cartoon about science. I loved that.

There's two others that I recall, one I don't know if anyone outside of WI would know, "Let Me See" a show with an old lady named Myrtle and her blue bird puppet, and a tin-man looking clock, discussing science... The Bird would say "Caw Myrtle... CAW!" I think it was produced by UW Stevens Point (In Wisconsin)

The other one was this show, I think it was called "All About Me" with this lady who had this sort of 70s lesbian/feminist vibe going... I loved it!

I miss growing up. :(
posted by symbioid at 11:06 PM on April 18, 2006


Oh, oh, oh! It can't be a proper Sesame Street thread without the Aardvark Song! (Scroll down for lyrics and an mp3...sadly, no accompanying video of a hyper-cute aardvark, but it's still pretty good.)

On preview: DOIN' THE PIGEON! I thought I was the only person who remembered that one....
posted by Vervain at 11:12 PM on April 18, 2006


Let's have a treat.
posted by Ohdemah at 11:16 PM on April 18, 2006


T is for toes.
posted by jefbla at 11:18 PM on April 18, 2006


Good grief, you guys. It's after midnight, I work in the morning, and here I am once again lost in YouTube. Thanks a bunch! ;)

By the way, one sketch I've been hunting for that has yet to turn up: "Some... and None" with the Manah Manah guy.
posted by evilcolonel at 11:23 PM on April 18, 2006


2 others that come to mind...
A loaf of bread, a gallon of milk and a stick of butter.

And this totally tripped out animated sequence about a kid on his tricycle who gets lost and is guided back by a morphing fountain/clock by telling him to remember where he had been.
posted by DonnieSticks at 11:45 PM on April 18, 2006


Pinball Count, Three of These Things, Milk... I remember that I'll Miss You, Mr. Hooper. That cast right there, that was my Sesame Street cast.

Sniff.
posted by linux at 11:55 PM on April 18, 2006


Yep Yep Yep Yep Nope Nope Nope Nope

Any more of these guys? I can't get enough!
posted by kjh at 12:41 AM on April 19, 2006


Why is it that I can clearly remember the "You Really Got A Hold On Me" (involving a lot of tugging and scared looks) 20 years later?
posted by radioamy at 1:06 AM on April 19, 2006


Yep Yep Yep Yep Nope Nope Nope Nope

Any more of these guys? I can't get enough!


Just pop into any American politics thread.
posted by srboisvert at 1:40 AM on April 19, 2006


DonnieSticks, were those two seperate skits? I vividly remember both, and have been searching for the clock trip one for years. I thought the was repeating "a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk and a stick of butter" but got distracted by all the cool things he saw so it turned into "a stick of bread, a gallon of milk and a loaf of butter" or something, and then the morphing clock comes in to tell him to remember where he's been. Not sure though... That drove me crazy for years, but I was able to let it go until Christmastime when somebody posted the phrase on here. Wish I could remember who it was.
That skit is one of the big reasons why I experimented with psychoactive substances - I wanted a morphing clockman to talk to me! Never happened, dammit!
posted by Iamtherealme at 2:13 AM on April 19, 2006


"Furry Happy Monsters" is the perfect rock song for really little kids, I think. I was a little dissapointed at first that they couldn't get the B-52s' Kate Pierson to show up and do the backing vocal, but the Muppet with the long hair was the just the right, endearingly goofy touch.
posted by pax digita at 4:09 AM on April 19, 2006


Late to a really great thread, as usual...

"Furry Happy Monsters" is the perfect rock song for really little kids, I think. I was a little dissapointed at first that they couldn't get the B-52s' Kate Pierson to show up and do the backing vocal, but the Muppet with the long hair was the just the right, endearingly goofy touch.

I looked in vain on UTube for a Melissa Etheridge performance on Sesame Street. I think she was singing a love song to the letter "U" or something...it was great.
posted by pax digita at 4:18 AM on April 19, 2006


Who's the private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks? Cookie!

Holy shit. They put Cookie Monster in blackface.

My favorite (I can't find it anywhere online) was Captain Vegetable.
posted by EarBucket at 4:28 AM on April 19, 2006


What about the classic Bert & Ernie bit about eating the sandbox? I don't see that on there.
posted by emelenjr at 4:52 AM on April 19, 2006


Maybe we'll finally have an answer to this AskMe question.
posted by Otis at 5:34 AM on April 19, 2006


The Alligator King!

SEVEN!
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:43 AM on April 19, 2006


Great post and great thread. Anyone want to start a new one for the Muppet Show? Someone sent me this Animal VS Buddy Rich skit which left me craving more Muppetty goodness ;)
posted by p3t3 at 5:44 AM on April 19, 2006


EarBucket, looks like there's a wav file of Capt. Vegetable here. (Scroll down to the C section.) This should satisfy your craving for Sesame sound goodness.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:08 AM on April 19, 2006


However, what really freaked me out as a child was Outerscope on the PBS show Vegetable Soup. I've met only one other person in my lifetime who's seen it.

Holy Crap! Vegetable Soup was one of my favorites but Outerscope was the stuff of a recurring nightmare I had as a child.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane Simon!, we spanned from when I was a child (the freaky pinball song and Stevie Wonder) through my older kids Shiny Happy Monsters and right on down to my baby's Norah Jones favorite.
posted by hollygoheavy at 6:14 AM on April 19, 2006


Yay! Thanks, MonkeyToes. On an obscure trivia note, the pinball numbers cartoon was directed by Ernie Fosselius, of Hardware Wars fame.
posted by EarBucket at 7:54 AM on April 19, 2006


Earbucket, that's not blackface, it is a beard, much like the one Isaac Hayes was sporting.
posted by fings at 10:05 AM on April 19, 2006


Yeah, looking at it again, you're right. That's better.
posted by EarBucket at 12:14 PM on April 19, 2006


That skit is one of the big reasons why I experimented with psychoactive substances - I wanted a morphing clockman to talk to me! Never happened, dammit!

"Just remember everything you passed, but when you go back, make the first thing the last."

"Why thank you, funky morphing mutant pimp from the alternate dimension."

IIRC, the kid doesn't bring anything back - dumps the bike at the curb, runs in the house to tell mom about the leak into alternate reality.

Yeah, good times, in retrospect that 70s Sesame Street was...
posted by Meatbomb at 12:40 PM on April 19, 2006


Nothing tops Ladybugs' Picnic.
posted by k8t at 12:56 PM on April 19, 2006


Okay several people actually remember Vegetable Soup. One more thing I can cross off my list labeled "Real or Did I Just Dream It".

Now then, who remembers Hot Fudge?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:02 PM on April 19, 2006


Does anyone remember or have the link to the video that they did on the Muppets to For "What It's Worth" (Stop, Hey What's That Sound) by Buffalo Springfield? I was trying to describe it to someone when we were discussing Cheney's hunting trip mishap.
posted by unreason at 5:30 PM on April 19, 2006


(*so* late to the party)

My sister and I vividly remember the "a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter" sketch, but none of our friends did. It's great to see we weren't imagining things :) Have yet to find a video link, though.
posted by vespertine at 9:35 AM on April 20, 2006


(I can't Get No) Cooperation has an awesome video where the singer even has a funky-shirt-with-ancient-symbol-stuck-loosely-on a la Jagger in the 69 tour.
posted by stevil at 5:33 PM on April 20, 2006


I love trash
posted by growabrain at 10:35 PM on April 21, 2006


« Older Now that Tomkat has birthed their Tomkitten,...  |  In 1889, Dolores Cannon "chann... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments