Song for an old-fashioned Christmas: "'Twas the night before Christmas on Sesame Street/And the people were sleeping, ‘cause the people were beat/The snow had been falling for most of the day/And it lay over everything, sooty and grey..." -- as performed by Sesame's own David (lyrics) for the 1975 album "Merry Christmas from Sesame Street" (cover; inside artwork; back cover). Please join me (and Bert and Ernie and Oscar and Big Bird and others) in revisiting a holiday classic. [more inside]
To usher in the discussion of Mr. Hooper’s death, Big Bird gives out pictures that he’s drawn (done by Spinney himself) to his friends on the block. Big Bird already knows about Mr. Hooper’s death but he does not understand that death is for forever. “Big Bird, don’t you remember, we told you. Mr. Hooper died. He is dead,” Maria says. “Oh, yeah. I remember. Well, I’ll give it to him when he comes back,” Big Bird replies. There’s no philosophical explanation from the other characters as to why Mr. Hooper won’t return, no afterlife, no complications of spirituality. He’s just dead. It’s blunt, but it’s true.That time on Sesame Street when they taught Big Bird about death.
For those of you celebrating Thanksgiving today (and anyone else), here's Dick Cavett's 1971 Thanksgiving Special. [more inside]
W-ORD Channel 7 News With John Oliver & Cookie Monster. In support of "Sesame Street's" newest vocabulary resource, "Words are Here, There and Everywhere," Mashable has teamed up with Sesame Workshop to encourage families to explore the wonderful world of words.
Elmo can't sleep and Ricky Gervais offers a Celebrity Lullaby. Poor Elmo. Ricky Gervais is no Brad Pitt.
What's the intersection between Star Wars and the Muppets? Chances are you'll think of Yoda. Maybe you knew that Jim Henson & his creature-makers had nothing to do with the original Star Wars movie. And sure, you probably knew that some of the Star Wars cast were featured on the Muppet Show (watch on YouTube). But wait, there's more. [more inside]
Jean Bon-Bon is a very sad guy in pursuit of cookies on the streets of Paris. Les Mousserables is a Sesame Street parody which explores the many emotions which a powerful musical can create.
Following Homelamb (previously), Far From Seven and Sons of Poetry in the category of "Things I Never Thought I'd See On Sesame Street," I give you The Hungry Games: Catching Fur. Note: free of children killing other children.
Previously. Full list of Sesame Street spoofs and parodies. [more inside]
Previously. Full list of Sesame Street spoofs and parodies. [more inside]
"Milk" is one of the most strange and powerful episodes to come out of the Children's Television Workshop. It is impossible to imagine this film being made now. Here's the pitch:
Yeah… Jim. Look, I thought we would show how milk gets made with no script and no dialogue. Yeah. Let's just go shoot footage of farmers and the milk truck, maybe throw in a crying baby and some weird, monotone music crafted by some composer who likes jazzy stuff played by a chamber ensemble. Sunny day? Nah. Let's not make it cheerful or happy. We should make it gloomy and unsettling. Oh, and Jim? To do it right, we need some crane shots, a huge decal for the truck, and about four and a half minutes running time.Read on, for an interview with Robert Dennis, composer of Milk and other clips (including Cow Feeding and the Mad Painter series of shorts).
Homelamb: Sesame Street meets Homeland, parody ensues.
Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration is a bilingual initiative to help children cope with an incarcerated parent. [more inside]
"On an average afternoon in the area around 44th and Broadway in Midtown Manhattan, you’ll find a motley crew of Chewbaccas, Buzz Lightyears, and Minnie Mouses — along with the usual Naked Cowboy and face-painted Statues of Liberty—posing for tourists’ pictures and demanding cash in return." Condé Nast Traveler editor Eimear Lynch spent a couple of days dressed up as Cookie Monster to see what it was like. Video. [more inside]
"How do you get to be the first nonprofit to top 1 billion YouTube views? One view at a time. The Count from 'Sesame Street' tallies them up."*
Because you can't, you won't, and you don't stop learning: Oscar, Grover, and Cookie Monster rockin' the Beastie Boys' "Sure Shot." [more inside]
Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street as his first accuser retracts his retraction and a second accuser emerges. Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon says this can't kill Elmo. Previously, and previously, alas.
Jerry Nelson, one of the major talents 'underneath' the Muppets, has passed away at the age of 78. [more inside]
Cookie Monster is going crazy. So share your cookie maybe? SLYT
Jim Henson's Red Book "In June 1965, 28-year-old Jim Henson started a written log of his activities in what became known as “The Red Book.” He noted what had happened up until that point (deemed “Ancient History”) and then recorded anything that he felt was worth recording as single line journal entries until the end of 1988." via retroist.
The band "OK Go" are using their signature blend of pleasant indie pop and quirky, home-grown videos to teach kids about primary colors in a new short for Sesame Street. - SLYT
Between February 1989 and May 1990, there were three significant deaths in the Sesame Street world. The first was Joe Raposo, a significant musician for Sesame Street and Electric Company. The last was Jim Henson, mourned by Big Bird, remembered by Frank Oz, and celebrated in song by many (from the St. John's Memorial, detailed here). The second person to die in this time period was Northern Calloway, Sesame Street's David. Unlike Joe and Jim, there were no television tribute to Northern's life and career on Sesame Street or Broadway. Instead, David, once a young, cool, urban guy, who was studying to be a lawyer while working at Mr. Hooper's storeand the initial romantic interest of Maria, left the show through a letter, read by Gordon. The story behind David is told below the fold. [more inside]
Bert and Ernie recording their voices for TomTom. This is perhaps the funniest viral ad for a product that I've seen. TomTom in-car navigation systems offer custom voices to read out directions, and their latest additions are from Sesame Street. This is the promotional video, showing what the recording session was like... [SLYTPB]
In 1969, Sesame Street put together an unaired pilot to test in front of children. The pilot contained the appearance of an actor playing Gordon different from the other three actors who subsequently played that character. Sesame Workshop has no idea who this actor was and has exhausted all leads. Do you know who the mystery Gordon is?
Elvis Costello sings A Monster Went and Ate My Red 2. (slyt)
The Best of #OccupySesameStreet. Since its launched two weeks ago, the #OccupyWallStreet movement has gone national, spawning copy-cat demonstrations in far-flung locales like Tulsa and Boise. Its members have serious concerns--about income inequality, the influence of large corporations in our political system, and their own financial futures. The #OccupySesameStreet movement? Not so much.
"'Being Elmo,' the crowd-pleasing [documentary film] profile of the man behind Elmo, arguably the most-loved Muppet on 'Sesame Street,' has been melting hearts on the festival circuit since premiering at Sundance this year, where it won the Special Jury Prize. ... [It's the] story of how puppeteer Kevin Clash came up through the ranks on sheer ambition and ingenuity to become one of the best in the business is an underdog tale of the best variety."* However, could it be that there is an Elmo backlash brewing? [more inside]
Science! (autoplaying video) The 42nd season of "Sesame Street," which premiered today, will be including a few new educational categories for preschoolers in its usual mix of lessons and parodies: STEM skills — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In addition to more scientifically accurate slapstick, characters will try experiments, build bridges and boats, launch rockets and think through problems that require trial and error, observation and data -- all problem areas for America's students. [more inside]
CookieWaits is a Tom Waits/Cookie Monster mashup that is so obvious you'll wonder why you never thought of it before. Not the best Sesame Street lip-sync I've seen but still satisfyingly amusing.
one, two, three, FOUR, five, six, seven, eight, NINE, ten, eleven, twelve! The Sesame Street's Pinball Number Count by the Pointer Sisters reimagined with stop motion.
Sesame Street a la BBoys. (Vimeo link)
Big Bird Through The Years If you grew up watching Sesame Street, how Big Bird is "supposed" to look to you depends greatly on when you did the watching. He started out looking pretty scruffy looking, as seen one of his more famous songs. This song features a Big Bird closest to the one I know. The puppeteer behind Big Bird is Caroll Spinney who received a Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2006 Daytime Emmy Awards. [more inside]
Given Sesame Street's popularity over the past four decades, it's not surprising that the show has been broadcast all over the world. But it might be surprising to know the international extent of Sesame Street: the show has been localized with co-production of more than 40 programs in 30 countries, plus another 20+ dubbed versions. For the 40th anniversary in 2009, the Canadian National Post had a gallery of 101 Sesame Street characters (prev) and included a few international faces, Smithsonian had a spotlight on 18 local characters, and The Sesame Workshop had a list of Sesame Street Milestones, including some international Sesame events. But the Muppet Wiki trumps them all, with a a collection of international Sesame Street crossovers and a complete list of all international Sesame Street editions. Hop on inside for video clips from most of the 37 international editions of Sesame Street. [more inside]
Oscar The Grouch picks the Oscars. (1m28s)
Still Life with Animated Dogs is a witty and candid cartoon by Paul Fierlinger, animator of Sesame Street's Teeny Little Super Guy, recounting his life from being a dissident artist in 1960s Czechoslovakia to being a successful animator in the US. He tells his lifestory by talking about the dogs he's owned over the years, Roosevelt, Ike, Johnson and Spinnaker. Warning: Something may get stuck in your eye.
Sesame Street's Grover spoofs the original Old Spice ad. As great as this is, it's not the first time Sesame Street has parodied something. They've also done 30 Rock, Mad Men, True Blood, Law & Order: SVU, Desperate Housewives, CSI, Highschool Musical, Twin Peaks (during a parody of Masterpiece, no less) and even Casablanca and Shaft.
'Sesame Street' Pulls Katy Perry video from show. Sesame Workshop, which produces the long-running PBS children’s show “Sesame Street,” said on Thursday morning that it would not show a music video planned for the coming 41st season of the series that features the pop singer Katy Perry, citing in its decision the outcry of viewers who had seen the suggestive video online. The video features Ms. Perry singing a parody of her song “Hot ‘N Cold” accompanied by the “Sesame Street” character Elmo. Via NYTimes.com
The Triumph Of The Crayolatariat - a reflection on the iconic status of the old Crayola factory tour. You can take the new tour and see boots worn by an actual worker, but the manufacturing process is now a performance piece. [more inside]
Paedomorphic flightlessness and taxonomic affinities of an enormous Recent bird is a talk on the anatomy and evolutionary history of a certain flightless bird indigenous to New York City.
William Wegman, most widely known for his photographs including his Weimaraners, has a body of past works that includes work for Sesame Street. If you're looking for muppets, you will be disappointed. But if you want people with dog heads and human hands, you're in luck! The clips include a haircut and styling for dogs, Rub-a-dub dub, Ten O'Clock Scholar, dogs making the letter A, L and K as in King, dogs demonstrate 2 and 3, a performance of "Jack Sprat" and dogs baking bread (inspired by a post on MetaChat by Obscure Reference). [more inside]
Al Jarnow had been exploring time and space in his panoramic paintings when a friend suggested he try animation. From experimental films (Cubits) he went on to create shorts for Children's Television Workshop that were seen by millions on Sesame Street (Yak, Orange, Floor Tiles, Block City, Perpectives, Put Your Litter in the Can, Real Cats Drink Milk) and 3-2-1 Contact (Facial Recognition). One standout is Cosmic Clock, which speeds us through time much the way the Eames' Powers of Ten speeds us through space. Along with his collected works on DVD, Numero Group has released the half-hour documentary Asymmetric Cycles: The Work Of Al Jarnow. [more inside]
Johnny Cash (who would've been 78 yesterday) performs on Sesame Street. Nasty Dan, Five Feet High and Rising, Don't Take Your Ones To Town, Tall Tale and also spoofed as Ronnie Trash. [more inside]