25 Favorite Sesame Street Memories
April 11, 2005 4:22 PM   Subscribe

I know this has been linked all over the place recently, but I hadn't seen it here, and its been the thing that's stuck in my mind for the past few days.

I love the Mr Snuffleupagus quote, too.
posted by anastasiav at 4:23 PM on April 11, 2005

This (from the linked site) is hilarious.

...and usually kind of scared the shit out of me as a child.
posted by interrobang at 4:45 PM on April 11, 2005

does anyone know where to get an mp3 of the pinball "12" song? or a video. always loved that one.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 4:46 PM on April 11, 2005

Mentioned in passing in the last Sesame Street thread.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:47 PM on April 11, 2005

TechnoLustLuddite: Eleven Twelve.
posted by rhapsodie at 4:50 PM on April 11, 2005

BTW, rhapsodie, that version is a remix by Braces Tower.
posted by 40 Watt at 4:55 PM on April 11, 2005

although it's STILL shit hot.
posted by 40 Watt at 4:57 PM on April 11, 2005

All the best in-jokey, adult humour in Sesame Street (like the Beatles spoof &c) should be compiled into a single great hour-long episode of goofiness.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:03 PM on April 11, 2005

It all looks a bit terrifying from adulthood. It's amazing that I was entertained by all those bits of crap stuck together and wiggled about.
posted by fire&wings at 5:06 PM on April 11, 2005

So, as a parent who loves this stuff - does anyone know if any classic Sesame Street is available on DVD (or, uh, Torrent)?
posted by hamfisted at 5:19 PM on April 11, 2005

interrobang beat me to linking the yipyip.mp3 they have in the list...it's been soooooo long since I have listened to this, and I am glad to now have a copy!

posted by gren at 5:34 PM on April 11, 2005

So, as a parent who loves this stuff - does anyone know if any classic Sesame Street is available on DVD

I was thinking the same thing, but then I realized I watched this for like 6 years, tons of new episodes, and it would take a ginormous box set to cover all the best bits mentioned in this list of great things.
posted by mathowie at 5:44 PM on April 11, 2005

oh yeah, here is the original pinball video (I think) 22.5MB .mov ;¬)

please be kind to my monthly download quota and mirror :)
posted by gren at 5:44 PM on April 11, 2005

This is great. But no Monsterpiece Theatre with Alistair Cookie?!
posted by sellout at 5:48 PM on April 11, 2005

Thanks to dre for the vid :)
posted by gren at 5:48 PM on April 11, 2005

Most Sesame Street videos are original content, but they often use the assorted interstitials about the numbers and letters as segment transitions. You should have no problem finding some of your favorites lodged in the middle of some Sesame Street video; we have videos that include the "Ladybug Picnic" song, the "Alligator King" song, the 1-12 pinball song, and many more.
posted by briank at 5:51 PM on April 11, 2005

Remember the episode where they thought Mr. Hooper was hiding stink bombs and bad cake and milk that was past its sell-by date?

And Bert and Ernie, following Oscar the Grouch's instructions burst into Mr. Hooper's store, and Ernie clubs old Mr. Hooper in the stomach so the poor old guy folds over on himself, while Bert goes behind him and tis his hands together and then Ernie shoves the black hood over Hooper's head and snickers "No more chances for you, old man!"

And then they chain Mr. Hooper to the floor of his own convenience store and Bert and Ernie start smacking Hooper around, with Ernie saying "Ok, old man, tell us where the stink bombs are!" and Bert chiming in a second later with "Yeah!"

And then back and forth they hit old Mr. Hooper in the pointed hood. Ernie: "Ok, old man, tell us where the past-due milk is!" Bert, all in a nasal voice: "Yeah, old man!" until finally Mr. Hooper sags down unconscious.

And you think it's over but they take the hood off Mr. Hooper's bruised face and they bring the Cookie Monster in on a leash and Mr. Hooper wakes up and tries to scramble backwards and Bert and Ernie haul back on Cookie Monster's leash and then set him snapping at Mr. Hooper's legs, and you see the crazy fear in Mr. Hooper's old tired eyes.

And in the end it turns out that Mr. Hooper never was hiding any stink bombs or germy old milk or that bad yellow cake they accused him of hiding for The Count, and even The Count didn't even have any of those things either.

'Cause that was the funniest part, at the end, when Bert and Ernie finally took the handcuffs off Mr. Hooper and he flopped onto the floor, and Bert kinda looks down and tells Mr. Hooper all diffidently, "Yeah, hey, sorry, but we had to do that, you know, to bring you the Gift of Democracy" and Ernie just nods his head and shrugs and old Mr. Hooper just lays there like he can't move with his unblinking eyes staring up at Bert and Ernie's American flag.
posted by orthogonality at 5:52 PM on April 11, 2005

orthogonality, that was really dumb.
posted by mathowie at 6:01 PM on April 11, 2005

mathowie writes "orthogonality, that was really dumb."

Maybe it was. But if our childhood memories are of Sesame Street, their memories are of innocent brothers and uncles who got caught up in sweep and sent to Abu Ghraib and never returned.

And I suspect what I wrote is closer to what a lot of kids in Iraq and Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are going to see the next time America's Sesame Street plays on their TVs. And unlike me, they won't afflict you with words, they'll grow up to strap on bombs and head to America for their own fiery apocalyptic version of the American Dream.
posted by orthogonality at 6:10 PM on April 11, 2005

I haven't seen Sesame Street since I was 8 years old, a LONG time ago. And suddenly I'm like YES!! because I remember Grover knowing the difference between near and far. Fort da, baby.
posted by mistersquid at 6:23 PM on April 11, 2005

This is great. But no Monsterpiece Theatre with Alistair Cookie?!

Heh. My thoughts exactly. To this day, I always associate the music from Chariots of Fire with Cookie Monster's "Chariots of Fur".
posted by unreason at 6:33 PM on April 11, 2005

Ah, memories. I wonder how many here ever watched Sesame Street in black and white?
posted by dg at 6:37 PM on April 11, 2005

This was fantastic, thanks for linking it. It had the typewriter guy! He was so cool. I have so many neat little memories around this stuff - just small ones since I was young, but they're bright little things, happy and lovely to recollect.

More clearly I remember the 1988 special referenced, as being one of my favourite things on tv of all time. That was the one that had Ralph Nader on "People in Your Neighbourhood", not to mention the 1988 NY Giants. So. Cool. Plus, Follow That Bird! Some friends of mine are in that movie - in their strollers, along the parade route. It was filmed near their town.
posted by livii at 6:38 PM on April 11, 2005

Ah, memories. I wonder how many here ever watched Sesame Street in black and white?
*raises hand, but was already too old for Sesame St and used to watch anyway with little brother in b&w*

Some of those listed are really really old--the near and far Grover thing, the chef with the birthday cake counting thing : >

(and your thing wasn't dumb at all ortho--it was spot-on.)
posted by amberglow at 6:41 PM on April 11, 2005

Everytime I go to Harvey's and get lousy service I think of the fat blue man and Grover-the-terrible-waiter. And anyone who goes to Harvey's with me is doomed to hear about Grover and the fat little blue man. And no one ever remembered those skits before. I feel so validated.
posted by duck at 6:42 PM on April 11, 2005

I am 6 years old again. Good find.
posted by boo_radley at 6:55 PM on April 11, 2005

Was the fat blue man intentionally a friendly Danny Devito?
posted by NickDouglas at 7:03 PM on April 11, 2005

[waves hand at dg. you bet! Sesame Street and Gunsmoke were my childhood faves.]

In a thread full of "bright little things, happy and lovely to recollect," someone has to shit out a big ol' political turd and spoil the day. twit.]
posted by five fresh fish at 7:06 PM on April 11, 2005

Totally raised on the Street. Born the same year, in fact. Thanks for the mention of the Alligator King: I'd forgotten him. THere was something about his big blinking eyes and one large tooth that spoke to me.

You also inspired me to go looking for my favorite Street song, which I hadn't heard since I was a kid: The D song, with its dada lyrics:

Dandelions roar and your daddy is deaf,
The daisies drank the water and the tadpoles left.
Your eyes are drooping darling daughter and you're dizzy in the head;
The toads are eating dinner so it's time to go to bed.

According to this archive, Kermit did Lime in the Coconut at some point. Don't remember that, but I;d love to see it.

Sadly, "Me & My Llama" is not on the list. The tune runs through my head often. Me and my llama. Goin' to the dentist today-ay-ay-ay.
posted by Miko at 7:14 PM on April 11, 2005

the best thing about having a kid, and being unemployed/part time?
being able to watch sesame street. and loving it.
posted by ShawnString at 7:35 PM on April 11, 2005

I'd actually seek out Sesame Street when I was home sick in high school. Something about it was just comforting. The same goes for Mr. Rogers too.
posted by substrate at 7:42 PM on April 11, 2005

Miko: I think Kermit did "Lime in the Coconut" on The Muppet Show. I vaguely remember Sam the Eagle breaking in on the end of the skit and pontificating about mixing lime and coconut. (I think Janice was the nurse, although it may have been the other girl muppet with long blonde hair.)

My 13yo still does the "BA-nana" thing everytime I bring home bananas.
posted by jlkr at 7:43 PM on April 11, 2005

Great link. I loved the Metropolitan Art Museum special. For awhile there I thought it was my imagination because whenever I mentioned it to anyone they don't seem to have any idea of what I am talking about.
posted by mystic cheezewhiz at 8:02 PM on April 11, 2005

"Lime in the Coconut" was indeed on the Muppet Show. The one where Kenny Rogers guest stars.
posted by hamfisted at 8:25 PM on April 11, 2005

Lots of great memories here...

The Twiddlebugs rocked my world, though.

And Monsterpiece Theater's Me, Claudius was classic. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 9:06 PM on April 11, 2005

I must strenuously disagree w/the notion that it was good to change Snuffleupagus into just another puppet. This moment represented the death of imagination and the hated ascendency of Elmo. Perhaps next they'll get rid of Oscar Grouch to stop kids from talking to people who live in trash-cans?

Also the segment with the milk truck should have been included as excellent, as well as the one with the pink ball that runs on little tracks and turns into powder.

Finally, if the street is starting to feel a bit stale, one can check-out WonderShowzen, a truly disturbed program that seems oddly to retain more of the Street's original philosophy than might be obvious at 1st glance...
posted by washburn at 11:36 PM on April 11, 2005

My all time favorite sesame Street moment. Grover and Tim Robins are talking about the meaning of surprise.

Tim: A surprise is...
All of a Sudden Grover goes all psycho and does that freaky head shaking thing from Jacobs Ladder.
Tim: ... a surprise is when something unexpected happens.

My brother and I died laughing at that and still get a good laugh out of reminding each other of it. I was much to old to really be watching sesame Street by that time but that was kind of the beauty of sesame Street wasn't it? Well, until half of the show became "Elmo's World".
posted by adamt at 1:22 AM on April 12, 2005

I'm a dog, I'm a working dog,
I'm a hard working dog.
Working like a dog-gone dog.

I loved that video. And the Bert and Ernie bit where Ernie makes up rhymes, and Bert finally says, "Hey there lamp, that's a nice shade."
posted by tizzie at 5:17 AM on April 12, 2005

Does anyone remember the segment on the crayon factory where they show how crayons are made? That was always my favorite. But I can't remember whether that was Sesame Street or Pinwheel Playhouse.
posted by Alison at 6:00 AM on April 12, 2005

So, as a parent who loves this stuff - does anyone know if any classic Sesame Street is available on DVD

You would think so, but it doesn't look like it. This came up over in the Green a while back when someone was looking for a specific Sesame Street clip. I spent about 2 days looking for that clip in every Internet nook & cranny you can think of with no results. The TV channel "Noggin" broadcast old episodes of Sesame Street and Electric Company back when the channel was first launched in 1999, but they stopped in 2003. I haven't seen many caps of these floating around, but it seems people may be doing some tape trading over at (ahem) Muppet Central. Also, there are hopes that the new Comcast channel "Sprout" will air old episodes as they will have access to the entire library of old CTW shows.
posted by Otis at 6:16 AM on April 12, 2005

Well, until half of the show became "Elmo's World".

It drove me crazy when that happened too: part of the wonder of Sesame Street was that it was something adults could watch with children , connect with it themselves, and in that connecting really understand what the kids were seeing and learning. Elmo's World feels like it's just for the kids, shutting the adults out in some ways, and at the same time not giving kids those sneaky little peaks into the adult world.

I go back and forth on the Mr. Snuffleupagus change, because both the original lessons about imagination and how frustrating the world could be sometimes, and the new message about being able to tell adults your secrets and being believed are so important.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:29 AM on April 12, 2005

I thought the quote was: "If Mr. Snuffleupagus is real, everything is permitted."
posted by soyjoy at 7:02 AM on April 12, 2005 [1 favorite]

Alison, I'm pretty sure that was actually Mr. Rogers. The funny thing is, I remember exactly what you were talking about. That was a great episode.

I adored Sesame Street. I remember all of these moments (although Grover has a whole series of "This is.." scenes, my personal favorite was about SPACE). All of my irreverent humor and a a good portion of my warm-fuzzy feelings about childhood stem from the Muppets. It makes me feel terrifyingly old to see Gabriela, Maria and Luis' daughter, whose birth I remember distinctly running around as a teenager.

For those parents who want the older episodes, if you can get the Noggin channel, on cable, they have "123 Sesame Street" which is the only place I know to get Sesame Street reruns. I gleefully tune into that when I want to relive moments of my childhood.
posted by nelleish at 7:28 AM on April 12, 2005

Oh, do be aware that Noggin turns into The N, for teens, after 6pm, so its not 24-hours of pre-K programming.
posted by nelleish at 7:33 AM on April 12, 2005

I can't hear you, I've got a BANANA in my ear!

posted by delfin at 7:42 AM on April 12, 2005

What about the kid who has to go to the grocery store for "a loaf of bread, a quart of milk, and a stick of butta..... A loaf of bread, a quart of milk, and a stick of butta..."

Or was that from Electric Company?
posted by dnash at 8:05 AM on April 12, 2005

Great post. I happened to be watching the day the adults first saw Snuffy, and was amazed at how cathartic it was. I was in my mid twenties at the time and couldn't believe what a relief it was to resolve all those years of frustration, all those near misses.
That said, I can only ask: no Manha-Manha? no Guy Smiley?
no Roosevelt Franklin (Baaa) Elementary School?
no Mumford the Magnificent?(A-la-Peanut-Butter-Sandwiches!)
Nice work.
posted by Listener_T at 8:15 AM on April 12, 2005

See the Ask question linked above.
posted by Otis at 8:20 AM on April 12, 2005

Miko: I have no idea why, but when I was a kid the "D" song creeped me out and gave me nightmares. I liked "We All Live In a Capital I (In The Middle Of The Desert, In The Middle Of The Sky)."

Snuff coming out I can understand. The latest outrage -- Cookie Monster on a diet -- I cannot. He will now crave fruits and vegetables and teach that "cookies are a 'sometimes food'."

"C" is for COOKIE, goddammit! That's good enough for me.

posted by The Bellman at 9:11 AM on April 12, 2005

I enjoyed the link, but this was horrible.
posted by orange swan at 9:14 AM on April 12, 2005

hat said, I can only ask: no Manha-Manha? no Guy Smiley?
no Roosevelt Franklin (Baaa) Elementary School?
no Mumford the Magnificent?(A-la-Peanut-Butter-Sandwiches!)

Manha-Manha was not exclusively a SS thing -- it was a Henson thing long before there was a CTW.

I got a nice note from the guy who made the site:
"I just really didn't feel like paying $5 just to say thanks for the link on there & to explain that a lot of the "HAY WHAT ABOUT THIS ONE" things that people mentioned did get bumped for ones I could write something a little more meaningful about at the time. The plan is to do a second list of 25 in the distant future."
posted by anastasiav at 9:22 AM on April 12, 2005

when I was a kid the "D" song creeped me out and gave me nightmares

Maybe it was the dandelion heads coming to life and roaring like lions. I'm tellin' ya, it was trippy.
posted by Miko at 9:56 AM on April 12, 2005

At some point when I was in college I got fond of the Windham Hill acoustic recordings (Will Ackerman, Michael Hedges, that kind of thing) and realized at some point that a good part of that fondness grew from Sesame Street. That was the exact kind of music that would play during the little scenes that showed how to make bread or grow vegetables or card wool or what have you, and it was weirdly comforting. Still find it so.

I also loved what the website guy said about the "in-jokes" for grownups sinking in after childhood (e.g., Placido Flamingo). My own particular one experience of that was actually from the Electric Company--"Fargo North, Decoder." Took me SEVENTEEN YEARS to get that punchline. I seriously remember the light bulb going on with an audible click.
posted by dlugoczaj at 10:00 AM on April 12, 2005

I sometimes find myself singing Sesame Street songs and my non-American husband looks at me a little funny. I'm glad to see that Captain Vegetable made it on this list as now perhaps when I start singing "It is I, Captain Vegetable with my carrot and my celery!" it won't seem quite so strange.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:16 AM on April 12, 2005

Ah, memories. I wonder how many here ever watched Sesame Street in black and white?

Do you remember when Sesame Street was really small? It was once just a single block. Then it went off the air for a while and, when it came back on, it was a much bigger street.

When was this?
posted by grumblebee at 1:12 PM on April 12, 2005

We have a really old record of Sesame Street songs that my parents used to play all the time for my brothers and me. It had all the classics: "Letter B", "Born to Add", "Count Up to Nine" . . . a lot of stuff that's on this one.

This article got me a bit teary-eyed.
posted by Anonymous at 2:36 PM on April 12, 2005

Brings back fond memories.

If I could find the DVDs over here in the uk I would buy the lot, and play them for the kids (secretly just an excuse so I could enjoy the hilarious antics of Bert and Ernie)
posted by fujikyoko at 2:39 PM on April 12, 2005

I recently got the three disc box set "Songs From the Street", and, if not definitive, it's within shouting distance. It has a nice balance of new, old, and real old stuff, and lots of great guest appearances. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Thanks again, anastasiav.
posted by Listener_T at 2:53 PM on April 12, 2005

Do you remember when Sesame Street was really small? It was once just a single block. Then it went off the air for a while and, when it came back on, it was a much bigger street. When was this?

Now that you mention it, I remember that that happened, but have no idea when. I think it was probably somewhere between when I stopped watching it as I grew up and when my kids started watching it, which would place it somewhere between about 1975 and about 1986.
posted by dg at 3:27 PM on April 12, 2005

dg, it was much earlier than that. I was born in 1965, so by 75 I was ten -- way too old for Sesame Street.

But I think there may have beem TWO expansions. The one I'm think of -- which must have been in the late 60s or very early 70s -- widened the street from just one house (the main bulding with Oscar's trash can outside) to a whole street. New additions included Mr. Hooper's store and that sort of yard where Big Bird lives.

I think (years after I stopped watching), it was expanded again. Doesn't Sesame Street now extend round a corner or something?
posted by grumblebee at 3:35 PM on April 12, 2005

My toddler likes to watch Play With Me Sesame, which is sort of a spinoff with skits that are relatively short and typically get the kids to participate with the show. She's obsessed with it, and I've started to hate it. Nothing for the adults, just mindless repetition. At least it's actually educational, unlike most crappy kids' TV.

But occasionally the TiVo grabs a real Sesame Street (still shown on the PBS station here in Dallas) and I'll watch it by myself. I didn't realize how much I'd missed in the last twenty or so years, but Mr. Hooper's death and the wonderfully responsible way the show handled it still remains as one of the best moments in children's television (if not all of TV) in my mind. And I still sing the pinball 1-12 song everytime the number 12 comes around.

And I've gotta say: boo_radley gets it and orthogonality completely does not. What a downer.
posted by elvolio at 4:48 PM on April 12, 2005

Some of us are here....
NONE of us are here...
and some...

My favorite song from the show, bar none. Also reminds me of how the show today greatly suffers from the loss of two geniuses: Jim Henson and songwriter Joe Raposo.
posted by evilcolonel at 9:21 PM on April 12, 2005

posted by codger at 8:11 AM on April 13, 2005

evilcolonel, you are right about the loss of the two geniuses.
Joe Raposo was such a huge loss. His melodies live with me to this day. "Everybody Eats" "Somebody Come and Play" , and countless others showed that it is possible to write music that is childlike but not childish, and, as has been mentioned before about the scripts for the show, is as accessible and enjoyable to the adults watching as to the children for whom it was ostensibly written.
And for another "Hey what about...?" moment:
I used to love the segments with Paul Benedict (later Mr. Bentley from "The Jeffersons") wandering around looking for a place to paint a number : "I'm going to paint a 7".
posted by Listener_T at 3:08 PM on April 13, 2005

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