Monday, January 21, 2008
ARE YOU A SESAME STREET KID?
Sunny Day Sweepin' the clouds away On my way to where the air is sweet Can you tell me how to get, How to get to Sesame Street
Are you a Sesame Street kid?
Funny how modern technology connects us back to the yesteryears. I am 43 and have three grown up children of my own and it is a nice thing to know (and say) that the pictures of Sesame Street in my mind have never faded.
Getting caught into the whirl of online games with SIMS Life Stories, and being fascinated with the Riley character, which plays havoc on my little girl dreams of a nice dollhouse, a memory of the Sesame Street dollhouse flashed across my mind.
One, two, two sleepy heads One, two, two little beds Two sleepy heads, two little beds, all quiet now In a little dollhouse
The floodgates opened.
The entire cast of Sesame Street sprung up in my mind -- int their best element that made each one of them popular with kids.My fondest memories of Sesame Street are of the characters' songs and voices that still echo in my ears.
When was my initiation into the MUPPET brotherhood (and sisterhood)? Wikipedia says Sesame Street started in 1969 in the US and was aired around the world several years thereafter. That would make it safe to say that my acquaintance with the
Sesame Street neighborhood happened when I was 7-8 years old (Go Figure!)
Who cared then that the muppets were created by Jim Henson? At age 7 or 8, I didn't. It was only later when the Muppet Show started that I took notice of the famous muppeteer's name. (just because I was older and already knew how to read the credits -LOL)
The Sesame Street audience grew older and was ushered into a vaudeville-like conglomeration of blue, green, pink and yellow muppets dressed in glittery stage costumes (Remember Miss Piggy in her "sexy" swine-like renditions of numbers a la Marilyn Monroe) Kermit, the frog, her all-time pal (maybe even an all-weather boyfriend,, on and off screen hehehehe) couldn't be far behind - in a tux and bow tie cleverly drowning the slimy undertones in his "frog" surname. He sure looked respectable in a tux but his voice is a little too drab and boring for a frog-in-a-jester's-costume number with stars painted over his little froggy eyes . (ribbit!)
That's going too far now --I have hardly made my point about Sesame Street and I am too far gone with the Muppet Show.
Let's rewind a little.
Call the roll.
Big Bird - ever yellow and feathery, I have always wondered why they chose a bird of that size-- with two white eyeballs glued on his face and a long beak, he is probably the most popular Sesame Street character of all time. He may be too big for his kind but his voice certainly sounds very "birdie". Everyone's feathered friend, Big Bird is - - but I remember having nightmares where all the birds on earth grew to his size. (I guess I just don't like my lovebirds and parakeets that big).
Snuffleupagus -- I don't remember seeing this humongous character (is he a mammoth or an elephant? must be a mammoth because he is hairy) early on into my acquaintance with the soft
puppets until after a few years. Good thing I was older then or I would have created an association between birds and mammoths being as big as each other. My concept of size would
have been pathetically distorted. Good thing they did not let Big Bird and Snuffle talk about big and small and confused them little tots!It is still a wonder to me whether BigBird and Mr. Snuffleupagus finally ever "met". They kept missing each other in all the shows I have seen and
there are times I still wonder if they finally caught each other in the same scene (I grew older, I lost track)
Oscar - The GROUCH. Funny association with temperament and abodes. I have vividly associated grouchiness with the trashcan that growing older as an adult, every grouchy person I
met I felt like asking whether he lived in a trashcan--or near one, at least. hahahah I imagined that if he said yes , my next question would have been - do you live in Sesame Street, by the stairs? near the red brick wall? Do you lack social skills? You might want to learn a lesson or two from Oscar how to do it gracefully.
Cookie Monster --AHHHH YUM YUM YUM!!! A character that's supposed to be a glutton for cookies! As a kid, I itched about trying to see down his throat where he keeps all the cookies --but my more intelligent and rational side told me that nothing went to his tummy --he eats cookies so carelessly and sloppily that everything fell out of his mouth and did not reach his gut.
Grover -- the lovable muppet-hero that puts Superman and all other cloaked heroes to shame. Super Grover when in his superhero costume is notorious in his non-solution to problems. But he is excused if only because of his lovable looks. His voice always sounded apologetic --like he also felt he was a big disgrace to the rest of the superherokind. Sporting a G on his chest and a headdress that looked like a portion of a steel armour's head part, I wonder if he also got his costume from E-bay where Jeff Dunham's Melvin, the superhero character did. At least Grover is phonetically correct with the letter G, Melvin has a D on his chest (apparently standing for da-da-da-da! (the sound we people make when a superhero makes an entrance)
Dang! I strayed again. Jeff Dunham's characters will star in another blog entry -watch for it!
Back to Sesame Street.
The Count - He is not scary even with two dracula blood-sucking fangs showing. He has a lens over his left eye. I wonder if this gentleman really comes from the land of Dracula, Transylvania. I haven't seen a be-spectacled version of Count Dracula. LOL. A pointed nose and pointed ears complement the pointed collars of his black coat. He has a funny laugh that he does after counting each item.I have forgotten what are the items he usually counts but I know he LOOOVESSS to count.
Guy Smiley - the dashing, debonaire heartthrob of Sesame Street showbizland, this famous TV anchor waltzes around the stage with his signature newscaster/reporter movements. He also doubles as a charming TV show host. Needless to say, Guy Smiley is that big mouth character that always carries a microphone -- ever ready to ambush others for an interview.
Ernie and Bert -- it is impossible to discuss sesame street without mentioning Ernie and Bert who share stellar billing with Big Bird in terms of popularity. They stereotype duo that never ends contradicting each other -- Ernie being the habitual practical joker and Bert being the grouch. This tandem brings to mind Abbott and Costello, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Laurel and Hardy, and if you please,even Dastardly and Muttley or the Slag Brothers of Bouldermobile (both of the Wacky Races fame)
Roosevelt Franklin - remember that only muppet in Sesame Street that depicts a younger human being - a schoolboy, that is. Obviously a take off from Franklin Roosevelt, Roosevelt Franklin is the schoolboy that habitually plays mischief and ends up in trouble. Very much like Dennis the Menace, only, Roosevelt is purple and has his shaggy black hair standing on end. A streetsmart poet, his lines are always in rhymes or scat and his misbehaviors have probably made him unpopular and caused his character's early demise in the show.
However entertaining the muppet characters had been, Sesame Street couldn't have been more popular without help from its human cast --Bob and Maria, Susan and Gordon, Luis, Mr. Hooper (the storeowner) and David (his helper). They lent the show the realism that it needs for the young audience to feel that humans and muppets could live harmoniously together -- learning and playing at the same time.
Who is Bob? He is Maria's boyfriend, of course! hahahaha He is the guy who always sings:
One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn't belong, Can you tell which thing is not like the others By the time I finish my song
or.. most of the time, he sings:
Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood? In your neighborhood? In your neighborhood? Say, who are the people in your neighborhood? The people that you meet each day
Cute and good-looking, I think Bob's youthful looks and his endurance in the show helped the children identify with him as the friendly neighbor who helps each kid understand which thing doesn't belong in a group or what to call each person's job in the neighborhood. Batches and batches of children 'grew up" along with Sesame Street and Bob and Susan remained permanent characters there --today even on its 38th season -- counting 39 now.
Rubber duckie -- in the show, he is a very minor character that is not even alive -Rubber duckie is what he is in real life -- a rubber duckie. He plays the object of comfort for Ernie, whenever he is in his comfort zone taking his bath.
Scouring through webpages of information about Sesame Street, there is a mention of two characters unknown to me: Sammy the Snake and Sherlock Hemlock. Were they later additions to the cast? Or just simply unpopular? I really don't know. They must have only done cameo appearances that never lingered in the girl-in-me's memory.
There's only one BAD thing here ----> they all never grew old! -- and us, SS viewers grew old and had to leave Sesame Street. Don't you wish we were all PETER PANs?
Sesame Street has been brought to you today by the letter J (for Jeanie, that's me) and by the number 36 (that's the approximate number of years ago since I have known Sesame Street)
Up Next: The Electric Company
(are you ready for: faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap capital T buildings in a single bound--it's a bird, it's a plane -- it's LETTERMAN!)