1 The Muppet Mindset: August 2013

Aug 31, 2013

Confusing Things About Bert and Ernie's Apartment

Michael Wermuth - One of the most iconic locations of Sesame Street is Ernie and Bert's apartment, located in the basement of 123 Sesame Street. It seems like a simple place to live... So why are there so many confusing things about it?

First of all, let's look at their living room. Often there's not much here--just two windows, a shelf on the wall, a framed picture of Ernie and Bert (which has changed over the years), a lamp on a table, and a door on the right. But there's also additional furniture that appears depending on the scene. There's the counter, which is often there. And then there are the big chairs that are often in the living room but not always. There was also a couch that appeared in the living room once. They also have a TV sometimes, but usually they don't.

And what about the bedroom? It's identically to the living room, except that it has beds. When the Count slept over, he slept in Bert's bed while Bert slept on the couch in the living room. And the morning after the sleepover, the Count and Ernie both entered the living room through the front door, still in their pajamas. But there have been occasions where characters were shown outside the door, meaning it wasn't just a hallway leading from the bedroom to the living room. And the first season even had some segments where the two had their own separate bedrooms.

Ernie and Bert live in the basement, but the windows only show plain blue backgrounds. Shouldn't we see some of that gutter thing that's over their windows out front? Or parts of the street? It's interesting how they can live in a basement apartment, yet have windows in many rooms. And in the Twiddlebugs segments, Ernie is shown from the outside of a window, which is clearly on a higher floor. In fact at the end of Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, they are shown waving at Big Bird from a window above Hooper's Store, in their pajamas.

And they seem to have had different bathrooms over the years. In the first episode they just used the living room set and put a bath tub there. Then they used a plain blue background for Ernie's classic performance of "Rubber Duckie." Then a few more bathroom sets were used, it's hard for me to describe their differences... there's the one used when Bert took his bath in Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, and when Bert and Ernie got Brad ready for his bath. And then there's another bathroom, with a window and much bigger bath tub, used in such numbers as "Do De Rubber Duck" and "I Gotta Be Clean."

Just lots of confusion there. For two guys who never seem to have jobs and live in a basement apartment, they sure do have a lot of rooms, lots of bathrooms, plenty of windows with good sky views, I didn't even mention the kitchen that was only seen in one sketch, and the structure is quite confusing. Either Bert and Ernie remodel a lot, move a lot, or we're looking into this way too much. You decide!






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Aug 29, 2013

Rachel Herrick Reviews... The Muppet Movie

Last month our good friend Rachel Herrick revealed that she would be partnering with us here at The Muppet Mindset to produce exclusive video reviews for all seven Muppet movies prior to the release of Muppets Most Wanted in March. Well, she has kept her promise, and August's video is here at long last! It's well worth the wait, because Rachel's commentary and review of The Muppet Movie is hilarious, sharp, and a whole lot of fun. There's no use building it up anymore... the video really speaks for itself. Check it out below!









The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Aug 28, 2013

Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Lubbock Lou and His Jughuggers

Today's post was written by Michael Baldasare.

LUBBOCK LOU AND HIS JUGHUGGERS

Performed by...
Dave Goelz (Lubbock Lou)
Frank Oz (Gramps)
Jerry Nelson (Slim Wilson)
Richard Hunt (Bubba)
Jim Henson (Zeke)
Louise Gold (Lou)

First appearance...
The Muppet Show Episode 208: Steve Martin (1977)

Most recent appearance...
Rocky Mountain Holiday (1983)

Best known role...
The Muppet Show's Jug-Band

WHO ARE LUBBOCK LOU AND HIS JUGHUGGERS?
Lubbock Lou and His Jughuggers was the second jug-band to be featured on The Muppet Show, replacing the Gogolala Jubilee Jug-Band starting in Season 2. The Jughuggers, led by Lubbock Lou on jaw-harp, features Gramps on the fiddle, Slim Wilson on guitar and vocals, Bubba blowing the jug, Zeke on banjo (and sometimes kazoo), and Lou on vocals.

The Jughuggers usually sing country tunes, including such Muppet classics as "Henrietta's Wedding," "Borneo," and "Take 'Em Away." Though the Jughuggers only appeared in twelve episodes of The Muppet Show, they were important performers in each of those episodes. The group also made featured appearances in The Great Muppet Caper and Rocky Mountain Holiday after The Muppet Show ended.

LUBBOCK LOU AND HIS JUGHUGGERS SONGS
Performed by the Jughuggers...

  • "Henrietta's Wedding
  • "Borneo"
  • "Somebody Stole My Gal"
  • "A Horse Named Bill"
  • "Cool Water"
  • "Take 'Em Away" (Rocky Mountain Holiday)

Back-up by the Jughuggers...

  • "Dueling Banjos" with Steve Martin
  • "Apple Jack" with Bernadette Peters
  • "Rocky Top"
  • "You're Looking at Country"
  • "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"
  • "Egg Eating Dog"
  • "Riders in the Sky"
  • "Happiness Hotel" (The Great Muppet Caper)

WHY DO THE MUPPETS NEED LUBBOCK LOU AND HIS JUGHUGGERS?

The Muppet Show was always musical, so the show needed musical acts like this above. Although the Jughuggers haven't been seen in over 30 years, I still hope that they and the Muppets' former associated acts could make comeback appearances soon. Bring back Lubbock Lou and the Jughuggers!






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Aug 27, 2013

Sesame Workshop Wants to See Your Puppetry Skills

Some hugely exciting news this week from our friends Matt Vogel and Martin P. Robinson at Sesame Workshop. Sesame is holding a workshop for highly talented puppeteers, age 18 and over, who are looking to develop and hone their on-camera puppeteer skills. If you are familiar with the Sesame Street style of puppetry, and interested in the opportunity to participate in a puppeteer workshop in New York City in early 2014 please click here for more information:
http://www.sesameworkshop.org/puppeteer-workshop/

For a chance to attend the workshop, you simply have to create a three minute video of you puppeteering. The link above has more specific details. This is a huge, thrilling chance to perform for and alongside Sesame Street's finest puppeteers. Workshops like this are the best way to get your talent seen by the people at Sesame Workshop. Please note: this is not a training camp for inexperienced puppeteers, this is an effort by Sesame to find talented puppeteers and give them a chance to hone their skills with the best of the best.

This is an almost unprecedented opportunity for highly talented puppeteers. If you think you have what it takes, then get to work and submit your video now! There is no reason not to--and every reason that you should. How often do you get the opportunity to work with Matt Vogel and Marty Robinson? Not often. So hop to it, Muppet fans and puppeteers! Get your videos made and submit them before October 11th!






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Aug 26, 2013

The Great Muppet Survey - Bruce Aguilar

Answers from Bruce Aguilar

1.   Who are your three favorite characters from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppet movies, etc. and why?
Janice for her Valley Girl way of talking and how she always seems to blurt something out just as the group conversation ends which draws a lot of uncomfortable attention on herself.

Pepe the King Prawn. Like Piggy he's got an inflated ego but can come off as a bit mean or uncaring at times, yet he’s really a lovable guy hiding his insecurities with his larger than life persona. Plus it’s so darn funny to watch him coming on to fully grown human women.

Kermit. Why? I love the many different faces he can make, how he usually stays pretty calm in a crisis but occasionally really wigs out. He wants to put on the best show possible yet he usually has the oddest acts to work with, but he keeps going and makes it work. He’s a leader who cares for those to look up to him. He’s got an enormous heart but he's a bit of a trickster too.  Finally, he’s a frog who can tap dance. How can you top that?

2.   Who are your three favorite characters from Sesame Street and why?
Big Bird for his innocence.

Roosevelt Franklin for being so darn cool yet not losing an ounce of the nice guy at his core

Bert and Ernie – hope this one is not cheating but I literally can’t think of one without the other. They’re an inseparable pair. The classic Odd Couple. I’ll never tire of Ernie’s pranks on the long-suffering, dull as oatmeal Bert.

3.   Who are your three favorite characters from Fraggle Rock and why?
Marjory the Trash Heap for her seemingly nonsense advice that proves to be exactly what you need to hear.

Red for her enthusiasm, athleticism and her mild rivalry with Gobo. Also she has AMAZING hair!

Uncle Traveling Matt for always getting it wrong, but somehow getting it right too.

4.   What is your favorite television program starring any of Jim Henson's creations (e.g. The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Dinosaurs, etc.) and why?
Definitely Sesame Street. The show was so experimental and daring yet so accessible, the music is astounding, the Muppet characters are iconic and the humans stars are all heroes of mine. Plus we get to see Jim Henson express himself in animation as well as singing, voice acting and puppetry. This is the show that taught me about being a kind person, not to litter and to care for the planet, the importance of not allowing physical differences get in the way of your relationships, how to speak some rudimentary Spanish (and even some sign language) and so much more. I’m forever indebted to this show. I honestly can’t imagine who I’d be without it.

5.   What is your favorite Muppet movie and why?
As much as I adore The Muppet Movie and The Muppet Christmas Carol, I think The Great Muppet Caper edges them out as my all-time favorite.  For starters it has an amazing opening song and dance number that still blows my mind.  Miss Piggy synchronize swimming, a fleet of Muppets on bicycles, a zany who done it caper, tons of great songs.  Plus we learn that Fozzie and Kermit are identical twins!  Who knew?  Caper to me is everything a Muppet movie should be.

6.   What is your favorite Muppet/Sesame/Fraggle song and why?
What an evil question! There are so many! But I'll go with "Rainbow Connection." It’s an undisputed classic that’s actually quite profound and touching. There are many other touching Muppet songs and many more that make me laugh out loud every time I hear them, but "Rainbow Connection" holds a very special place.

7.   If you could have dinner with any living Muppet performer who would you choose and why?
Caroll Spinney. He’s been with Sesame Street from the beginning and is responsible for two of its most iconic characters. To keep the characters fresh and relevant all this time is a major achievement. I’d love learn from him.

8.   If you could tell Jim Henson one thing, what would it be?
I’d tell him his work has helped (in very deep ways) form the person I am today and thank him from the bottom of my heart.

9.   If the President called you and asked to discuss Muppet projects, what would you tell him was the "Greatest Muppet Moment of All Time"?
It may be cliché but I'm going with Mahna Mahna. Not only is it iconic but it illustrates much of the Jim Henson philosophy in a fun, approachable way that needs no translation. Truly brilliant.

10.   What's the name of that song?
I’m not sure, but I think it goes something, something…bird.

11.   If a judge ruled that Grover had to be your personal assistant for a month, what jobs would you have him do?
I'd have him serve me alphabet soup for lunch every day; sing “Sing After Me” with me once a day; remind me of the difference between over, under, around and through once a week; lead me in morning exercises.

12.   In your opinion, what is the worst Muppet production ever made?
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. The least said about it, the better. Let’s just pretend it never happened. Special honorary mention to Kermit's Swamp Years.

13.   Who is one celebrity you would love to see cameo in the next Muppet movie?
RuPaul. His message of celebrating difference in all it's wacky forms is a perfect fit for the Muppets.

14.   If you could take a picture with any Muppet, who would you choose and how would you pose?
I’d choose Big Bird and I’d take the picture with my hands outstretched to him, offering a heaping mound of birdseed. Hopefully the picture would be taken as Big Bird is eating the birdseed right out of my hands.

15.   What is your favorite piece of Muppet merchandise that you own? (Feel free to include a picture!)
Hmmm, I’m quite partial to the Kermit fragrance Amphibia (pour homme, femme, et frog) and Miss Piggy’s Moi perfume (it has  a certain je ne sais moi).






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Aug 23, 2013

How To... Make School More Muppety

Kyle Mahoney - As the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year approaches, our minds think of very specific things: New shoes, autumn, essays, and, of course, MUPPETS.

As I’m sure most of you can relate, I've been cramming as many Muppets into my summer as possible by watching DVDs, listening to music and burning through my savings by buying Muppet stuff. But as the school year approaches people wonder how they can keep Muppety while also going to classes, doing homework, and dealing with (dramatic pause) people.

But with these five easy steps you can have the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational school year ever.

1.   Muppet School Supplies: During your classes you will be using pencils, pens, folders, binders, pencil cases, and lots of other stuff. So do your best to stock up on these items featuring Muppets and Sesame Street characters. And if you are a collector of sorts maybe even your Dinosaurs School Kit! Looking at the beautiful faces of Jim Henson’s creations will make learning even easier!

2.   Muppet Music: This one is a no-brainer. When walking to and from school or to and from classes, just pop in your headphones and listen to the songs you’ve been listening to all summer. These songs will get you amped and ready for education!

3.   Sesame Street: It’s educational... so watch it.

4.   Clubs/Events/Performances: If you are part of a club and need an event to raise funds remember that everyone loves a Muppet movie! Don’t be afraid to host movie nights, many of your classmates will come. Many schools also have performance events where students can show off their stuff. Feel free to be a performer in these events and show off your love of Henson by singing or re-enacting.

5.   Get creative when assigned projects: Many teachers/professors in recent years have been giving students the option to choose their own topics for their papers/projects as long as they stay within the general assignment. This is especially used in Communications and Media classes. But whenever possible try and use the Muppets to help get you better grades.

With these five tips I can 100% guarantee that you will shoot to the top of your class and become valedictorian on your first day of school.*

The Muppet Mindset can not be held responsible for the academic standing of it’s readers--let alone its writers. In addition to the tips above, determination, a good work ethic, brown-nosing, and many other things are the key to getting good grades at school. None of these tips are proven to work, so please don't assume such. Also, don't tell your teachers, parents, or school administrators where you got any of these ideas. We can't handle another lawsuit.






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Aug 22, 2013

Muppet Retro Reviews: Learning to Add and Subtract

Michael Wermuth - Learning to Add and Subtract is a Sesame Street video from 1987. The linking footage finds Big Bird needing to learn how to add and subtract "just in time," and features various inserts about adding or subtracting.

The video begins with Big Bird needing to learn how to add, and Maria shows up and helps him. First she teaches him to add spoons, and after Big Bird learns to add spoons, Maria has Big Bird add some cookies. Of course, Big Bird thinks it'll be hard, not realizing that adding is the same regardless of whether it's adding spoons, cookies, crayons, or anything else. After Big Bird becomes good at adding, he remembers that he also needs to learn how to subtract, and like his adding lesson doesn't realize at first that subtraction is subtraction no matter what he's subtracting.

Throughout the video Maria keeps asking why Big Bird's in a hurry to learn but Big Bird's too worried about learning to notice her asking. For those who don't want it spoiled I'll wait until the last paragraph to say why he needs to know, though I will point out that the reason is mentioned on the video description.

The inserts are hit-or miss. Most of the Muppet inserts are great, most of the animated inserts are bland and forgettable. The Muppet inserts include Ernie and Bert teaching Shola to add fingers, the classic song "Born to Add," Cookie Monster eating Ernie's cupcakes, and "They Can't Take That Away from Me" with Cookie Monster and Guy Smiley. The only animated bits I like on this are the classic King Minus and a segment where gumballs are subtracted.

While all of the Sesame Street videos from the late-1980s are worth seeing, this is my least-favorite of the 1980s Sesame Street videos. The linking footage is rather bland, as are, as mentioned earlier, some of the inserts (though most of the Sesame Street  videos I tend to watch for the inserts more than the linking footage). It's not my least-favorite Sesame Street video, there are quite a few from the 1990s and 2000s that I like a lot less than this.

Oh, and why did Big Bird need to learn to add and subtract? Because he had promised to teach Elmo, only to remember that he didn't actually know how to add or subtract himself. In fact as he starts to teach Elmo and points out that nobody knows how at first, he gives a very funny line about how there was a time when he didn't know how to add or subtract.






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Aug 21, 2013

Kermit and Steve Martin Duel Banjos

Out of the blue this morning came this spectacular new video starring Kermit the Frog and his friend (and The Muppet Show and The Muppet Movie guest star) Steve Martin. The video from Funny Or Die features Kermit and Steve playing the classic "Dueling Banjos." It's worth noting that this is the first time that Hollywood's most famous banjo players have jammed together--and it's awesome. Watch now!



The awesome video was directed by Matt Hoyle as part of his Comic Genius series.





The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Aug 20, 2013

The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island Coming to Blu-ray!

This news is almost two weeks old, but we're playing catch up and realized we never posted about it on the site. For those of you who haven't heard, get excited, because The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island are being released on Disney Blu-ray on December 10th! This release will mean that every single theatrical Muppet movie will be released in Blu-ray high-definition! That's the good news. The semi-bad news is that the two movies are being released together (a practice that Disney has been doing recently with its animated classics and their not-so-classic sequels), in what is being called the Of Pirates & Pigs 2-Movie Collection. The really bad news is that the cover art is pretty terrible:
While I admire the idea of combining the two movies into one cover, the execution is pretty lame. Plus the usage of flat-head Kermit is never okay. But still, I appreciate that Disney tried. Although, come on, would it have been all that hard to use a photo of Piggy, Fozzie, and Animal that's actually from The Great Muppet Caper? Blah.

Anyway! The current price for the 2-Movie collection is only $24.99, which is a pretty stellar deal for two Muppet classics. It looks like this will be another must-have! Cross your fingers for some bonus features... but don't hold your breath. I'll just be happy to have my favorite movie of all time (The Great Muppet Caper) in high definition. Pre-order now on Amazon!






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Aug 19, 2013

The Great Muppet Survey - Shane Keating

Answers from Shane Keating

1.   Who are your three favorite characters from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppet movies, etc. and why?
Obviously Kermit, because he's Kermit. Gonzo's a good second choice for the great comedy he brings, and Pepe the third for the same reason.

2.   Who are your three favorite characters from Sesame Street and why?
Oscar was my favorite from the start; I suppose I was fascinated with his trash can (and my bucket list includes getting my picture in it). He’s then followed by Grover and Cookie Monster, who provide literally the best dialogue the show has to offer.

3.   Who are your three favorite characters from Fraggle Rock and why?
Boober's the top, because he too gets all the best lines in the show. After that would probably be Wembley and the World’s Oldest Fraggle, who are also the funnier characters when they’re given the spotlight. I case you didn’t notice, all my favorite characters from anything are the funniest ones.

4.   What is your favorite television program starring any of Jim Henson's creations (e.g. The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Dinosaurs, etc.) and why?
Sesame Street has a special place in my heart, as it’s the first Muppet thing I ever watched. And since it’s still going, there’s always something to look forward to each fall.

5.   What is your favorite Muppet movie and why?
I go on record saying The Muppet Movie is the best of all of them, but my personal favorite is The Great Muppet Caper. I’ll admit, it gets pretty slow in the middle (don’t really care for “Piggy’s Fantasy”), but the rest is pure Muppety fun and genius; it’s also got the best jokes.

6.   What is your favorite Muppet/Sesame/Fraggle song and why?
I’ll pick one of each of those categories. “Hey a Movie!” is such a great opener, full of great jokes, witty lyrics, fantastic choreography.... “and Me!” Sesame’s goes to “Honk Around the Clock”, which gave birth to my love of 50’s-style music. And “Dixie Wailin’” wins my favorite Fraggle song, as it was one of the catchier and more memorable songs from when I got one of my first tastes of Fraggle Rock from the Fraggle Songs video.

7.   If you could have dinner with any Muppet performer who would you choose and why?
I would say Richard Hunt, because I’ll have died of laughter by the end of the night.

8.   If you could tell Jim Henson one thing, what would it be?
“Gimme a job!” comes to mind.

9.   If the President called you and asked to discuss Muppet projects, what would you tell him was the "Greatest Muppet Moment of All Time"?
“Rainbow Connection” deserves that distinction, either the opening or the finale portion of The Muppet Movie.

10.   What's the name of that song?
“How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I’ve Been a Liar All My Life”

11.   If a judge ruled that Grover had to be your personal assistant for a month, what jobs would you have him do?
Near/Far demonstrator; he clearly knows how to do that and I’ll just keep him occupied by saying I don’t understand each time.

12.   In your opinion, what is the worst Muppet production ever made?
It’s way too easy to mention the likes of The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz or the Studio DC specials, so I’ll go with A Special Sesame Street Christmas, which really doesn’t deserve to call itself a single word in that title (not even “A”).

13.   Who is one celebrity you would love to see cameo in the next Muppet movie?
I recently got into Community, so maybe someone from there. Since Donald Glover (my favorite!) already was in the newest one, I guess Alison Brie would be next line.

14.   If you could take a picture with any Muppet, who would you choose and how would you pose?
Oscar, and I’d be in his trash can and he’d be next to it, unamused by my presence. Either that, or both of us frowning at the camera.

15.   What is your favorite piece of Muppet merchandise that you own? (Feel free to include a picture!)
A couple of years ago for Christmas, I got a doll of Oscar with a NYC Sanitation hat. It’s the cutest thing and I keep it on my bookshelf. I also have those Kermit Adidas, which aren’t as comfortable as you’d imagine.







The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Aug 18, 2013

No Strings USA

The world of puppetry is vast and the impact of puppetry is huge. The use of puppets to entertain adults and children alike is almost as ancient a practice as storytelling itself. The use of puppetry as a bright spot in the world is the main driving force behind a brand new project that Muppet Fans may be interested in. Even better, Muppet fans can be a part of it! They can be a part of Kathy Mullen and Michael K. Frith's newest project with their company No Strings USA.

For those who don't know, Kathy Mullen performed Mokey Fraggle and Cotterpin Doozer on Fraggle Rock. She was a major performer for the Muppets on The Muppet Show, The Dark Crystal, Fraggle Rock, and also in The Empire Strikes Back. Michael Frith is the former Head of Creative Services and Executive Vice President for the Muppets, responsible for the look and feel of countless Muppets and Fraggles.

No Strings USA is a not-for-profit producer of educational and informational puppet films for children in the developing world. They are now preparing to produce two puppet films for the refugee children of Syria. One to directly address their current trauma and the other to help begin the peace building process for their future. I cannot think of a more noble effort than this. The tragedies in Syria are unspeakable and No Strings USA's goal to try to help them with puppets is simply amazing.

They are raising funds through their Indiegogo campaign to complete the films and have them in country by mid October. Many perks are available from donating, including magnets and tote bags with Michael K. Frith designs, a signed limited edition Frith print from the films, and even set visits during the film shoot in NYC. I highly encourage you to consider donating to such a noble cause if you haven't already. I know that I will. I must also recommend that you read up on everything about the project on their Indiegogo campaign page. The children of Syria deserve the warm, wonderful aid that No Strings USA will provide.






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Aug 16, 2013

A Salute to Telly Monster

Michael Wermuth - Telly Monster has been on Sesame Street since the 10th season and has been a main character since at least the twelfth. He has had major roles in both of the Sesame Street movies as well as many of the specials and direct-to-video projects. In an era when many longtime classic characters don't appear in as many episodes as they used to (even Big Bird tends to appear in just a few episodes per season), Telly is one of the few to be heavily featured in almost every episode, as well as one of the few to regularly be the focus of the street stories, and yet he's still underrated.

Actually, I never really noticed that Telly was underrated until pretty recently. There haven't been too many Telly Monster toys, Telly has never had his own spotlight video or album (though I can't think of too many Telly segments that I'd call "The Best of Telly"). He has been prominent in a handful of recurring segments like Ask Oscar, Sneak Peek Previews, and Monster on the Spot, but since the show started having various segments appear in every episode (or every other episode) he has never hosted his own daily segment.

Let's take a look back at Telly's history. He was originally conceived as a monster obsessed with watching television, hence the name Telly. He had spinning spiral eyes and antennae, and often watched television too close to the screen. He first appeared in episode 1257, and was originally performed by Bob Payne, but after only a handful of appearances he was temporarily dropped from the show, his eyes changed and antennae removed so he could be used as a generic monster. Then when Caroll Spinney was unable to make it to work on the day of shooting a Big Bird episode, it was decided to bring back Telly, keeping the name but changing the personality, and given to Brian Meehl (the only other performer at the studio that day). Meehl gave Telly the voice and personality he's known for, and when Meehl left in 1984, Marty Robinson took over, initially imitating the voice Meehl gave him for a few years, before making the voice a little more different.

A lot has happened with Telly over the years. Since Brian Meehl started the character, Telly has always been a worrywart. Over time he has become obsessed with triangles, had such hobbies as playing the tuba and jumping on his pogo stick, has gotten a doll named Freddy and a hamster named Chuckie Sue, and has been a reporter for Monster on the Spot. He also developed a one-sided friendship with Oscar. Later on he would become friends with Baby Bear, but he and Oscar have still had some great moments together since.

As I said earlier, it is hard for me to think of the best Telly Monster moments, regardless of whether it's the best of the character or the best of Sesame Street. Last years "Best of Friends" DVD did a good job of selecting Telly clips. But there are some good Telly segments, such as when he played the tuba accompanied by Itzhak Pearlman on violin, or when he sold Kermit a head warmer, or he and Elmo sang "Heavy and Light," or when Elmo slept over at Telly's but couldn't sleep due to his snoring.

I don't know why Telly is so underrated, but perhaps his reason for being on the show for so many years is because of his performer, Martin Robinson. Since becoming a Muppet performer, most of Robinson's work has been on Sesame Street, with very few performances in other Henson productions. So he hasn't been too busy with other productions, allowing him to stay on Sesame Street for the whole year. Even in recent years Marty is among the few Sesame Street Muppet performers who doesn't have to balance his schedule between performing for Sesame Workshop and Disney's Muppets.

 So let's all give a shout-out to Telly Monster!







The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com