1 The Muppet Mindset: Top Ten Sesame Street Inserts Not Released on Video or DVD

Nov 29, 2009

Top Ten Sesame Street Inserts Not Released on Video or DVD

Top Ten Sesame Street Inserts Not Released on Video or DVD

Michael Wermuth, Jr. - Since 1986, there have been many Sesame Street videos, and since around 2001, many Sesame Street DVD releases. Many inserts from the shows 40 year history have been released on one of these two video formats, and quite a few have been released on multiple video and DVD releases. But there are also a lot of great inserts that have never had any commercial releases, and it's not just the really obscure or random ones, but some that I feel are truly classic, or at least have cult appeal. The following is a top ten list of Sesame Street inserts that are not on video or DVD, and should be. This list only pertains to full English-language releases in North America (so I'm not counting Sesame English or Shalom Sesame releases, for example). I've tried not to pick personal favorites that I don't see as classic or historically important, though most of my picks truly are personal favorites.

10. Ernie Catches Fish
In this sketch, Ernie and Bert go fishing, but Ernie keeps catching fish, while Bert doesn't. Ernie keeps coming up with solutions to help Bert catch fish, such as switching spots and fishing without bait, but Ernie still keeps catching fish. When Ernie decides to just stop fishing, Bert makes a catch... But it's only a note: "What happened to your friend?" This sketch is historically important as it's Steve Whitmire's first performance as Ernie.
Videos/ DVDs that should have included this: Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days.

9. Outrageous Makeover: Home Addition
In this sketch, a parody of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Grover is a reality show host, and comes to Mr. Johnson's apartment to give his home an outrageous makeover, which mainly consists of adding doors to the apartment. Eventually, Grover agrees to have the doors taken away, but then he ends up taking away all the doors, and has to spend the night in Mr. Johnson's apartment.
DVDs that should have included this: Count on Sports, Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days.

8. The Count and Cookie Monster Cooperate
The Count and Cookie Monster find a plate of cookies, and argue over whether they are for eating or counting, until they come up with a solution: The Count will count them, and Cookie Monster will eat them. This sketch begins with a very-odd-but-very-cool opening sequence where The Count and Cookie Monster introduce themselves (it's a bit hard to describe the odd-but-cool thing about it... a circle moves around until each character appears separately).
Videos/ DVDs that should have included this: Learning About Letters, Old School Vol. 1.

7. Sesame Street News: Pinocchio
In this sketch, Kermit interviews Pinocchio, whose nose grows longer whenever he tells a lie, and becomes shorter when he tells the truth. So Pinocchio tells several very silly lies, getting his nose caught in Kermit's trenchcoat and pushing Kermit back through the wall and outside the workshop in the process. Eventually, Pinocchio tells a little bit of truth so his nose can be uncaught in the trenchcoat, and as he signs off Kermit falls into something. A short clip appears in The Best of Kermit on Sesame Street, but otherwise the sketch hasn't had any home release. Other News segments that should have been released on DVD: The Count interrupting Kermit's interview with the Three Little Pigs, Kermit interviewing Cinderella at the ball, Kermit asking people  what makes them angry, Elmo's game idea, and Don Music writing "How to Get to Yellowstone Park".
Videos/ DVDs that should have included this: Telling the Truth.

6. Mystery Guest
A sketch that I'm sure "old school" Sesame fans like myself are very fond of, as it features Guy Smiley, Don Music, and Sherlock Hemlock. In this sketch, Guy Smiley is the host of Mystery Guest, and the contestants are Cookie Monster, Don Music, and Sherlock Hemlock. They are blindfolded, and the mystery guest is the letter X. They are told that the guest is a letter of the alphabet, and each guesses a wrong letter (with the possible exception of Sherlock Hemlock, the guesses all have something to do with the contestants making the guess).
Videos/ DVDs that should have included this: Learning About Letters, The Alphabet Game, Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days.

5. Five People in My Family
A first season song that has appeared on a number of Sesame Street albums, and the broadcast version sounds more like a commercial jingle than the album version does. It's sung by an Anything Muppet father (performed by Jim Henson), who sings about his family, which also includes a mother, a daughter, and two sons.
Videos/ DVDs that should have included this: Learning About Numbers, A New Baby in My House, Old School Vol. 1.

4. The American Revolution: National Bird
Part of "The American Revolution" series of sketches, this one features an ensemble cast of main Muppet characters - Herry, Ernie, Bert, Oscar, Telly, and Elmo - as the founding fathers, who decide to nominate and vote on a bird that will represent America. Herry is the leader of this group, and all but Elmo make a nomination (Bert nominates the pigeon, of course). After the nominations, voting begins, but of course each one votes for the bird they nominated, and Elmo is the only one who didn't nominate any birds, so it's really his vote that matters, and he votes for Ernie's nomination, the bald eagle. And there's a funny ending with a cameo by Big Bird.
Videos/ DVDs that should have included this: Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days.

3. Things That I Remember
Ernie and Bert sing a song about the things they remember, as clip montages of past Ernie and Bert skethces are shown. A very good selection of clips were chosen, with some that I considered putting on this list (such as Ernie substituting Bert's cowboy hat with a pan, and their trip to the jungle). And I'm a big fan of clip shows and montages.
Videos/ DVDs that should have included this: What's the Name of That Song?, Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days.

2. The Earmuff Salesman
One of the best Kermit and Grover pairings was the time when Grover came to Kermit's apartment in hopes of selling Kermit a pair of earmuffs. However, Kermit does not want the earmuffs, but Grover keeps trying, until he gets Kermit to admit why: Because he doesn't have any ears. So Grover pushes Kermit down and puts ears on, becoming a running gag in future sketches where Grover attempted to sell Kermit something obsolete to frogs (like nose warmers and tooth brushes).
Videos/ DVDs that should have include this: I'm Glad I'm Me, Old School Vol. 2.

1. Monsterpiece Theater: Chariots of Fur
This is my favorite Monsterpiece Theater sketch. As a kid, it felt like a treat whenever it was shown. In this sketch, Herry convinces Grover that they should race to the other side of the beach, informing Grover that they'll get something wonderful when they get to the other side. As they race, we occassionally see close-up shots of their feet (it was very rare for Herry's feet to be seen on the show).  Heck, to me it seems like almost every Monsterpiece Theater is a classic, and yet only three Monsterpiece Theater sketches have been released on video and DVD. Other great Monsterpiece Theater sketches that should have been released include Upstairs, Downstairs; The Sound of Music, Gone with the Wind, Guys and Dolls, The Taming of the Shoe, Twin Beaks, and ABCD Blue.
Videos/ DVDs that should have included this: Elmocise, Happy Healthy Monsters.

Top 5 Runners-Up: Here are five that I really considered putting on this list.
4. "Do Ya Know Where I Wanna B?" with Harvey Kneeslapper

Hopefully, there will be more opportunities for these sketches to be released on DVD in the near future. Many of them can be viewed at sesamestreet.org, but I'd very much like to have these on a physical commercially-released DVD. In recent years the majority of Sesame Street DVDs have mainly featured material from the last 20 years, though a handful have included material from the 1970s and 1980s, mainly the Old School and 40th anniversary releases, plus a few others. The recent Play with Me Sesame DVDs have had plenty of 1980s material, but only a handful of  1970s content. Hopefully the switch of DVD distribution from Genius to Warner Bros. will turn out to be a good thing for us longtime fans.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier.

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