Sesame Street Saturdays: Sesame Toy Story

Beth Kondrick (redBoobergurl on Muppet Central Forum) –
I have been a Muppet fan for pretty much as long as I can remember.  I don’t really remember a time I didn’t love the Muppets.  My earliest memories are of Bert and Ernie doing “Here Fishy Fishy” on Sesame Street, and my mom says this was my favorite thing to watch when I was about two years old, so as you can see, my memories go wayyyy back as I am now a 28 year old approaching her ten year high school reunion.

Naturally, as a young Muppet lover, I had many Muppet toys.  I was smart enough to hold on to several of them and have brought them here in photos for you all to see.  The ones I no longer have I really wish I did, as some of them were quite…well for lack of better words, interesting!  We had a family friend who crocheted a bunch of Sesame Street stuffed toys for me – I had Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, Grover and Big Bird and they could pretty much win the Tough Pigs Ugly Toy contest!  Big Bird had a beak that squeaked too.  I have no idea why this person thought Big Bird’s beak should squeak, my best guess is she maybe thought that Big Bird was actually Rubber Duckie or something.  But this article is not about the toys I no longer have, it is about the ones I have managed to hold on to, so without further ado, here we go.

Night Night Ernie
This Ernie doll as you can see is quite loved.  He was a chosen toy at nighttime for me for a number of years in my early childhood.  On the surface, he’s pretty cute.  He’s all dressed for bed in his nice footy pajamas.  But uh oh, what’s this?  Turn him over and notice something sort of…odd when you think about it.  He has a stretchy piece of fabric over his behind that you can pull down and well; we get a view of his little flat orange butt.

Yes folks that’s right, I said Ernie’s butt.  Not something you’d really think about too much or expect from an Ernie doll right?  When I was little, I just thought it was fun to pull the pocket up and down, I didn’t really think much of it.  But now as an adult I can’t help but wonder if such a toy could even be made today!  Apparently the early 80’s were a much simpler time or something.  Although, even then, was it really necessary?  What is the point of exposing Ernie in this fashion anyway?

Now of course, the adult Muppet fan in me gets nit-picky now and also says – if this is a “Night Night Ernie” then why doesn’t he have yellow pajamas with red popcorn looking shapes on it like he does on the show?  He didn’t wear blue footy pajamas to bed!

All joking aside, I really did love this doll a lot and again, I think that’s pretty apparent by the wear and tear you can see in the picture.

Baby Grover
And here we have a cute, cuddly, furry and much loved stuffed Grover.  I know what you’re thinking; shouldn’t he be a darker color blue?  And aren’t his eyes a bit too big and borderline scary looking?  What’s the deal?

Well, this Grover doll was actually called a “Baby Grover” doll.  He had a diaper that said “Grover” on it and a little pink bonnet that ended up going to one of my baby dolls somewhere along the way.  There were several others that my grandma had at her house as well – Oscar (Baby Oscar was actually quite lovable and cute), Big Bird and Cookie Monster.  Somehow Grover came home with me from my grandma’s one time and just never ended up back for all the other grandchildren to enjoy.  I guess he preferred living with me.  After all, I freed him from his diaper and baby bonnet to attempt to make him more like “Real” Grover.

I have to say, I loved this doll.  He may not have looked much like “true Grover” but it was enough for me.  I even wrote a story in second grade about my Grover doll coming to life after I lost him on a bike ride and how he found his way home.  Yes indeed, a budding fan fiction writer in the making!

Rubber Duckie
I am sure just about every kid has had a Rubber Duckie in their life, but how many had one that was made to look like THE Rubber Duckie?  I’d like to think my Rubber Duckie is pretty unique.

Rubber Duckie, much like our good friend Ernie sang about was a great bath time companion.  He really did float, although mine did not squeak.  In fact, though buoyant, he was surprisingly heavy and wasn’t very squeezable at all.

I was asked by some friends later in life if they could borrow Rubber Duckie for a duck pond at some event and I said in horror “No!  If you use him in the duck pond you’ll have to deface him by putting a number underneath him!  This is no ordinary Rubber Duckie!”  I am sure they all thought I was crazy, but you know what, they’re right and that’s ok, at least I am comfortable with who I am darn it!! Um, yeah, so moving on…

Rubber Duckie remains a fixture in my parents’ home, he sits on a shelf with several other smaller duckies in my mom’s guest bathroom.  I can’t help but smile that he’s on display for all to see when they visit their house.

Kung Fu Kermit
Hey, you’re not Kermit!  You’re one of the Kung Fu Creatures on the rampage! (Reference to an episode of Garfield and Friends if you’re confused).

So I got this lovely Kermit on one of my visits to Disney World about 12 years ago.  I wanted a Kermit doll, I did not have one throughout my entire childhood growing up and decided my life was not complete without a Kermie.  So we stopped in the store outside of Muppet Vision 3D and there was a bin full of these gems.  And believe it or not – this was the best looking one.

After I got him home I realized I could not get his arms and legs to lay nice to save my life.  My parents and I started joking that he looked like a Kung Fu artist.  Maybe he’s practicing so he can finally karate chop Piggy.  Or to teach self defense to the innocent children on Sesame Street.  “Good morning boys and girls, Kermit T. Frog here and I am going to talk to you today about stranger danger and how you can avoid it…”

Thankfully for my first wedding anniversary with my husband, he was generous enough to buy me a Master Replica Kermit the Frog, so Kung Fu Kermit was relegated to a box.  I still get a good laugh out of him though!

Cookie Monster Koosh
So remember when Koosh balls were all the rage?  Remember how Rosie O’Donnell used to propel them at her audience during her talk show back when she was considered the “queen of nice?” (Although what’s up with that – the Queen of Nice shooting koosh balls at people?  Oxymoron perhaps?)  Well, at some point the fine makers of Koosh balls expanded their product line to include little characters from various children’s shows.  I am the proud owner of one such Koosh – in the form of Cookie Monster.

I have to say; I’m not sure what the point is here – a regular Koosh ball can be used for playing catch or catapulting at your studio audience.  My Cookie Monster has rather hard plastic arms, legs and a head.  And he’s holding three plastic cookies.  He’s cute; the Koosh part of him is his body.  But that’s about it.  He’s just cute.  I see no value in playing with a toy like this.  Of course, I should probably mention here I was a teenager when I bought this so I guess I never really intended to play with him.  But it’s the principal of the thing.

As of today, he resides on my desk at work, kind of helps perk things up in an otherwise dismal, depressing cube.

So there you have it – a few examples of odd Muppet toys of my youth.  I am sad I no longer have some of the ones I once had.  In addition to the crocheted Sesame Street characters I mentioned above, I had at one time collected all of the Fraggle Rock Happy Meal toys from the late 1980’s and also had some Muppet Babies Happy Meal toys as well.  Those would be quite a collector’s item to have now!  Sometimes we just can’t foresee how important something might be in the future though.  I’m thankful I saved the things I did.  I just might pass them on to my own children, you just never know!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

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