Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Sully

WMW Sully

This week’s Weekly Muppet Wednesdays article is once again written by Michael Wermuth, Jr.

SULLY 

Performed by…Sully
Richard Hunt (1973-1992)
David Rudman (1992-1999)

First appearance…
Sesame Street Season 5 (1974)

Most recent appearance…
Sesame Street Season 40: Episode 4204 (2009)

Best known role…
Construction worker; Biff’s partner; soft-spoken union worker

Best friend…
Sully’s best friend is most likely Biff, even though Biff never lets him talk

WHO IS SULLY?
a1f86-sullySully is Biff’s construction worker partner, who is never heard talking. For the most part this is due to Biff constantly interrupting Sully before Sully can even make a sound. However, Sully is usually capable of finishing a task before Biff can even figure out how to do it. In addition to construction work, Sully is also talented at playing the piano.

SULLY AND RICHARD HUNT
Sully was one of Richard Hunt’s first recurring characters on Sesame Street. There isn’t really any information out there about how Richard felt about the character, but it has been said (especially in the book Street Gang) that Richard Hunt started out doing right hands and background characters for a long time before getting his own characters. The fact that Sully didn’t talk very well could have been an attempt to give him a character when he didn’t have many voices. Also, Richard Hunt was often paired together with Jerry Nelson in various roles, so Biff and Sully were among their first pairings.

MEMORABLE SULLY MOMENTS
8ab0f-biff-sullyIn one sketch, Biff and Sully move a piano. While Biff goes to get the moving truck, Sully plays the piano, showcasing his piano-playing skills.

In another sketch, Grover asks people why the number 2 is their favorite number, only to learn that not everybody considers 2 to be their favorite. When Grover asks Sully if the number two is his favorite number, Sully just shakes his head.

WHY DOES SESAME STREET NEED SULLY?
1b077-300px-biffsullySesame Street doesn’t need Sully as much as Biff needs Sully. Biff needs somebody to play off of, particularly somebody as mute as Sully. Then again, Biff has had a lot more notable solo appearances than Sully has (most of Sully’s solo appearances tend to be background appearances and walk-bys). But regardless, Sesame Street needs a competent construction worker to build things, and Sully’s right for the job.

b0668-biffandsullyangry

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

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