Michael Wermuth Jnr – In the past here on The Muppet Mindset, I have done articles on the best Sesame Street segments from 2000-2009, 1989-1999, and 1979-1989. The decades have been in reverse, and progress has been slow on these over time, but they’ve been fun lists. But now, at long last, here is my picks for some of the best Sesame Street segments from 1969-1979. Since I’ve done many lists and articles talking about various favorite Sesame Street segments, the segments listed here will be ones I haven’t really talked about on the Mindset. I won’t be talking about segments everyone knows, like “Rubber Duckie” and “C is for Cookie”. No, for the most part, I’ll be talking about some of my favorite overlooked, underrated, and obscure segments from the first ten years of Sesame Street. Enjoy!
Big Bird Meets Little Bird
An early Big Bird segment in which he first meets Little Bird. Due to Big Bird’s first season lack of intelligence and the fact that Big Bird is a big bird, Big Bird wonders what kind of animal Little Bird is, making various animal sounds until Big Bird finally asks Little Bird what he is, and initially doesn’t believe that Little Bird is a bird because he’s little.
Brotherhood of Man
One of many song covers from the first season, this number was part of a street story in which the street holds a block party. We see some hippies sing this song. It’s a fun number, and I like the nighttime setting.
This segment is Guy Smiley’s first appearance, and he’s not performed by Jim Henson here, but I’m not really sure who it is (Caroll Spinney? Daniel Segren?). It’s a funny segment, with Guy advertising Brand X, a detergent which clearly doesn’t clean stains. It seems like this is supposed to teach the letter X, though outside of the title it doesn’t seem to (I think the stains should have been X-shaped).
Grover Gets a Surprise
In this funny segment, Grover sneaks into Ernie’s apartment to surprise him. Good thing the door was unlocked. Grover is behind Ernie’s chair and can tell that Ernie is sitting in it, because he can see part of Ernie’s shirt and his hair, but Grover ends up being the one surprised, as it is actually Herry Monster dressed as Ernie in that chair!
I Want to Hold Your Ear
This is perhaps one of the more bizarre Muppet segments on the show. A Casanova puts facial features onto a blank-headed Anything Muppet to make him his dream girl, but she does not love him, even as he serenades her – and takes apart each part of her face, one at a time. It’s odd that she doesn’t seem to be alive until he puts her hair and face on (is she an android?), and funny that she doesn’t seem to care that parts of her body are being pulled off (she doesn’t freak out or anything). And then there’s the funny ending, where the table cloth comes to life after all her facial features have been put there…
Kermit and Bob Discuss Frogs
In this segment, Kermit talks about frogs, and is surprised when Bob brings in an American Bullfrog. Bob asks Kermit to talk about where frogs live and what they eat, but of course Kermit lives and eats like a human, and is disgusted when he learns what real frogs actually do (almost the opposite of his way of thinking in The Frog Prince, which came out around the time of this segment).
Harvey Kneeslapper: X Marks the Spot
Harvey Kneeslapper tells a man that X marks the spot, and when the man asks what spot, he puts a spot on him and then marks it with the letter X. One of Harvey Kneeslapper’s funnier (and yet also one of his most predictable) pranks.
The Count Counts Flowers
The Count comes across seven flowers which he counts, and then remarks that he likes to count flowers because he’s allergic to them, which means he gets to count sneezes. Most people wouldn’t be happy to be allergic, but then most people don’t like to count everything. I really like the black background used here.
Life Without Bert
After Bert comes home to find Ernie had made a mess in the apartment while he was gone and complains that Ernie was sitting in the chair when it was Bert’s turn to use the chair (never mind the fact that Bert was out of the apartment when Ernie was in the chair), Ernie imagines what life would be like if he didn’t live with Bert. He thinks of how much fun it would be, not having to clean up, and even mentions playing with Bert’s paper clips and bottle caps (something he normally dislikes) as well as taking care of Bert’s pigeons as fun, but then thinks about how lonely he would be, and starts missing Bert, then is happy when he sees Bert again and happily starts to clean up. I like the iris-in over Ernie during part of the sequence.
Come back soon for part 2 of Great Sesame Street Segments from the First Ten Years!