Michael Wermuth Jnr – Elmo’s Sing-Along Guessing Game is a Sesame Street video from 1991. The linking footage involves the titular game show, hosted by (guess who?) Elmo. His contestants are Mary and her little lamb, as well as Grover’s usual customer Mr. Johnson, who oddly enough is not there to be on the game show, he’s just waiting for the bus to Cincinnati. The object of the game is that Elmo asks a question, then the video screen will show a song from the show to provide a clue (for example, if the answer is “elbows”, the song “I Love My Elbows” will be shown), and then, before a contestant can answer, the contestant has to run a small obstacle course and then press a button before they can answer.
That sounds like fun. It especially looks like fun to Elmo. And when the contestants are stuck with the answers (really? When I first saw this video, at the age of nine, I was able to figure them out), Elmo, who as the host already knows the answer, decides to run the obstacle course and answer himself. This upsets the director, who makes Elmo and Mr. Johnson trade places, but after Mr. Johnson ends up pulling the same stunt (which is a funny thing for Mr. Johnson of all people to do), the director takes over as the host, but eventually leaves the show, allowing for Elmo to host again. I like the director, performed by Camille Bonora, but I feel like her role should have been filled by Prairie Dawn (Fran Brill performs Mary here, so it’s not like Brill wasn’t on-set for this).
This video has a great selection of clips, most of which come from the 1980s. When I first saw this video in stores, I expected Elmo to sing all of the songs (originally misreading it as “Elmo’s Sing-Along”), and was confused when I looked at the back of the box and saw it mention other characters singing. Elmo only sings two songs, “One Fine Face” and “Elmo’s Song”. At one point Oscar comes on-stage from the audience to answer a question about trash, with the video clue being an early 1970s version of “I Love Trash” (I really liked how Oscar looked in that clip, and it’s interesting to see a contrast between 1991 Oscar and 1971-ish Oscar).Other highlights include Kermit’s “I Love My Elbows” and “Get Along”, the animated classic “The Alligator King”, and The Count’s “Lamb Baba”.
All in all, Elmo’s Sing-Along Guessing Game is a great video. It’s also interesting as it’s the only Sesame Street video to not be tied to a theme. The closest this video has to a theme is the fact that all of the segments are songs, but this video was originally part of the Sesame Songs video series, where all of the videos revolved around music (and all of the other videos had additional themes beyond songs), so it doesn’t really count. This video is also notable in that it’s the first time (of many) Elmo starred in a Sesame Street video.