Sesame St S2: Songs, Etc.

Today, I begin my survey of clips from Sesame Street Season 2. As usual, I watched the first batch on the Sesame Street: Old School Volume 1 DVD set’s “Classic Cuts” section.


First off, we have another sequence I remember fondly from childhood, “King of 8,” about a Jim-Henson-voiced monarch who loves the number 8 so much that he demands that everything in his kingdom be numbered thusly, from the flags on and windows in his castle to his guards to his daughters to the jewels on each one’s crown. Take note, however, that this doesn’t extend to sharing the royal title with 7 other kings or having 7 other wives. And speaking of marriage, his solitary wife causes some upset at the end of the bit by giving birth to a ninth daughter, of which he is informed by his one and only jester, shortly before the poor bloke is flattened by the 8 sign. Perhaps this balances out the numbers a bit?



Next we have one of my very favorite sketches from childhood, and one which I managed to completely forget about before rewatching and having all of my memories flood back in a rush: “Over, Under, Around, and Through”. In it, our lovable pal, Grover, sings a simple song illustrating the various concepts in the song’s title, in addition to “near” and “far”. He does this by going around an old-timey bar door, then sticking his head over it, then under it, and finally going through it, before running close to the screen for near and then far into the distance for the latter. But after asking if we get the concept, he reacts as if the off-screen answer is either a solid no or not quite yet, so he illustrates it again…and again, running further and further out of breath until he finally collapses in an exhausted heap. Besides being a great, funny scene, it’s another perfect encapsulation of Grover’s character–so eager to please, even if it means working himself into a frenzy. You can watch it here, but be forewarned, the song is extremely catchy!


The third is another quirky vintage appearance by Superman, this time with him teaching us the letter S, first by pointing out the “S” on his shield (at which point all of the nerds such as me yell at the screen, “Superman, that’s actually not an S. It’s the Kryptonian symbol that’s on your family’s crest, duh), and then illustrating a number of other S words. And then, in keeping with the sort-of space theme, I watched “How Do You Draw an Astronaut?,” which I also remember from when I was wee little and which is a lot like the “Mystery Letter” drawing sketch I watched on Friday but rather about drawing…well…an astronaut:



Next up, I watched another appearance from Listen My Brother–the African-American singing group who we first saw in the test pilot and who appeared a few times throughout the first 2 seasons of the show–this time singing a counting-to-20 song which is pretty unmemorable other than one of the women looking extremely bored throughout, which is kind of entertaining for the wrong reasons. You can see if you agree with me here.


But to cancel that out, next up is “I Love Being a Pig,” another song I’d completely forgotten about until it popped up here. Another extremely catchy and memorable song written by Joe Raposo, the deep-voiced singer extols the virtues of pigdom, particularly about frolicking in mud, as we watch footage of pigs doing exactly that. It’s funny, I was always a very fastidious kid who didn’t like getting dirty but I recall loving watching the pigs get messy in this clip. Maybe I was somehow living vicariously through them. You can see if you recognize it too here.


And that takes care of Old School. The next set of clips I watched is from the Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days DVD set, beginning with “Ernie Has a Banana in His Ear,” which is pretty much as described. Bert walks into the room to discover exactly what the title describes and tries to explain to Ernie that a banana is food, meant to be eaten, not stuck in one’s ear. Ernie loudly responds to please talk a little louder. After all, he has a banana in his ear! And that’s it! A cute micro-sketch that doesn’t seem to have much purpose beyond fun. There’s also a follow-up second and third parts to the sketch, which didn’t appear until Season 10 but which make more sense to just cover here, in which Bert comes back in the room, asks him why there’s a banana in his ear, and Ernie responds that it’s to keep the alligators away. Bert responds that there are no alligators on Sesame Street, and Ernie replies, “Right. It’s doing a good job, isn’t it?” Talk about your non sequitirs. The third part has Ernie look out the window, think he sees an alligator, and then remove the banana, saying he’ll need to find a fresh one because this one stopped working. Yuk yuk. Unfortunately that third part isn’t available online, but you can watch the first two here.


Back to 40 Years, their second clip is a follow-up to “King of 8” called “Queen of 6,” which distinguishes itself from the former by being about a queen with magical powers who fills her garden with things in sets of her favorite number. Watching, I particularly recalled the little-balls-of-fluff kittens being tucked into their 6 tiny beds:



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