Sesame St S3: Songs, Etc.

"Would You Like to Buy an O?"

“Would You Like to Buy an O?”

Then, we have “Would You Like to Buy an O?,” another scene between Lefty the shifty salesman and Ernie, in which Lefty is again trying to sell Ernie a letter. In this case, however, he does it through song in what effectively becomes Ernie and Lefty: The Musical! You can watch their bravura performance here!


The next clip introduces another recurring Muppet played by Frank Oz, Harvey Kneeslapper. Harvey was a weird guy with wild eyes, crazy hair, and a loony laugh who used to play practical jokes or at least try to. More ofen than not, he would fall victim to his own pranks, such as in this clip where he plans on going up to a random stranger, saying “Do you want to see something funny?” and then shoving a mirror in their face, but the joke gets turned on him when Mr. Johnson, sitting on a nearby park bench, simply responds. “What’s so funny about that?” and then gets a good look at Harvey’s face, laughing, “Now that‘s funny!” All in all, Harvey didn’t last very long on the show, because it grew difficult for the writers to come up with new situations for him, and apparently doing his voice was too rough on Oz’s throat.


Next we have another classic Joe Raposo ditty, “Take a Breath,” which shows various animals breathing and is most memorable for Joe (who sang it) pronouncing the word as “bweath,” mimicking someone with a clogged nose. You can watch/listen to it here.


And then one of my favorite Sesame Street bits that I’d completely forgotten existed until now. It’s officially called “I in the Sky,” though I always assumed it went by its opening line of “We all live in a capital I”. This is such a 60s number that it’s kind of surprising they continued to play it on Sesame Street in the ’80s. Musically, it’s a parody of The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” with other aspects of their folksy songs mixed with Transcendental Eastern influences thrown in for good measure. Just a bit psychelic and groovy, man, in sound if not in visuals, although I always loved the little door that opens up in the I and the little men who step out with the ladder to polish it before retiring inside:



The next song is “P is My Favorite Letter,” a country song sung by a bunch of Muppet hillbillies listing various reasons they love the letter P, one mentioning various foods, the second animals, and the third friends’ names. It’s a fun, bouncy little number that makes particularly clever use of the “pah-pah-pah” sound with the beat. I can’t say I recall it from childhood but it’s still been stuck in my head all day!



Now, this next one I do remember very well, though more for its strange animation than for the tune. It’s a short, folksy song about a Martian lady who has 9 hairs on her head, 9 ribbons, 9 eyes, 9 noseholes, 9 arms, and 9 toes on her one giant foot:



The final Old School clip for Season 3 is the third in a series called “Mad Painter,” in which a funny bearded painter would paint various numbers on various things in various comedic situations–another set of films I only remembered now upon revisiting them. This one, “Mad Painter #3,” I recall quite well now because I vividly recall him going up to the lady eating a picnic and drawing the number 3 on various slices of bread in ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise, and her grabbing each slice up and adding it to her enormous sandwich. What I didn’t know at the time was that the ravenous woman is none other than Stockard Channing! You can check it out here.


The Mad Painter and Stockard Channing

The Mad Painter and Stockard Channing

Finally, I watched 2 additional clips on the Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days  DVD set. The first was “Mad Painter #5,” which makes up for what it lacks in famous character actresses with a guy in a gorilla suit. In short, the painter comes to the zoo to find something to paint a 5 on, and can find nothing suitable until he peers into the seemingly empty gorilla enclosure and finds a big red ball there. In he goes and begins to paint, not noticing the “dangerous gorilla” approaching behind him. Once he does, however, he stops in fear before he’s able to finish the number. Instead of attacking him, however, the “gorilla” simply grabs his brush and completes the 5 for him! Aww. That clip is here.


And finally, we have the “Welcome/Bienvenidos” song here, in which Bob sings about inviting his friends to a party, and Luis repeats each line in Spanish, a very welcoming number for young Spanish-speaking viewers while also giving a taste of the language to those who don’t speak it. It’s a catchy song, but I have to admit that I kept getting distracted by just how touchy both Bob and Luis are with one another throughout it. I’m not saying that something was quietly going on between them, but I’m not not saying it either…


And I welcome you to come back next Tuesday for an assortment of more awesome clips from Season 3! I’m also going to try to post reviews of the 9th and 10th episodes of The Muppets over the next few days, although that depends on my schedule, which is quite busy at the moment.


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