Friday, November 10, 2006

Sesame Street Old School

Sesame Street made its debut today so how about a quick review of the recently released Sesame Street Old School DVD collection. It covers the years 1969-1974 with the premiere episodes from the first five seasons. It has its share of really cool moments, but the lack of Roosevelt Franklin except as a sideman in a couple of bits is disappointing. Maybe he’ll get his own DVD someday.

Disc one has a good share of things that time traveled me right back to my pre-school youth. The first episode ever is a trip with the introduction to just a few of the characters that would forever be etched in children’s hearts and minds. Oscar The Grouch is orange and Big Bird has a little head. An undercurrent of animosity seems to lurk behind Matt Robinson’s portrayal of Gordon, but I’ve always preferred his edge to the later bald Gordon.

Big Bird singing “ABC-DEF-GHI” is a classic illustration of the characters numbskull genius. “I Love Trash” by Oscar was my own personal theme song when I was a child. Ernie’s “Rubber Duckie” is on it as well as a couple of the classic Baker number counts. The original pitch film is included too.

Disc two unveils some more classic Muppet sketches. Cookie Monster sings “C Is For Cookie” and has the starring role in The Great Cookie Thief. Yep, yep, yep; the Martians land in Martian Telephone. The Mad Painter attempts to paint the #3 using picnic condiments.

Johnny Trash; I mean Johnny Cash sings “Nasty Dan” to Oscar on disc three. The Count makes a couple of appearances, ah ah ah. Bert gets angry about his Lost Paper Clips while John John looks on. I always thought John John was Gordon’s kid. The fabulous Jim Simon’s Wantu Studio’s Bread, Milk, & Butter cartoon is a most pleasant way to spend around a minute and twenty seconds. Fat Cat with Bip rocks and Super Grover tries to save a little lost girl, but Bert steals the show with “Doing The Pigeon.”

I don’t remember which disc, but I also was captivated by an animated bit about the changing of seasons with a little boy with an oddly pig shaped nose and the “Everybody Sleeps” song – I wonder where that baby is who was asleep on the train. It’s a great nostalgia journey for me and a wonderful introduction to youngsters of a time when Sesame Street was Elmo free, a far superior time in my eyes. They used to churn out over 100 episodes a year too compared to the 26 they make per year now.

If you want the thrill of classic Sesame Street without having to fork over your dough you can visit Folded Space for plenty of Youtube Sesame links. There’s still lots of great clips at Youtube, but who knows for how long. If you can't get enough of hearing about Sesame Street Old School you can go to Muppet Central and visit the forum.


Dan said...

Came across your blog on a search for Roosevelt Franklin. We got the Old School DVD for our son and I seem to be enjoying it more than him at this point. Such great old skits and characters. The whole attitude of the show was so laid-back and mellow. It's pretty awesome. Nothing like TV today. It's a shame.

Wally Bangs said...

Old School Volume 2 is out now too.