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Jan 182017
 

Sesame Street has yet another musical feature. Sesame Street: Sing, Hoot and Howl With The Sesame Street Animals focuses on songs about different animals with Big Bird as the host. Many animals come to a barn house called the Sing, Hoot, and Howl Club and request animal songs. Even though a wolf, who looks a lot like Jackman Wolf from Sesame Street Rock and Roll, plays piano the songs are all featured in segments.

These segments are from Sesame Street Old School, though most of them use live footage to coincide with the song, like Hardworking Dog and Stardust. These kinds of segments used to be hard for me to follow because they tend to run long. Looking back now, these segments are pretty good. One thing’s for sure. You will never find clips like this on Sesame Street today.

Still I prefer the songs that were performed by Sesame Street characters. Some of those include Proud to be a Cow by Gladys the cow, Cluck Around the Clock by Chrissy and the Alphabeats, and Baa Baa Bamba performed by Luis (Emilio Delgado) and some animals.

The subplot is mostly about the lion trying to request a song, but keeps getting interrupted by other animals giving their requests, especially Gladys the cow. Eventually, the lion gets his request but had to use his loud roar to scare everyone to make it happen.

One song that was really beautiful was We are All Earthlings, performed by a group of animals. Elmo also sings with the group with an unknown character that sounds much like Gobo Fraggle.

This was a good feature with another creative theme. I guess it goes to show that animals love music as much as people do.

Nov 022016
 

Sesame Street has done it again with classic segments grouped together in a musical theme. This time Sesame Street – Sing Yourself Silly! is about, well, silly songs. After almost every song, a random Sesame Street character comes out and says; “Now that was silly”.

There’s no subplot in this feature, but there are quite a few classic segments that I remember well. For instance the opening song The Honker-Duckie-Dinger Jamboree features one of the first appearances of the Dinger. Like the Honkers, he doesn’t talk but sure stands out since there are no other Dingers around.

Another interesting segment I recall is James Taylor performing Jelly Man Kelly on his guitar with some kids. I never understood the lyrics, but I liked the relaxing setup.

One Banana was very creative. It’s about how bananas always grow in bunches and never alone. It also relates to how people grow with friends and family. As silly as this song is, it has some realism too.

Now who remembers Don Music? He’s that song writer that seems elegant, but when he gets stumped on a lyric, Don slams his head on the piano saying that he’ll never get past his writers block. At times he can be too emotional and give up too easily. It’s funny at first, but after a few times it’s hard to watch.

In this segment, Don works on Mary had a Little Lamb. With Kermit’s help, Don makes a new song called Mary had a Bicycle. While performing it, the members of Little Jerry and the Monotones suddenly join in. Where did those guys come from?

The last big highlight is Hoots the Owl and his band performing Put Down the Duckie as Ernie tries to play the saxophone. It’s a catchy song (Despite that it was already on Sesame Street: Put Down the Duckie) that features many celebrity cameos, including Pee-Wee Herman at his playhouse. It’s interesting that Ernie’s only problem was not to hold his rubber duckie while playing the sax. You’d think there would be harder things about playing the instrument to consider.

This was another great feature with classic Sesame Street segments. It’s the kind of material that makes you look forward to the next Sesame Street Old School DVD set, if there are any more coming.

Aug 102016
 

Sesame Street – Put Down the Duckie is a feature I remember well long before it was released on DVD. Back in 1988, it was advertised as The Sesame Street Special and premiered on Prime Time. When I first heard about it, I couldn’t wait to see it, despite the fact that the network had a telethon that ran through some of the time slot. Don’t you just hate that?

The special starts with Gladys Knight and the Pips performing the extended version of the Sesame Street theme, then Phil Donohue interviewing the people on the street. Of course everyone wants to speak. It was enough for Phil Donohue to take off. I remember Phil Donohue having a popular talk show back in the day but never understood it.

From here on out, this feature is all songs and segments from previous episodes of that season. The highlights include the Monsterpiece Theater segment The 39 Stairs, Grover as a singing and dancing waiter in a Spanish restaurant, and the Jellyman Kelly song.

Of course the biggest highlight in this feature is Hoots the Owl and his band performing Put Down the Duckie as Ernie struggles to play the saxophone while holding his rubber duckie. As an extension to the catchy song, various celebrities join in like Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Madeline Khan, Paul Simon, Jane Curtain, Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens), and bunch of others I didn’t recognize.

Speaking of celebrity guest stars, in another segment Bob (Bob McGrath) sings People in your Neighborhood, which features Barbara Walters getting the scoop on Bob and Linda’s (Linda Bove) relationship and Ralph Nader practically destroying Bob’s sweater as he inspects it. This segment seems much different compared to past versions of this song because it’s not as innocent as before when comes to describing each person’s job.

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I can also remember back in the day when Robert MacNeil was a news correspondent on PBS. He appears on this feature to investigate a missing cookie story by talking to Cookie Monster. Kermit the frog also appears as Cookie’s lawyer.

The final segment is called Pretty Great Performances, which features an all animal orchestra performing Italian Street Song with Placido Flamingo. Who remembers this character? Looking back now, he sounds just like Wayne from The Muppet Show, especially when he sings.

This was certainly a classic Sesame Street feature, especially since it was only on TV once. You still won’t find this feature on cable because it’s now part of Sesame Street Old School. By the way, when do you think they’ll release Sesame Street Old School: Volume 4 on DVD?

Jul 132016
 

Sesame Street DVDs are best known for their entertaining and educational segments coinciding with themed story lines, but Sesame Street – Friends to the Rescue is different in more ways than one.

It starts with an exciting story line about a hurricane hitting Sesame Street and everyone prepares for it by taping windows, getting supplies, and bringing all loose items inside which includes Oscar’s trash can. That sure inspired me to prepare in case something like a hurricane was to occur.

It’s also nice to know that Kermit the frog makes an appearance as a Sesame Street news reporter. How long has it been since he last did that?

 

After the hurricane ends the next day, the story goes in a different direction. It focuses on how natural disasters can affect people emotionally. The one most affected is Big Bird because his nesting area behind the colored wooden doors was completely destroyed. I haven’t seen Big Bird this sad since Sesame Street’s Follow that Bird when he was captured by those crooked funfair owners, known as the Sleaze Brothers, and sang that sad song about wanting to get back home again.

It turns out that there are no extra segments about any letters or numbers. This feature is all about everyone helping Big Bird rebuild his home. Big Bird is grateful but goes through a lot of emotional distress.

Even though the place gets all fixed up again, there’s still one thing missing, the nest itself. Big Bird was left to build his own since birds do it all the time, but Big Bird doesn’t know how. He was never taught.

Just then, three architects who are based on The Three Little Pigs offer their services, but they only know how to build houses and I don’t mean birdhouses.

Big Bird decides to call his Granny Bird for assistance. I remember Big Bird mentioning his Granny Bird before, but this is the first time we ever actually see her.

The new nest does get built, but there’s another problem. The city nest inspector, based on the Big Bad Wolf, suddenly arrives to make sure it’s safe. That just goes to show that when it comes to fixing up homes, one thing always seems to lead to another.

This was a good feature that’s both exciting and heartwarming. My only concern was that some of the other characters like Ernie, Bert, Grover, Cookie Monster, and the Count do not appear at all. It makes you wonder what they were doing throughout this duration.

Jan 202016
 

If you recall back when I blogged about Sesame Street Old School CD sets: Volume 1 and Volume 2, I was so glad that they released some of the old records on CD. It turns out that there are two other old albums that have been released not too long ago and when I got them this past Christmas it was like getting back a piece of my childhood.

The first is Sesame Street: Sing the Alphabet, which is about Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert, Grover, Oscar, and other assorted Muppet characters going through the alphabet one letter at a time. Surprisingly, the first track has Elmo singing ABC-DEF-GHI. Personally I think it’s better when sung by Big Bird.

Each letter has its own track with a song and skit which makes a total of 27 tracks, most of which were on the series like C is for Cookie, I Stand Up Straight and Tall, Two G Sounds, Sammy the Snake, etc. Hearing these classics again really brings me back.

There were also some tracks I don’t remember too well because they weren’t on the show like The R Machine, The Tale of Tom Tattletall Turtletut, U Lecture, and Ha Ha. Still, they are good segments just the same.

The second album is Sesame Street: Numbers. Now this was a huge favorite of mine back in the day. I used to play the record all the time until it got ruined. That’s why I was so thrilled to find out that it finally came out on CD.

After all these years the songs are all very memorable. Each track had a separate Sesame Street character singing about the numbers 1-10. Big Bird sings Just 1 Me, Oscar sings Knock 3 Times, the Count sings 8 Beautiful Notes, and so on.

Ernie and Bert get two songs in segments together, but that’s acceptable because One and One Make 2 is Ernie’s song and 6 (My Favorite Number) is Bert’s song.

The only track I dislike was about Grover’s song, Climbing 9 Stairs. It’s a segment about Grover making several trips up and down nine stairs to bring heavy stuff outside for Ernie. Luckily, Grover didn’t get a hernia. And to think, Ernie didn’t even bother to help Grover. Can you believe it?

This album ends with Cookie Monster singing 10 Cookies. He starts with ten cookies and counts backwards as he eats them one by one. Once the cookies run out, Cookie is more sad than full. Then he gets ten more cookies and becomes so happy he’s ready to sing his song again and eats those. Seriously, ten cookies are more than enough for one setting.

It is so wonderful to have these classic albums on CD along with the other CD box sets. What other old Sesame Street records do you look forward to coming out on CD for easier and better convenience?