Sesame Street Blog

Sesame Family Robinson – From making Muppets to Raising Moppets

Entries with tag tagoctober2010 .

HandyMan in Snuffleupagus

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The Garden Part 2

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The Weeds Have Won

Word of the Day: Overgrown

Every year in May, we approach our garden with great hopes. We attack the earth with a vengeance, pulling out last year’s growth, roto tilling, composting and adding peat moss. We make lovely rows and spend hours at Agway choosing what to put in it—lettuce, tomatoes, squash, basil, green beans, and peppers. We plant carefully and mulch around every walkway, and up the rows to the seed line. It’s as if we know what we’re doing.

But, alas, our garden dreams are much bigger than we can ever actually handle. Work, toddlers, and vacations take priority. And before we know it, the weeds have won again.  

Ripley and Lyra bushwhacking.

Ripley and Lyra bushwhacking.

This year, we were able to keep the wilderness out for at least two months. We remulched and got in a good batch of beans, as you’ll see above in the movie Marty shot. But August came and suddenly it was a losing battle. We would get in there just long enough to pick bright, red tomatoes that called to us from the driveway: “Pick me or I will fall and rot!” Clory and the girls took pilgrimages into the wilds to get the tomatoes every day for a few weeks. They loved them and would chow down right on the spot, especially the big beefsteaks. They stopped when it required a machete to get to the tomato section.

Now, as October turns our yard into a heap of acorns and leaves, the garden stands forlorn, at least to us. I’m sure the weeds think they’re having a bumper season.

Lyra and Ripley in the garden.

Mommy helping Ripley over a treacherous tomato bush while taking the photo.

Counting Animals

Word of the Day: Cow cow

We often try with our blog to match the topic that is being explored by the entire Sesame Street website that week. When we saw today’s topic of “Counting Animals,” Marty and I knew our best shot at getting some good animal counting was at New Pond Farm.

 Lyra and Ripley at a farm looking through a fence at cows.
Ripley and Lyra looking at sheep. Ripley is practicing her ballet barre moves as well. Multi-tasker in the making.

New Pond Farm is a local educational center and working farm. It has cows, chickens, and sheep as most farms do, but it also hosts bluegrass picnics, hawk flying, and other unique country events. Most important for us, it pasteurizes its own milk so we get very farm-fresh gallons for the girls at the little dairy. The farm is so small and trusting that you just leave your money in a little can in the refrigerator next to the milk containers. They recently had a new calf born so we often take the girls with us to pick up milk and pet the little fellow. They get very excited when they realize we’re at the farm by saying “cow cow” and pointing at the Big Bessies and little calf.

 Lyra and Ripley looking at cows through a fence.
Ripley and the “cow cows.”

The farm even has a wooden cow with a stool you can sit on and pretend to milk the cow. Ripley and Lyra don’t quite make the connection yet that milk comes from “cow cow,” but they love sitting on the stool.

Here’s Counting Animals: 

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Step Inside the Biggest Costume on Sesame Street.

Snuffy on stage.

Dear Marty,

I’m a big fan of Sesame Street. Always have been! I read somewhere that they have to hang Snuffleupagus from the ceiling to store him. Is that true? Also, what is it like being inside Snuffleupagus? How do you move his eyes and mouth? Do you have some kind of air conditioning system in there? How do you work with the puppeteer in the back end?

St. Louis, Missouri

Thanks for tuning in to Sesame Street. Goodness. In this age of 500 channels, we need all the fans we can get.
You read it correctly; we do hang Snuffy from the ceiling to store him. He is a big boy but hoists easily. There is a lovely shot of just that in the big new book: Sesame Street: A Celebration on page 95 . . . not that I’m pushing product or anything.
Funny that you ask about the inside workings of Snuff. I recently finished another HandyMan film where he goes to work inside the Snuff suit. It is complete with infrared night vision of him climbing around inside working the controls. It was posted on the blog a few weeks ago—take a look!
There’s no air conditioning inside the costume, or I’d have to carry that around too!  Between takes, Snuffy’s handlers fan fresh air in through the mouth. I actually prefer to work warm—less likely to pull a muscle that way. But some days I’ll go through 3-4 T-shirts. 
The puppeteer in the back of Snuffy is Bryant Young, who has actually been doing it longer than I have. He is really the unsung hero of the beast. Bryant has to keep leaning back to maintain the stretch between us. He is a professional ballet dancer and choreographer, so any time Snuffer has to do any real dancing, I leave it up to the back end. We are good friends, he and I. For a nice shot of Bryant and I doing our Snuff thing, see page 201 in the Sesame Street: A Celebration book . . . again, not that I am hawking product or anything.
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Like your family we have twins, boy/girl, that turned three last month. I saw your blog entry for January and it looks like we have something in common, potty training twins. Like one of your girls, my son WILL NOT pee in the potty but his sister was doing well until she caught on to "Bubbie" not trying. I was just letting things run their course but our local pre-schools/mommy day out programs require the children to be potty trained and this mommy needs a day out. Bribery isn't working. Have you had any success?


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How often is the telly puppet renewed or replaced?

Katherine Sydney, Australia

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I read in 40 Years of Life on the Street about an incident involving Snuffy's puppet where a sombrero caused the wood frame to collapse on you and Bryant Young. Did they rebuild the puppet after that or did they just make a new one?


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I just wanted to say thanks for the blog. My daughter Kylie (who just turned two yesterday) loves to ask if we are going to see "the babies." Thank you so much to you and Marty for bringing the joy of Sesame Street into our lives every day.

Kendal and Kylie Montreal, Canada

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I've noticed that there are fewer Muppets and people in an episode now than there were twenty years ago. Does everyone show up on the set for filming days or only certain ones? Who decides who gets to play the Anything Muppets? There are some voices I hear more than others.


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