Ah, Sesame Street. That classic preschool show that everybody at one time or another watched as a kid. Well, way back in the day, before Sesame Street was essentially the Elmo show, they had a ton of very surreal and psychedelic video and animated clips that featured counting and letters and other pre-school learning tricks.
And you’d never believe who were part of these video clips.
Take, for example, the “Jazzy Spies” clips.
The “Jazzy Spies” featured a psychedelic clip featuring groupings from the numbers two through ten (there was never a “one” for Jazzy Spies), and the singing voice on these video clips was Jefferson Airplane / Jefferson Starship / Starship vocalist Grace Slick.
I am not kidding.
Take a listen if you don’t believe me.
Here’s another surreal Sesame Street animated clip, the “Dot Bridge.” These short videos feature a thirty-dot array appearing to the melodic sound of a tight little ditty. A few of the dots, however, seem to go their own way. Take a look and see what I mean.
Here’s another one. This series of films – which does go from “1” to “10” – are the “Baker” clips, in that the final shot is of a baker (voiced by Jim Henson, but played by a stuntman) who clumsily carries a series of baked goods down a staircase. I should note that this version contains the original “Baker” clips, some of the counted objects were replaced in subsequent broadcasts. Check out the cameo by Rowlf the Dog in the “9” clip.
This was a later 1970’s clipfest for Sesame Street, it featured a pinball bouncing through a psychedelic pinball world, with the soulful sound of the Pointer Sisters (yes, THOSE Pointer Sisters) tearing it up. Yeah, this song will get stuck in your head. You’re welcome.
The animation studio that created the pinball clips above also created the “Madrigal Alphabet,” which showed letters morphing into figures and whimsy.
I always wondered about this Hindi-inspired counting clip, complete with sitar music and four-armed swami. Deep, man. Very deep.
Listen, if you’ve gotten this far, and you haven’t heard “The Ladybugs Picnic,” well … here it is. Sorry, I did warn you…
Not every song on Sesame Street was jazzy or bouncy. Here’s a cute little folk song called “That’s About The Size of It” that got a lot of play in the early Sesame Street episodes.
Okay, one more. Here’s one of my favorites, this was a cool little film about a rubber ball that rolls on a metal raceway past various groupings of 3. At the end of the raceway, he falls into a box and is ground up into three little ice cream sundae cherries. By the way, that’s one of Jim Henson’s kids at the end, eating the ice cream cherry.
So I hope this brings back some great memories of Sesame Street for you, and that you now have these songs all stuck in your head and they won’t leave for weeks. You’re welcome. 😀