Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Rare Sesame audio

Years before home video recording was possible, there was. . . home audio recording. And it was pretty low-tech (at least for me). It involved putting my tape recorder next to the TV set and recording the sound from the speaker. You had to be quiet so that your voice wouldn’t be recorded on the tape. This was not easy when you are a little kid with other people in the house who you have to tell to shut up. (And worse when those people wouldn’t.) But this was how I recorded many classic shows & clips from way back when. I have had a small collection of Sesame Street-related audio clips that I put onto my own CD. “Sesame Street Rarities” is its official title. Here’s the track list:

Selections from: SESAME STREET CAST ON EVENING AT POPS with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops orchestra, circa 1971

1. Sesame Street theme/ Toy Symphony with Cookie Monster/ I’ve got two
2. ABC-DEF-GHI - Big Bird & the cast
3. Rubber Duckie/ Big Bird conducts/ Song of five/ Sesame St. theme reprise

4. “Yes”- Judy Collins, Biff and Sully
5. Ernie and Bert imagine going their separate ways
6. Maria and Bert’s imaginary helicopter ride
7. “Snooky” (Beautiful Day monster) tries to go through a hoop (incomplete)
8. SESAME STREET FLIES: Audio clips from an episode circa 1982
Big Bird and Poco Loco the parrot talk; “Flying” by Joe Raposo; Music from film about building blocks (incomplete); Big Bird as an airplane; Cartoon- Counting planes on the runway; Grover’s airplane; Marlena, Kermit and Grover; Anything muppets - “Rocket”; Luis’ serenade /Pat the pilot cartoon (incomplete); Big Bird and Maria in a balloon - “I’m flying” song; Bald Eagle film (slightly different dialogue); “Danger” film music of man narrowly missing danger (incomplete); Dark clouds cartoon with scary cats (incomplete, unfortunately!); Pinball count- 12 (incomplete); Big Bird and Maria land.

With my slow connection, it has been impossible to share these tracks with others. Until now. The album is currently available to download on the Sesame Street Block Party site! As you can imagine, the audio quality is often not very good. But it is listenable, and it is a treasure for fans of these skits that are currently unavailable anywhere else.

This project has been a long-time coming due to my inability to share the files myself. But again, Bob at the “Sesame St. block party” Web site has been kind enough to post the files, and my friend Peter has been kind enough to upload the files. So very special thanks go out to Bob and Peter for making it all possible.

To learn more about Sesame Street‘s appearance with the Boston Pops, click here:

From Sesame Street Unpaved: "According to Danny Epstein, musical coordinator for Sesame Street, when the cast played ["Rubber Duckie"] with the Boston Pops (Big Bird conducted), the musicians were not allowed to squeeze rubber duckies in addition to playing their own instruments unless they were paid extra. Apparently, a rubber duckie was considered to be a second instrument, and each musician was supposed to receive additional pay if they played a second instrument. When it came time for the actual performance, only the percussion players squeezed the ducks. It was determined that the rubber duck was to be considered a percussion instrument."


UNCENSORED, BUT INCOMPLETE: In my Christmas shopping I came upon a book called “MTV Uncensored.” It is several years old now, but it seemed at first glance to be an excellent history of MTV’s early days. I thumbed through it, and it does seem like a great book, with many great historic photos. But there’s one important element missing. I thumbed through this thing looking for one person, but . . . Nope, I couldn’t find Carolyne Heldman in it anywhere! DANG! Not even her name seemed to be included in the book! This is particularly upsetting when you realize that several other Vjs, including others from the “Carolyne” era, are included in the book. That stinks, man. I hope I’m mistaken, but I really couldn’t find her mentioned in this book which is supposed to be “uncensored.” Phooey.

You know what this reminds me of? You know that person who you knew in high school but who somehow never got their picture taken for the yearbook? It’s like that. I know that person existed, but there’s no photographic proof. Despite the lack of evidence, I know that I am not mistaken in my memories. Yes Virginia, there is a Carolyne Heldman.

Just for revenge, I think we should go over to the Aspen Public Radio site and listen to Carolyne read from one of my favorite books of all time, “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Marjery Williams. There are plenty of other cool readings available at the site, too:


POPEYE ON GOOGLE: Hey, did you happen to catch Popeye’s appearance on the Google homepage? It’s been a pretty cool month for Google fans - first the Sesame Street muppets, now Popeye! His appearance was in celebration of the birthday of E.C. Segar, the cartoonist who created the legendary sailor. Read all about Popeye here:


ANOTHER YEAR: Sigh. I had a good streak going there, didn’t I? I was posting at least once a week for several weeks. Then it stopped. Life happens, and it pushes blog posting way back on the list of things to do. That's true even as the blog celebrates its anniversary this week. No offense folks, but I hope that the blog will always be pushed back. I enjoy it a lot. . .but it’s not all I enjoy. Among other things are spending time with family and friends and wishing them. . .a very Merry Christmas!