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Classic-era sound effect sources

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by wiley207, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. wiley207

    wiley207 Well-Known Member

    Having watched so many old "Sesame Street" episodes and segments, I have been able to gather information on where many of the sound effects heard in the street scenes and cast/Muppet segments from 1969 up to the early 80s came from, as the sound effects were a lot more unique back then...
    One thing I noticed is that back in the day, they often tended to make their own sound effects for certain things, especially the "boings" (like Harvey Kneeslapper pasting a letter or number on his victim), crashes (especially all those off-screen ones) and a few other assorted foley sounds. In many cases these would obviously be pre-recorded, as I'd often hear a certain effect in more than one sketch (I've learned to recognize quite a few of the crashing sounds they've made.) But there are also some instances when taping a sketch where certain sound effects appear to have been done live, like in the old days of radio. One example is in the first season's "The Mysterious Nose Snatcher"; if you listen closely you can hear a guy softly saying "Pop" to cue the sound effects guy to make the popping sound of Ernie's nose coming off. And in the early 70s sketch when Grover instructs the sentient letter R to demonstrate certain R words, it sounds like a couple of the effects, most notably for when the R "rolls" and "rocks", were done live off-camera as the skit was being taped.
    Then there are the obvious stock sounds that were taken off of sound effect records. In most cases, they used the Major Records Sound Effects Library from Valentino, a library that saw really heavy use from many production companies between the 50s and the 80s (I remember "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and "Gumby" using quite a few of their effects as well.) Several effects that I was able to identify from the Major library include the wolf howls (often used in sketches with Count von Count), the clattering sounds of the Baker's desserts when he falls down those stairs, any explosions used in this period, wind blowing (like Super Grover flying), the thunderclap often used with Count von Count throughout the 70s (I've also heard it used in Henson's "Tales of the Tinkerdee" pilot from 1962), elephants trumpeting (like Oscar's pet elephant Fluffy) and the steam train sounds they'd often use during that era.
    I have also heard some sound effects from Elektra's "Authentic Sound Effects" series of LP records from the 1960s used on the show, such as that fire engine sound with multiple sirens and the doppler bell clanging (like when Ernie tried counting fire engines at night), or that sketch when the Two-Headed Monster tries driving a car with disastrous results; the car crash sound effect in that one came from the "Authentic Sound Effects" library as well, and it was also used a lot by Hanna-Barbera and on "The Price is Right" for the Cliffhangers game.

    Just thought this information would be rather useful. And of course, the animated segments' sound effects are a whole other ballpark, since they came from SO MANY sources.
  2. wiley207

    wiley207 Well-Known Member

    Heh, and then D'Snowth showed me this interview with Dick Maitland on FaceBook, where he shows off one of his sound effect gadgets for making bell and buzzer sounds, like for doorbells, telephones, game shows, alarms, etc.


    Pretty cool stuff! I also remember hearing what sounded like an Edwards Adaptahorn buzzing near the end of the "Sesame Street Sports" segments when Kermit interviews the Tortoise and the Hate.
    cjd874 likes this.
  3. SesameMike

    SesameMike Well-Known Member

    You know that animation where they count to 20 and each number is "destroyed" in one way or another after it is counted? I understand they used some Hanna-Barbera sound effects in that one.

    One live-action sound effect that stands out in my mind was in a Wally and Ralph segment. In this one, the bumbling duo attempts to make a PB&J sandwich. At one point, one of them has a slice of bread with peanut butter, the other with jelly spread on it. They hold their respective slices up and walk toward each other to "collide" the sandwich together. But they miss, and one of them continues on, off-screen, and there is a very long and loud crashing/toppling sound. (This was a reprise of a Buddy and Jim skit. But when they missed their collision, they just looped back and stayed on-camera. That one has seen the light of day in the YouTube era; any sign of the Wally-and-Ralph version?)
  4. sesamemuppetfan

    sesamemuppetfan Well-Known Member

    I can't help but wonder if someone played the tuba for the foghorn sound effect used in various skits.
    wiley207 likes this.
  5. LittleJerry92

    LittleJerry92 Well-Known Member

    I think it is, actually.
  6. wiley207

    wiley207 Well-Known Member

    Yep, and I also heard some Jay Ward/Rocky and Bullwinkle sound effects in it! (Especially the signature Bullwinkle explosion sound when the dynamite "19" blows up.) And coincidentally I've heard a few of those stock Major Records sound effects on Rocky and Bullwinkle as well (like the Count von Count thunderclap.)

    And regarding the foghorn, it's likely they made that sound effect themselves using a tuba.
  7. Muzzarino

    Muzzarino Well-Known Member

    Eight Balls of Fur among other sketches used a +4 pitched/sped up variant the piano crash that comes from Crashes, Collisions and Catastrophies under the name of "piano crash, fall downstairs". For Danger and Heavy and Light, I'm not sure where that kind of piano crash sound comes from.
  8. wiley207

    wiley207 Well-Known Member

    The "Sesame Street" production team might have made that piano crash sound themselves. It wouldn't be that hard a sound to make; just have one person pound on many piano keys at once, while the other drops or smashes pieces of wood. Creating sound effects can be, well, pretty creative!
    LittleJerry92 likes this.
  9. LittleJerry92

    LittleJerry92 Well-Known Member

    The magic of foley.
    wiley207 likes this.
  10. BuddyBoy600alt

    BuddyBoy600alt Well-Known Member

    In Danger (It's No Stranger), It plays that sound when the grand piano falls when How Now Brown Cow went "Don't walk under a falling piano".
  11. cjd874

    cjd874 Well-Known Member

    I also enjoyed listening to the sound effects from Sesame Street. Two of my favorite segments are "The Monster's Three Wishes" and "Ernie Imagines the Park at Night."
    In the former, Cookie Monster eats a truck and the destructive sounds (breaking glass, crushing metal) are nothing short of amazing. In the latter, Ernie imagines the park at night...but the sound effects themselves are what make the sketch so funny: barking dogs, chirping crickets, the ice cream truck, vacuum cleaners, and zoo animals to name just a few!

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