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Getting to know the Sesame Street Animators


Well-Known Member
Apr 16, 2002
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It's funny that one was never made...

can anyone give me a brief rundown of 2-12? It's been so long I forgot. I'm really fuzzy, but 2 may have been an amusement park...


New Member
Sep 17, 2003
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Billy Joe Jive

Hey Jeffrey,
I thought I would drop you an email in response to your Question about Billy Joe Jive.
I do not know who did the Animation, but I saw several animation cels from the Segment.
The Cels were in a Gallery called TheDeepArchives.
Their email address is TheDeepArchives@aol.com

Good Luck

Jeffrey Gray said:
Hey, Boober Gorg...do you know who did the Billy Joe Jive segments? Or is that another thing you haven't figured out yet.

Also, in case you want to know of another SS animator, I think Ken Snyder (who did Roger Ramjet, among other cartoon series) worked on SS segments at some point...I learned that from a now-closed site with a filmography of his, but I dunno what segments he worked on...


Well-Known Member
Sep 25, 2003
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WOW my kind of thread. : )
I hope people are still interested...some info and comments (warning - long!):

First off, here is a link to the site boober_gorg mentioned with the "25 years of animation for sesame street" event:


When I first saw it, I e-mailed the contact at the bottom of the page asking if the event had happened yet. The person's response was something like "what are you talking about? where did you see this?". They didn't know what I was talking about...wierd. It's cool that's it's still online, but why _is_ it online still?

I would love to see something like that.

Anyway, to convincing john: the site above mentions that Jim Henson Productions was responsible for Bumble Ardy...maybe they had artists animate it based on Sendak's drawings?

To expand on what Jeffrey Gray said: Ken Snyder's studio was Pantomime Pictures, and they reportedly did several films for Sesame Street. The only one I know for certain is one with a boy that mentions parts of his body...it's the first non-street segment in episode 1037. Snyder btw passed away in 2000 IIRC.

The Hubley studio is one that I've heard mentioned a lot...Emily Hubley (and?) apparently did many films, but the only ones I've been told about (other than the brief description on the 25 Years... site link above) are the one about the guy who invites an M to dinner, and one that sounds very very familiar but I haven't seen since childhood, described as: a boy pours glue over himself, mentions glue, glove, gate as words that start with G.

One person who did a lot of the early classic stuff was Cliff Roberts. His recognizeable style is the simple, outlined characters. Some of his many famous films are: the Q with quivering stem (that falls); Christopher Clumsy: Jasper & Julius; A with a lot of things that crash into it (ends with ambulance): F = food, fern, feather, fudge ("no thanks, couldn't touch another bite").

The first person comissioned to do animation was reportedly Fred Calvert, and the film was Joe puts junebug in jar, goes to jail, moral with many J words at end. I don't have all the Noggin shows, but on the 20 I have this doesn't show up (though others may have seen it recently). He, like Roberts, did many films...(maybe both of them did one for every letter?). One that most people may remember (and has been on Noggin) is the one where a woman talks about H for horseshoe, and a horse follows her around nudging her with his head while she laughs.
The following are some Calvert definitely did (note - the text is from an e-mail someone sent me, I'm just reprinting as is):

"man does "e" for "elephant," "egg," "eagle," etc., as an "e" gets taken away from him each time (he also does "empty");
"c" for "cat" speech balloon;
the "R" story with the man and dog remember R;
"S" for "snake";
"TOL" with "L" crossed out, replaced by "M" (which I don't remember ever seeing);
"X" for "X-ray" speech balloon;
man talks about "K" for "kitten" and gets carried away by a mother cat like one;
and "Q" for "quarter," starring a man and a piggy bank."

I don't know for sure if I've seen any of the above since childhood, unless the snake one is with the flute, and the R one is robber, rooster, rake, rowboat, down the drain, R-R-R-R talking dog.

Others that may be Calvert:
*Man listens to radio, then sings and hand comes out of it and switches off his nose.
*Man discusses TV (similar to above): "It's a T.V. ! Say, that's good!" (starts singing and TV shuts him off).
*The boy who goes fishing and catches letters, makes alphabet soup.
*"hello boys, would you like to hear a story about the letter L?" (leopard wakes lion which chases it, shepherd, lion falls off ledge)
*V: 2 men on opposite tops of giant V ("you shouldn't put anything in your ear it could damage your hearing!")
*A: archer takes ant's apple, ant bites archer on *ankle* (not toe). "DARN it, I'm hungry!"

The leopard one and ant one above are 2 of my favorites, and I've wondered if there was a film like these for every letter. One potential resource for figuring this out is "The Sesame Street Encyclopedia" (I think that's the name), a set of about 15 books released in the late 70's. These mostly contain artwork and stories that aren't from Sesame Street, but there are some nice photos (and stories IIRC) that are. What I'm referring to specifically is one page, that figured a tiny picture beside every letter of the alphabet, and some if not all of these pictures were from animated films (i.e. the leopard one and others I remembered). I have the entire set of books, but unfortunately haven't been able to find them since I got a scanner. If I ever do (or if someone else has that particular volume?), maybe we can get a picture online and try to recall all of the films. The A and L one described above have a "moral" at the end, but so does Wanda the Witch...maybe more than one animator/studio contributed to make a complete alphabet series?
Calvert's style isn't as obvious to me...the Horshoe one and S-snake (assuming again it's the one with snake playing flute) ones, for instance, don't to my eyes have the exact same style. He might or might not have done the one with 2 guys on opposite ends of a V, as well as the one where V lands on a guy's knee.

Sometimes it might help if the voice acting matches to determine if it's the same artist or studio...the voice of the narrator in V landing on a guy's knee sounds like the narrator in the boy who makes alphabet soup film. This might not be a foolproof way to determine artist though. The guy who voices many early Roberts films (I love him whoever he is) I heard narrating what looks to be a 90's-era film, & I think the animator is Craig Bartlett (who did Penny for Pee Wee's Playhouse, as mentioned in another thread "rare animation"). The film is about a bird and a fish, if they were taken out of their enviroments... it's claymation and obviously very different than the Roberts films.

About Wanda the Witch...as someone pointed out, it's Tee Collins, so I think it's safe to assume that Nancy the Nannygoat is also by him (they look similar to myself and others).

Also I believe it's safe to assume Jim did Queen of Six...

Lastly, regarding Billy Joe Jive, nothing about the animator...but I do have an audio file of a toy commercial from the 70's that uses the same music as the Billy Joe theme! Public domain?

***I have audio files of the commercial (& Joe Jive) I would be happy to post online, along with several other Sesame audio files.
Can anyone who's done some research tip me off to a good, free web host so I can post them? Preferably a fast one/large bandwidth...banners and popups aren't a concern since I can tell visitors an easy way to avoid these).


Sally C

New Member
Jan 2, 2004
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I animated some of them.

Hi- Just came across this forum! Jeff Hale owned Imagination Inc. in San Francisco and hired different animators to produce animated pieces for Sesame Street. Bud Luckey was freelancing there at the time. Ernie Fosselius and a partner were responsible for the Pinball animations, as I recall. He later produced "Porklips Now" and "Hardware Wars", two very popular satires that played a lot at independent movie theatres in late 70's.

I produced many songs for Sesame Street in the 1990's, designing, directing, animating, with producer Arlene Sherman, who was wonderful to work for.

These include:
From Your Head (sung by jazz great Betty Carter)
Island of Emotion
Your Feets Too Big
Part of the Whole
I'm Curious
Oh What a Fabulous Party
In and Out Crowd
Above It All
Beginning, Middle and End
a counting series
a couple of rhyming songs ("ake", eg)
Caribbean Amphibian for SS special/ with Jimmy Buffett
Dance Yourself to Sleep
There probably are others too. It's very frustrating to me that this animation, not just mine but so much of it, has never been reissued as a collection, or properly credited. The first three above are my favorites yet were not seen much, produced later in the 90's.

Sally Cruikshank


Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2002
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Wow, it's great that people who worked for the show are joining the forum. Some of those listed above are my favorite songs, like the ones by Christopher Cerf and Paul Jacobs. Now, that counting series you're talking about, would that be "Mask Any #"? Like I remember the '1' had green hair, and its eyes were closed, the '2' had a very long bottom, and a foot stepped on the tail, a fish with a '3' on it, a kite with a '4' on it, a black '5' with eyes, a growing '6', a '7' that bows, and a red '7' appears above it, an '8' that sort of dances up and down, a '9' with a long tongue that eats a butterfly, a '10' where the water in the 0 empties or something, an '11' with wings, a '12' that scoots away, a '13' waving goodbye, a '14' that fills the screen with watter, a '15' that flashes red and green, a yellow '16' on a red background, a '17' dancing, an '18' that swallows a small red ball, and a '19' that spits fire, revealing a frame. This series had marimba music, and men and women singing. Is that the one? It was always one of my favorite counting series.


Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2003
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Who does the animation for the "channels" on Elmo's World? I swear the animation looks so familiar, but I can't put a finger on it.


Active Member
Apr 18, 2002
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Sally Cruikshank, no way!! I am so impressed that you replied here. Your animations for SS deserve a collection all their own, and I'd be the first in line to buy it.


Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2003
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MIKEB97 said:
Does anyone recall Muppets being portyrayed in cartoon form on the show?
There was an old cartoon about counting to 20 where an animated Cookie Monster appeared and ate the number 17.


Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2003
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Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if they had the cartoons interacting with humans on the street like the Muppets did. They already had the technology to do that when the show started. I got this idea from a book about Sesame Street that had a picture of a street scene with the early cartoon characters drawn in with everyone else.