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Sesame Street "Surprise" Song

Mike74

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Hi new member....just had a child and he's started watching SS (loves Elmo....but I'm steering him towards Grover) so I've been re immersed in the SS world. I was a huge fan growing up and now that I'm watching again I've been remembering and looking up old clips but I can't seem to find the "Surprise Song" clip anywhere. I have muddled memories of it, as I was very young at the time (think it aired in the mid 70's) but it seemed to involve the cast singing about surprises and being hit with pies. That's what I seem to remember, anyway! Any help with descriptions, transcrips or actual video would be GREATLY appreciated! Glad I'm back into the world of SS!
 

The Count

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The only song titled "Surprise" I know of is the one sung by Little Jerry and The Monotones. You might be able to get someone who has a copy of it to send it to you via the Lots of MUP3's thread in the Buy/Sell/Trade section, though I can't guarantee any results.

Hope this helps and have fun exploring the rest of the forums.
 

Mike74

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The only song titled "Surprise" I know of is the one sung by Little Jerry and The Monotones. You might be able to get someone who has a copy of it to send it to you via the Lots of MUP3's thread in the Buy/Sell/Trade section, though I can't guarantee any results.

Hope this helps and have fun exploring the rest of the forums.
Nope, definately not that song, this definately had Bob, Maria, Oscar and Mr. Hooper in it....
 

dwmckim

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I know the one you're talking of - and this is one of those "holy grails" of Muppet fans...lots of people have fond memories of this song - it's one of the show's all time best pieces...and it still to this day has yet to see the light of day via either official release (dvd, Sesame's youtube channel or website) or within the tape trade/fan-posted online clips community.

Musically it went all over the place - it was practically an epic (Sesame's "Bohemian Rhapsody" as it were.) I can't point you to a clip since many of us have waited a long time for it to surface...but i can give you a few words about it straight from Joseph A. Bailey's "Memoirs of a Muppet Writer":

"Jon Stone commissioned a song called Surprise!. The accompanying video, written by Jon, probably involved more pies-in-the-face in three and a half minutes than the Three Stooges threw in a year.

The word "Surprise" was used liberally throughout the song. Each time it was, some human cast member or Muppet caught a cream pie square in the kisser - always from an unexpected direction or person. Somewhere between 50 and 60 pies were thrown, mostly by Jon Stone, who had a wonderful time directing it.

At the wrap party, the celebration held after the last show of the season is shot, choice pieces from the season were screened. The last one screened was Surprise! Predictably, it was a big hit. And, during the applause at its end, Producer Dulce Singer hit Jon Stone square in the face with a cream pie. Somewhere a still shot of that exists - I hope."

There's a little more description of the piece in the "honorable mention" section at the end here: http://muppetfreak.blogspot.com/2012/03/top-five-coolest-sesame-street-songs.html
 

Mike74

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I know the one you're talking of - and this is one of those "holy grails" of Muppet fans...lots of people have fond memories of this song - it's one of the show's all time best pieces...and it still to this day has yet to see the light of day via either official release (dvd, Sesame's youtube channel or website) or within the tape trade/fan-posted online clips community.

Musically it went all over the place - it was practically an epic (Sesame's "Bohemian Rhapsody" as it were.) I can't point you to a clip since many of us have waited a long time for it to surface...but i can give you a few words about it straight from Joseph A. Bailey's "Memoirs of a Muppet Writer":

"Jon Stone commissioned a song called Surprise!. The accompanying video, written by Jon, probably involved more pies-in-the-face in three and a half minutes than the Three Stooges threw in a year.

The word "Surprise" was used liberally throughout the song. Each time it was, some human cast member or Muppet caught a cream pie square in the kisser - always from an unexpected direction or person. Somewhere between 50 and 60 pies were thrown, mostly by Jon Stone, who had a wonderful time directing it.

At the wrap party, the celebration held after the last show of the season is shot, choice pieces from the season were screened. The last one screened was Surprise! Predictably, it was a big hit. And, during the applause at its end, Producer Dulce Singer hit Jon Stone square in the face with a cream pie. Somewhere a still shot of that exists - I hope."

There's a little more description of the piece in the "honorable mention" section at the end here: http://muppetfreak.blogspot.com/2012/03/top-five-coolest-sesame-street-songs.html
This sounds like an EPIC, AMAZING segment....as I said, I vaguely remember it....why hasn't it been released anywhere? Seems that others remember it and would like to see it? Is it a right's issue? Are we sure no footage exists of it? What are other holy grail clips? Wow....I really need to see this clip, just to satisfy my curiosity! It seems it represents all that SS was in it's classic years.
 

fuzzygobo

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It's been ages since I've seen this too, but a few little bits stand out:

Gordon is at the supermarket, and finds a monster in his shopping cart. (Surprise!)

Bob tries to sing nursery rhymes- "Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water"- and gets a few buckets in the face.

Take Two- "Mary had a little lamb, it's fleece as white as snow-" Bob gets buried under an avalanche of the white stuff. (Surprise!)

In the last scene, Big Bird is sad because it seems everyone forgot his birthday. But he enters Hooper's store, sees a birthday cake, and a surprise party begins.

Somewhere Mr. Hooper holds up a tiny little sweater "I hope this is your size!"

And the pies start flying, and even Grover gets a facefull.

The song ends with a pie being thrown at the camera, so we the viewers can be in on the joke too.

Again, this is another gem I hope to see once more before I die.

Some other Holy Grails to me:

The Boy, The Girl, and The Jellybeans
Muppet version of "Up, Up, and Away"
English Muppet version of "Windy" (once posted on youtube in German)
"Gone With The Wind" (on youtube in Spanish)

Most likely we haven't seen them due to the legal clearance hassles, but just maybe someday...
 

minor muppetz

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Are we sure no footage exists of it?
I'm 99.9% certain that every episode still exists in full, which would mean this segment still exists. I recall reading a number of times long ago that Sesame Workshop has restored/remastered EVERY single episode a number of times over the years, even before Noggin started (and therefore when it looked like older episodes would never be released or rebroadcast again).

When that line in the book about hoping that at least a still exists somewhere, I think he was referring to a picture from the event where Jon Stone was hit in the face with a pie.

A few years ago Sesame Workshop allowed fans to nominate clips for 40 Years of Sunny Days. If Sesame Workshop ever provides the fans to nominate clips for another DVD release (maybe for the 45th or 50th anniversaries) I'll have to remember to nominate this "Surprise" song.

Mike74 said:
What are other holy grail clips?
There's a number of clips that were considered holy grails but in the last few years have been uploaded at sesamestreet.org and/or released on DVD. Some such clips include:
  • Baker #1 - now at sesamestreet.org and on the 40 Years of Sunny Days DVD
  • There's a Hole in the Bucket - now at sesamestreet.org
  • Beat the Time: Grover - now on the Old School Volume 2 and Best of Sesame Street Spoofs! DVDs and at sesamestreet.org
  • The original "People in Your Neighborhood" - now on the Elmo's World: People in Your Neighborhood DVD
  • Seven Monsters (a rarely-seen animated cartoon by Jim Henson and Maurice Sendak) - has surfaced on YouTube
  • Any clips with Aristotle - two of them are now on sesamestreet.org, while one of those clips is on the Old School Volume 3 DVD
  • Anything with Shivers the Penguin - Copper Pot Pictures recently uploaded a clip of the character on YouTube as part of it's "I Am Big Bird" fundraising campaign
  • Richard Hunt's performances as Elmo - a couple of clips appeared in the Being Elmo documentary
  • Telly Monster in his original TV-obsessed form - A clip of his first scene appears on the 40 Years of Sunny Days DVD, while his entire debut episode is on iTunes
And there are clips that I believe are still considered "holy grails", though some have surfaced in other languages. These include:
  • The original Rubber Duckie (a clip showed up in The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years, but Sesame Workshop seems to think that the second and most well-known version is from the first season)
  • "Crack Monster" cartoon (not a monster who likes crack, but a crack in the wall that forms the shape of a monster)
  • Anything with Leslie Mostly or Deena and Pearl
  • The Count being served by waiter Grover
  • The Count's appearance on Miami Mice
  • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (I think that insert only aired once)
There's also the rarely-seen specials "Out to Lunch" (The Jim Henson Legacy occasionally shows clips at screenings), "Sesame Street at Night?", and "The Jean Marsh Cartoon Special", though "Out to Lunch" seems to be the one fans want to see in full the most. And because of the recent "I Am Big Bird" campaign I've heard of a 1984 special I had never heard of until then, "Big Bird in Austrailia". A couple of clips from that (including the aforementioned Shivers the Penguin clip) were posted on YouTube.

I don't know if others would consider these to be "holy grails", but I'd really like to see any Buddy and Jim, Larry and Phyllis, and Wally and Ralph segment that hadn't been shown on Noggin or iTunes. It seems Sesame Workshop only wants to release those to the public when they release episodes that featured those segments. Ditto for any of the claymation letter segments Jim Henson worked on in the first season (three of them -- the letters S, Q, and U -- have aired on Noggin).

I'd also like to see more of Michael Earl's performances as Forgetful Jones and Snuffy (only one of each has surfaced), and some of Brian Meehl's performances as Elmo.

As epic as this segment sounds, I'd say that a truly episode segment (which most likely doesn't exist) would have to have had the ENTIRE cast. All adults who were on the show at the time and all Muppets who were being used at the time (maybe even characters who were no longer in new material but whose old segments were still being broadcast in new episodes).
 

Mike74

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Weird that the "3 Whipped Cream Pies On the Wall" segment is on YouTube, but this is not.....could it be that Sesame Workshop is holding it back because it represents what the show "was", meaning more slapstick and adult, and not what the show is now, meaning more geared towards REALLY young viewers? Same reason the warnings were on the OLD SCHOOL DVD's (until now, apparently). It's hard to believe that in this day and age, no video/photo evidence exits out there in the internet! I'm just glad I'm not crazy and that I really saw it, years ago! I seem to remember Maria saying "Oscar isn't in." I now must see this before I shuffle off this mortal coil!
 

Mike74

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I'm 99.9% certain that every episode still exists in full, which would mean this segment still exists. I recall reading a number of times long ago that Sesame Workshop has restored/remastered EVERY single episode a number of times over the years, even before Noggin started (and therefore when it looked like older episodes would never be released or rebroadcast again).

When that line in the book about hoping that at least a still exists somewhere, I think he was referring to a picture from the event where Jon Stone was hit in the face with a pie.

A few years ago Sesame Workshop allowed fans to nominate clips for 40 Years of Sunny Days. If Sesame Workshop ever provides the fans to nominate clips for another DVD release (maybe for the 45th or 50th anniversaries) I'll have to remember to nominate this "Surprise" song.


There's a number of clips that were considered holy grails but in the last few years have been uploaded at sesamestreet.org and/or released on DVD. Some such clips include:
  • Baker #1 - now at sesamestreet.org and on the 40 Years of Sunny Days DVD
  • There's a Hole in the Bucket - now at sesamestreet.org
  • Beat the Time: Grover - now on the Old School Volume 2 and Best of Sesame Street Spoofs! DVDs and at sesamestreet.org
  • The original "People in Your Neighborhood" - now on the Elmo's World: People in Your Neighborhood DVD
  • Seven Monsters (a rarely-seen animated cartoon by Jim Henson and Maurice Sendak) - has surfaced on YouTube
  • Any clips with Aristotle - two of them are now on sesamestreet.org, while one of those clips is on the Old School Volume 3 DVD
  • Anything with Shivers the Penguin - Copper Pot Pictures recently uploaded a clip of the character on YouTube as part of it's "I Am Big Bird" fundraising campaign
  • Richard Hunt's performances as Elmo - a couple of clips appeared in the Being Elmo documentary
  • Telly Monster in his original TV-obsessed form - A clip of his first scene appears on the 40 Years of Sunny Days DVD, while his entire debut episode is on iTunes
And there are clips that I believe are still considered "holy grails", though some have surfaced in other languages. These include:

  • The original Rubber Duckie (a clip showed up in The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years, but Sesame Workshop seems to think that the second and most well-known version is from the first season)
  • "Crack Monster" cartoon (not a monster who likes crack, but a crack in the wall that forms the shape of a monster)
  • Anything with Leslie Mostly or Deena and Pearl
  • The Count being served by waiter Grover
  • The Count's appearance on Miami Mice
  • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (I think that insert only aired once)
There's also the rarely-seen specials "Out to Lunch" (The Jim Henson Legacy occasionally shows clips at screenings), "Sesame Street at Night?", and "The Jean Marsh Cartoon Special", though "Out to Lunch" seems to be the one fans want to see in full the most. And because of the recent "I Am Big Bird" campaign I've heard of a 1984 special I had never heard of until then, "Big Bird in Austrailia". A couple of clips from that (including the aforementioned Shivers the Penguin clip) were posted on YouTube.


I don't know if others would consider these to be "holy grails", but I'd really like to see any Buddy and Jim, Larry and Phyllis, and Wally and Ralph segment that hadn't been shown on Noggin or iTunes. It seems Sesame Workshop only wants to release those to the public when they release episodes that featured those segments. Ditto for any of the claymation letter segments Jim Henson worked on in the first season (three of them -- the letters S, Q, and U -- have aired on Noggin).

I'd also like to see more of Michael Earl's performances as Forgetful Jones and Snuffy (only one of each has surfaced), and some of Brian Meehl's performances as Elmo.

As epic as this segment sounds, I'd say that a truly episode segment (which most likely doesn't exist) would have to have had the ENTIRE cast. All adults who were on the show at the time and all Muppets who were being used at the time (maybe even characters who were no longer in new material but whose old segments were still being broadcast in new episodes).
Weird that the "3 Whipped Cream Pies On the Wall" segment is on YouTube, but this is not.....could it be that Sesame Workshop is holding it back because it represents what the show "was", meaning more slapstick and adult, and not what the show is now, meaning more geared towards REALLY young viewers? Same reason the warnings were on the OLD SCHOOL DVD's (until now, apparently). It's hard to believe that in this day and age, no video/photo evidence exits out there in the internet! I'm just glad I'm not crazy and that I really saw it, years ago! I seem to remember Maria saying "Oscar isn't in." I now must see this before I shuffle off this mortal coil!
 

minor muppetz

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To me, I'd also say that any song from the show where video footage hasn't surfaced in english but the song did appear on an album would be a holy grail (of course I know of some cases where the segments turned up in other languages and fans made their own english copies by replacing the audio with the english-language album audio). I know there are many tracks that only exist in audio form on albums, though some of the songs might have been sung on the show years later by different characters (and I'm not counting songs that started on the show and then were rerecorded for audio releases by the same characters and performers). But there are quite a few songs that are known to have been on the show first and then the broadcast audio was later included on albums, notably all the tracks from the Surprise! and The Gang's All Here albums. A few songs in particular that have appeared on albums that I'd like to see video of include I'm Square with Bert, We Coulda with Biff and Sully (this song recently showed up on one of the international co-productions and the whole episode, without audio, was on youtube for awhile before being taken down... And I only watched the segment once), the original I'm Sad Because I'm Happy with Oscar, and Counting is Wonderful with The Count.
 
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