SST 40th Anniversary Library Exhibit Project, Coming in September

Convincing John

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Hey everyone,

A thousand posts ago, I rejoined Muppet Central (after a hiatus) back in 2004. My first post announced that I was working on an incredibly complicated piece of Muppet-related artwork (Gilda Radner-related to be specific). I find it only fitting that my 1,000th post would, coincidentally, be about the same type of thing.

Instead of creating artwork for my favorite charity (see my signature), I'm working on something very different.

Currently, I'm working on a library exhibit for a university in central Illinois. The subject, Sesame Street's 40th Anniversary. It will be going up on September 1st and be up all month.

You might think "well, it's almost Sesame Street's 41st Anniversary." You're right. First of all, our exhibit committee wasn't formed until three or four months ago. Second, I like to think of this exhibit as the grand finale to Sesame Street's 40th year. I chose to reserve September on our calendar in honor of Jim Henson's birthday being in that month.

There aren't a lot of specific details yet, but here's what I can tell you:

Just like every other exhibit we have done, it will be advertising the collection in our library. We pick a topic, find books or DVDs about that subject to display, then encourage our patrons to check out our collection and research the subject further with other references.

Some members do things simply: put a few books on a shelf, print out a page that says "Check out our collection on X" and that's it. That's OK, of course. But I thought that Sesame Street deserves better.

I brought up the idea to my boss, who suggested I use the glass exhibit cases to display the titles we have. The actual books will be on the shelves for people to check out, while the book jackets (or color photocopies) will be in the cases with the call numbers underneath them.

Now here's the fun part...

Since Sesame Street means so much to me, I volunteered to do the exhibit myself while the rest of the committee does a different exhibit (sometimes we split up to do different projects).

Aside from the book/DVD covers on display, I'm going to research the heck out of Sesame Street and fill every square inch of those cases to bursting with photos, facts, articles and more. Everything the people see will relate to the books/DVDs in our collection, yet it will be done with a lot of artwork and more importantly, respect for Sesame Workshop.

My main goal of this exhibit is not just to make people aware of our collection. I'm also going for quality. If Caroll Spinney or Bob McGrath or someone like that ever heard about it (or saw it), I'd want them to be impressed.

Aside from the main Sesame moments we all know (the Mr. Hooper episode, the wedding, etc.) there will be a lot of displayed facts the casual library patron won't know (like info about the pitch reel, Oscar being orange, etc.) I'm also going to debunk that razzafrazzin' "Veggie Monster" rumor, too. (I heard some patrons talk about it as theough it were the truth! GRRR!) Kids will probably see the exhibit too, so I'm not going to touch that other Sesame Street rumor...y'know...the Ernie and Bert one.

In the exhibit, kudos will be given (in photo or text form) to the main Muppeteers, the human cast, characters past and present, Sesame Street's philosophy, co-productions and so much more.

There will also be a list of websites our patrons can check out to learn even more about Sesame Street. The main Sesame Workshop websites will be listed of course, along with Muppet Central, Tough Pigs, the Muppet Wiki, The Muppet Mindset, The MuppetCast and even more! (Since that's where some of my research and pictures will be coming from, I gotta give those sites credit).

I don't have a full list of titles yet for what there will be (and the cases can only hold so much). The head librarian has to see if we can order anything else. I do have a lot of the big resources handy (most of which came out in the past few years).

In short, just imagine Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem reading "Street Gang", "Sesame Street Unpaved", "40 Years of Sunny Days" the Old School and 40th Anniversary DVDs, then cruised the net for more info. A rousing "Can You Picture That"-type number follows, ending with two glass exhibit cases filled with Sesame history, photos, facts, etc.

It's going to be a wonderful project. I'm going to do as much as I can in the time I have. Like the cover of the 40 Years of Sunny Days book, the composition will be a mix of the old and new. The mystery Proto-Gordon will be alongside Roscoe Orman. Fuzzyface (Proto-Grover) will rub furry elbows with Abby Cadabby. Leela will be next to...next to...um...what was that one cowboy's name? I can't remember...:wink:

I'll post more news about it here as things develop.

Convincing John
 

Davina

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ooh sounds really cool and like a lot of fun work! if i were in the area i'd come!
 

Convincing John

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Hey thanks! Right now I'm gathering materials for some 3D parts to the exhibit. For instance, I'm going to put the book jacket to "The Wisdom of Big Bird" in the case...but the jacket will be nestled in a small grapevine wreath and have some yellow turkey feathers sticking out of it. $8 at the craft store's all it costs, but when put together, it'll be very Caroll-appropriate.

One thing I wish they made is a PVC of Abby Cadabby. I wanted to have her dangling from a string inside the case and look like she's fluttering in between the book jackets and DVDs. (The beanie plush is too big for that).

I also wish I could find a good set of screenshots for the Funky Yo-Yo master that were of a decent size.

If time permits (and if I find the right size glass), I want to make a Teeny Little Super Guy replica.

There'll be more to tell, but I can't say anything else right now. I have to go work on some photos.

Convincing John
 

zns

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I think that it is very noble of you to be pushing for a major project like this. Please keep us informed as often as possible and good luck.:stick_out_tongue::frown::insatiable:
 

Convincing John

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Well folks, it's been a while since I've posted about this. The exhibit is still coming along nicely. I'm typing this with smudges of dried paint on my fingers. I'm on my break and I'm in the middle of painting the Baker.

For one of my 3D pieces, I built a set of stairs out of foam board, painted 'em gray, added pictures of the numbers to the sides, then got out the ol' Sculpey clay.

I have made a 3D Baker out of clay. He's about the size of a Ken or Barbie doll. The stairs are a little smaller. Jim Henson's hand drawn 10 from the clip is enlarged and stands at the top of the stairs. The Baker is (naturally) in mid-tumble. There are 10 chocolate layer cakes splattered all over. Some are on him and some will be glued to the stairs. I've been painting everything with acrylics. (The Baker's mustache is drying as we speak).

I also have to go buy a carton of milk. I'm going to cover it over with paper and decorate it as though it came from Hooper's Store. The main reason I want to have it in the exhibit is because of the "Have You Seen Me?" picture. It's going to be of the Mystery Gordon no one knows. (I wish they sold fake loaves of bread and fake sticks of butter so I could put 'em together with the container of milk...):smile:

I have also recreated a full-size replica of the famous Mr. Hooper drawing. I even had it put in a yellow frame, just like Big Bird did. A Sesame Street exhibit without that image somewhere is like doing a Disney exhibit and never mentioning Mickey.

Ah, what else...I've got a whole bunch of "Did You Know" facts, plus some great photos of the Muppeteers, writers, composers and of course, Joan Ganz Cooney. I have a good photo of Elmo and Kevin Clash together, too. I showed it to a few people and they always say "HE'S Elmo? What th..." Then I show 'em Frank's picture and say "Yeah, and he performed Miss Piggy for about 25 years."

I will also have photocopies of items from the CTW Archives from the University of Maryland. These will include storyboards, promotional photos and more. Those archives...I barely scratched the surface of what's in there.

I'm not sure how much I should say about this right now...but I actually got to meet a long-time resident of this particular street and gave this person a binder with photos and stuff of what I'm doing. We had a nice long chat and they really like what I've got so far. They did ask where I got all my information from. Muppet Wiki has been my main resource. Needless to say, it was one of the best days of my life and after speaking with this Sesame Street resident, I felt like doing this all the way home instead of driving!:big_grin:

I even have dates and a location for the exhibit, if anyone is interested to come see it. If you can't see it, my boss is planning to have at least part of it online (plus photos) so you can at least see and hear it online.

I'm doing my best to show that Sesame Street has a rich history and it's much more than just Elmo's World. Elmo will be there, sure, but I want to show a huge variety of EVERYTHING: people, characters, animation, you name it.

I've got...(counts files)...27 files done with more on the way. Whew!

Well, time to get back to the Baker. (He's almost done!)

Convincing John
 

Davina

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not sure about sticks of butter, but I have seen fake loaves of bread at some of the craft stores over the years, so you might want to double check that.. as for fake butter, wouldn't be too hard to make some I would think, using clay and tinting it slightly..
 

minor muppetz

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Sounds like a cool project. I like that milk carton idea for the first Gordon. It would be interesting if you could also do the "have you seen me?" idea for some of the show's most obscure characters, like Leslie Mostly and Aristotle. Characters that even the most hardcore fans don't know much about.

Maybe I missed it, but will you be providing information on some of the long-gone characters like Roosevelt Franklin and Sam the Robot?

Heck, it would be funny if you cut out several Os and put them up for sale for a nickle each. Or invisible ice cream cones.
 

Convincing John

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Maybe I missed it, but will you be providing information on some of the long-gone characters like Roosevelt Franklin and Sam the Robot?

Heck, it would be funny if you cut out several Os and put them up for sale for a nickle each. Or invisible ice cream cones.
I mention Roosevelt in one picture that features the four Gordons (heh, sounds like a band. 'Ladies and gentlemen, the Four Gordons!') Roosevelt's one of my faves and he'll be in there somewhere. Never seen a sketch with Leslie Mostly. I looked her up, but don't know where she'd fit.

I'll also have a page with Linda in it (but it isn't done yet). That might be a good place for Aristotle (to show how handicapped people are introduced to kids). We only have a little bit in the Muppet Wiki on Aristotle and the one mention in the 40 Years book. I wish there were some Youtube clips with him. (Where did Louise Gikow find that picture of him using braille? It looks like a screenshot from a clip). On the same page, I might also include Griotte from Rue Sesame.

As for Sam, he might be in a cast photo I have from the CTW archives. Gotta check on that. I'm also going to make (if time permits) a replica of Teeny Little Super Guy. I just have to go to a dollar store somewhere and get the right kind of glass.

The Salesman will be all over the place in this exhibit, kind of like how he is in the book Sesame Street Unpaved. He'll be near all kinds of obscure facts and photos with the words "Did You Know..." near him.

The letter "O" for sale idea sounds good (if I have the time, I might make one). As for the invisible ice cream cones, I'll try that too...but I haven't seen any for sale yet. (rimshot).

What I'd really like to find, (and I'd be so thankful if someone can help me) is a picture of Robert (Bob) Myhrum. He means a lot to the person I spoke with and they said that Myhrum deserves some thanks for their writing skills.

Convincing John
 

minor muppetz

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Never seen a sketch with Leslie Mostly. I looked her up, but don't know where she'd fit.

I'll also have a page with Linda in it (but it isn't done yet). That might be a good place for Aristotle (to show how handicapped people are introduced to kids). We only have a little bit in the Muppet Wiki on Aristotle and the one mention in the 40 Years book.
I just meant make a milk carton with "Have you seen me?" with those really obscure characters that we don't even know much about. (a good way to represent Leslie Mostly would be if you were to include a biography on Michael Earl Davis, though I doubt you will).

Man, sounds like a great exhibet, too bad I likely won't be able to come (Illonois is just a state away but I don't think I could justify travelign all that way just to go to a library exhibet). I keep thinking of things you can do.... Must resists. But since it is in Illonois have you thought about including representation of Follow That Bird, maybe create ficticious info on Oceanview, Illonois?

Man, another thing that would be good would be some posters promoting specific moments, maybe "Great Sesame Street Moments", or you could put in a "Do you remember...?" note and include Forgetful Jones by it (that's what Sesame Street Unpaved SHOULD HAVE DONE with it's "do you remember" lists). Maybe print out the still images from Muppet Wiki. Or you could check on what Sesame Street videos and DVDs are available at that library, post info on segments found in those releases, and put in a note that they can be checked out at the library (and also note if they can be found at sesamestreet.org).

Or you could make a fake newspaper featuring images and articles releated to Sesame Street News segments (and maybe ads for locations from the show, like Charlie's Reestaurant and Hooper's Store, maybe also The National Association of W Lovers). Man, I've got to stop with these suggestions...
 

Convincing John

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Oh, now I get what you mean with the milk cartons. No, I'll just have the one for Proto-Gordon.

Actually, most of what you suggested will be mentioned in the exhibit. Sesame Street News, Forgetful Jones, the best remembered moments from the show, all that stuff. I have a lot of images from Muppet Wiki already. As for the books and DVDs in our library, everything in the exhibit relates to something in our university's collection. That was the plan from day one. I'm even going to plug "Truro Daydreams", the children's books Sonia Manzano wrote and even Frank Oz's films. (We got 'em, so they'll have a note saying "this book has the call number such and such). I got links and references all over the place from Sesamestreet.org to Tough Pigs to MC to our online catalog...yeah, it'll all be there!

Our patrons will have to read up on Michael Earl Davis through the Muppet Wiki or one of the books like Street Gang (which we have).

The Follow That Bird stuff and "Oceanview, Illinois" reference sounds good, too. I'll have to see if I can fit that in (if we have Follow That Bird in our DVD collection, that is).

Convincing John
 
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