A Special Sesame Street Christmas

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A Special Sesame Christmas opening sequence
A Special Sesame Christmas
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A Special Sesame Christmas

A Special Sesame Street Christmas was a low-budget 1978 CBS Christmas special, made the same year as the legendary and still popular Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.

Including only three of the Sesame Street Muppets: Oscar, Big Bird, and Barkley. Barkley is played not by its regular puppeteer, Bruce Connelly, but by gymnast Toby Towson. Not only that, but it is a different puppet used, making Barkley a gigantic and rather intimidating five feet tall, or higher, at times in the special. Mr. Hooper, David, Bob, and Maria are the only humans from the regular cast to make appearances.

Instead, the regulars are replaced by a large, somewhat all-star cast.

The special features many plot elements that very loosely a tied together. They include Leslie Uggams thinking lemonade was hot cocoa, singer Anne Murray and a magic egg nog container, Oscar adopting a kitten with a broken leg who was never seen again on the television series, and is out of character for Oscar, even on Christmas (no explanation why or how the cat had a broken leg), and Ethel Merman calling Imogene Coca an idiot. Also appearing is Dick Smothers (only one half of The Smothers Brothers was hired for the special), Henry Fonda and Michael Jackson.

It may be noted that, due to the utter lack of purpose to this special, none of these stars have ever shown up on Sesame Street as guests, possibly fearing a repeat of this fiasco. Merman had already appeared on The Muppet Show two years before the making of this extravaganza.

It's important to note that it was more than likely that the least fondly remembered of Sesame Street specials was mainly produced by CBS, not the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop).

However, some credit has been given to this special. It was nominated in the 31st Annual Emmy Awards (1979) under the category of Outstanding Children's Program, losing to Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.

The special has not appeared on video or DVD, and likely never will.

References

  • A Blue Christmas (http://www.toughpigs.com/journalbluexmas.htm) Tough Pigs review of this disastrous telefilm special.
  • A Muppety Christmas (http://www.geocities.com/muppetchristmas/special_sesame.html) Overview of the special. Site also includes many other specials, movies, videos, albums and assorted cards and ornaments.
  • Internet Movie Database entry (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0329634)
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