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The Bridgekeeper

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The Bridgekeeper

The Bridgekeeper was a character who appeared in a series of three animated sketches on Sesame Street. He was a tall, thin, wizard-like man with a long white beard, green robes with a matching cone-shaped hat, and possessed of a rather solemn disposition. In all of his appearances, he held a long wooden staff. He was known for almost always talking in rhyme, and a thunderclap would pierce the air whenever the Bridgekeeper would introduce himself. Gahan Wilson was responsible for these segments.[1]

Sketches

Circle

A young man carrying a brown paper bag walks up to the bridgekeeper and asks him if he is "The Bridgekeeper." The bridgekeeper responds with: "YES, I AM THE BRIDGEKEEPER!" (followed by a clap of thunder). He orders the young man to show him whatever circles are in the bag, and to eat them. The young man is ordered to eat three round foodstuffs: a cookie, a pepperoni pizza, and a slice of watermelon. Once the young man is granted permission to cross the bridge, however, he tells the bridgekeeper that he was merely trying to deliver the latter's groceries.
The segment has aired on Rua Sesamo as well.

Square (EKA: Episode 2291)

In this sketch, the bridgekeeper stipulates that answering three questions about the square in his hand is required to cross the bridge. Question One: What is this? Question Two: How many sides does it have? Question Three: What is a square good for? A young man who wishes to cross the bridge has a square-shaped building block in his backpack. And a girl thinks a square makes a good picture frame. Then along hops a light blue-colored monster with a red winter cap, who proceeds to eat the bridgekeeper's square, the better to satisfy his daily diet of "three square meals."

Triangle (EKA: Episode 3152)

In this sketch, a young bespectacled man with an accordion asks "do you work here?" The Bridgekeeper responds "WORK HERE, I AM THE BRIDGEKEEPER" (followed by a clap of thunder). The man with the accordion asks how much it costs to cross the bridge. The bridgekeeper says admission is free, but requires that the young man show him three triangles. Two of them are found in the bridgework, and the man uses the bridgekeeper's staff to draw a third triangle in the dirt. Although the bridgekeeper has his order filled, he asks the man to play a tune on his accordion. This additional request takes the young man by surprise, but he is told to do so for the opportunity to cross the bridge.
In the end, he plays a jaunty little tune on his accordion.

Sources

  1. Sesame Street: A Celebration - 40 Years of Life on the Street, page 240.

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