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Ernie Through the Years

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The evolution of Ernie.

Image As seen in / Year Notes
1969 Ernie
Sesame Street
Season 1
The first Ernie puppet sports a purple and orange shirt, with yellow collar and cuffs (resembling that of a turtle neck shirt), and has a purple nose. During the pilot episodes, Jim Henson experimented with Ernie's eye focus; at one point he looked downwards instead of upwards.
Sesame Street
Season 2
Ernie wears a red-blue pattern sweater instead of a purple-orange one which becomes his prominent attire design. His nose changes from purple to red.
Sesame Street
Season 3
Ernie's eye focus is improved, and he has a brighter orange skin tone.
Sesame Street
Season 8
Ernie's skin is now darker orange antron fleece, instead of blanket fleece. His head is also considerably rounder.
Sesame Street
Season 14
Ernie's head becomes taller and less football-shaped, and has larger cheeks. His skin color reverts back to a more vibrant orange. The collar and cuffs of his shirt also change, making it look more like a regular shirt.
Sesame Street
Season 17
Similar to the previous design with a larger space between his eyes and thinner hair.
Sesame Street
Season 25
Ernie's skin becomes a light warm orange. He also has a fuller tuft of hair, making it appear somewhat longer.
Sesame Street
Season 31
Once again, Ernie has a rounder, more football-shaped head, closely akin to the 1976-1982 version.
Sesame Street
Season 34
Ernie's head is now taller and has a flatter, less bumpy shape than earlier puppets. There is less of his thinner hair.
Predecessor Puppets and Planning
Moldy Hay from Sam and Friends
(circa 1960)
Distinct from the papier-mâché humanoid characters like Sam, Moldy Hay's orange fleshy skin and wide-mouthed grin are traits that would later be refined into Ernie.

Bert-and-Ernie sketch
Design sketches for Sesame Street
(circa 1969)
Early sketches bear a closer similarity to Moldy Hay, with messier hair and enormous ears. Contrast is established between Ernie's horizontal stripes and round-faced look and Bert's vertical stripes and leaner appearance.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Ernie Through the Years

  • Oldest Ernie's puppet

    2 messages
    • In the test episodes and in the first episodes of the first season of Sesame Street, Ernie looks a little more different: his nose is more opa...
    • There's not really that distinct a difference between the two compared to what follows chronologically. Plus, his face in the second image...

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