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Fay Ray

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Fay1

The inimitable Fay Ray

Wegmandogs

Fay, Battina, and Chundo

Fay Ray (1984 - 1995) was the Weimaraner dog most often used by photographer/filmmaker William Wegman in segments on Sesame Street.

Wegman, who had had success with his dog Man Ray from the 1970s until Man Ray's death in 1982, bought Fay, then known as "Cinnamon Girl", as a puppy in 1985. Wegman first began photographing Fay in 1986, and she made her screen debut in Wegman's 1986 short Dog Baseball.

In November 1987, Wegman was contacted by Sesame Street producer Arlene Sherman, who invited him to supply short films for the series. Fay was the natural choice to star. Wegman, in voice-over, would narrate and give instructions, and Fay would demonstrate everything from math skills to letter concepts. Beginning in 1993, Fay was joined by her three pups, all born in 1989: Batty (aka Battina), Crooky, and Chundo. This year introduced a number of sketches based on fairy tales and rhymes, and the "Farmer McFay" series (amongst the first in which the dogs' heads were posed over a man's arms and body, usually assistants Jason Burch or Andrea Beeman). Other segments, such as "ABC," let the dogs be dogs.

The dogs also starred in a series of Sesame Street sponsored videos, both compiling earlier sketches and new material, notably Alphabet Soup (1995) and Fay's Twelve Days of Christmas (1995). In the latter, Fay, in a wig and posed over an apron clad model, poses as a loving mother preparing Christmas meals and presents for her family.

In late spring of 1995, Fay suddenly contracted leukemia, and passed away at the age of 11 on June 7. Her children, however, have continued to appear on Sesame Street. Fay's grandson Chip is a more recent addition to the menagerie.

Sketch Segments

Fay demonstrates addition by placing 3 balls on a table.
Fay demonstrates "over" and "under".
Fay listens to a walkman.
The dogs show what a waiter's job is like.
The dogs make things out of clay.
The dogs form a J.
Batty as Little Bo Peep, seeking her sheep.
The dogs form a K, as in King.
The dogs play out the nursery rhyme.
Released in Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days.
Aping earlier photographs of Man Ray, Fay adisguises herself as various animals, including a ladybug, a moose, a green elephant, and a frog. Two girls, in voice-over, refer to the latter as "Kermit the Dog."
Jack Sprat and his wife eating a meal.
  • Subtraction
Fay demonstrates subtraction by removing blue balls from a table.
  • Farmer McFay
A series of shorts in which Fay, posed in overalls over Jason Burch's arms, demonstrated numbers using fruits and vegetables from her crop. Chundo played her son.
  • The McDoubles
A subset of the "Farmer McFay" series, Fay's female pups Batty and Crooky are dressed in overalls joined at the waist.
  • Number 2
The McDoubles demonstrate the number 2.
  • Counting to 10
The McDoubles count to 10 with their fingers. (EKA: Episode 3281)
  • Goldilocks
The dogs re-enact the classic tale, with Crooky in a wig as goldilocks, and the other three as the bears.
  • Dog Alphabet
All four dogs form various letters, from A-Z. Later used, with new footage, in the video Alphabet Soup.
  • Dog Numbers
Similar to the above, the dogs form the numbers 1-9.
  • ABC
Fay demonstrates the first three letters of the alphabet by balancing letter blocks.
The nursery rhyme is recited with some help from the dogs.
Crooky, in a wig as Little Miss Muffet, deals with a spider.
Chundo as Old King Cole.
The dogs make a peanut butter sandwich.

Credits

  • Director: William Wegman
  • Assistant Director: Andrea Beeman
  • Cameraman: Alan Cohen
  • Lights: Edgar Gil
  • Arm Models: Jason Burch, Andrea Beeman

Videos

William Wegman's Mother Goose

References

Wegman, William. Fay. New York: Hyperion Books, 1999.

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