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Journey to Ernie

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Journey to Ernie is a recurring Sesame Street segment which focuses on Big Bird's hide-and-seek game with Ernie. It premiered in Season 33 and features the Muppet characters interacting with computer-animated backdrops.

The format for the segment would change after its first season on the show. In the original format, Ernie hid inside a box with a striped pattern similar to that of his shirt. Big Bird had to locate Ernie's box, a task he usually accomplished after finding two other, similar boxes which did not contain Ernie. Big Bird's discovery of an incorrect box triggered a non-Ernie sketch or film while the revelation of the correct box launched a segment prominently featuring Ernie.

In season 34, the format was changed. The segments began with Ernie interrupting Big Bird's normal routine with a challenge to play the game. The animated environments in the new format are more fully realized than in the previous incarnation of the segment and Ernie no longer hides in a box. Big Bird now searches based on clues from Ernie, and the Two-Headed Monster appears regularly to offer some not-so-helpful advice. The new format also featured a closing song sung by Big Bird and Ernie at the end of every segment.

"Journey to Ernie" started to appear less frequently in season 36 and was dropped the following season. According to the book Sesame Street: A Celebration - 40 Years of Life on the Street,

"It was very popular, especially among the younger children, [Dr.] Rosemarie [Truglio] says. "They loved the game of hide and seek." But however popular the segment was, writers and the producers felt it wasn't 'Sesame' enough, and wasn't a comfortable fit. The look and feel of the animation was too similar to other shows on the television schedule and, while funny, it didn't mesh with the whole show.[1]

Matt Vogel performs Big Bird in all of these Journey to Ernie segments.

Sequences from the Original Format (2002)

All of these sequences were repeated in other Journey to Ernie sketches during season 33, in different sequence orders. With the exceptions of the introduction and closing, each sequence ended with Big Bird finding Ernie. These parts were edited from sketches that showed these sequences as the first and second sequences.

Picture Location / First Appearance Description
Park


Episode 3981

Introduction of Journey to Ernie.
Space


Episode 3981

Big Bird is in Outer Space, asking a Martian for help.
Antarctica


Episode 3981

Big Bird follows a penguin pattern at a snowy location.
The Disco


Episode 3982

Big Bird looks for Ernie at a disco.
Supermarket


Episode 3982

Big Bird searches at the supermarket.
Circus


Episode 3983

Big Bird walks the tight rope at a circus.
Dinosaur Land


Episode 3984

Big Bird asks a dinosaur for help.
Chicken House


Episode 3984

Big Bird talks to chickens.
Vortex


Episode 3984

Big Bird looks for Ernie's box by repeating a clapping pattern.
The Farm


Episode 3993

Big Bird looks for Ernie's box by singing Old MacDonald Had a Farm with the Three Little Pigs.

Segments (2003-2005)

Picture Location / EKA Description
Musical Instrument Land


Episode 4031

Big Bird looks for Ernie in a land that is filled with musical instruments, many of which play "Rubber Duckie."
Barnyard


Episode 4032

Big Bird looks for Ernie at a barnyard by asking questions to the animals there.


Online: Sesamestreet.org (SSvideo)

Jungle


Episode 4034

Big Bird looks for Ernie in the jungle.
Beach


Episode 4039

Big Bird looks for Ernie at the beach.


Online: Sesamestreet.org (SSvideo)

Shape Land


Episode 4043

Big Bird hunts for Ernie in a land full of floating geometric shapes.


Online: Sesamestreet.org (SSvideo)

Nursery Rhyme Land


Episode 4057

Big Bird meets characters from nursery rhymes.


Video: The Street We Live On

Journey to Big Bird


Episode 4058

Ernie and Big Bird switch places and Ernie looks for Big Bird at a circus.


Video: The Letter of the Month Club

Beanstalk


Episode 4059

Big Bird climbs a beanstalk.


Video: A Magical Halloween Adventure

One of These Things


Episode 4062

Big Bird looks for Ernie in a land full of animated boards for the classic song/game. Here, he learns that sometimes more than one answer is right.


Video: Furry Red Monster Parade

Park


Episode 4064

If Big Bird finds something with the words that he saw written in chalk on the pavement, he will find Ernie.
Rubber Duckie Land


Episode 4066

Big Bird goes to a land filled with Rubber Duckies.
Chilly, Icy Snowyville


Episode 4071

Big Bird looks for Ernie in the snowy land.
Dancing Land


Episode 4079

Ernie hides in a land full of dancing creatures, plants, and other natural objects; even the sun dances in the sky there.


Online: Sesamestreet.org (SSvideo)

Transportation Land


Episode 4093

Ernie hides in a land full of transportation vehicles and other things to ride on.
Dinosaur Age


Episode 4095

Big Bird goes to the land of dinosaurs.


Video: Dinosaurs!

The Letter B Museum


Episode 4096

Ernie hides in a museum where all the exhibits have names beginning with B. Bob makes a cameo appearance in this one--not as an exhibit, but as a visitor on his way home.
Journey to Bert


Episode 4108

Bert replaces Ernie in the game, and Big Bird looks for Bert in a place where there is a lot of food.

Sources

  1. Sesame Street: A Celebration - 40 Years of Life on the Street, page 167

See also

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