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Little Bird

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Performer:
LittleBird
Littlebird
Littlebird1969
SesameStreetCharacters-InAwe

Little Bird and his fellow neighbors in 1999.

Little Bird first appeared on Sesame Street in Season 1, and was often used as a foil to Big Bird, due to their contrasting sizes. Little Bird was a refurbished version of the Muppetised Kenner Gooney Bird, created by Jim Henson for Easy Bake Oven commercials in 1968.

Even though Little Bird is primarily performed by a female puppeteer, the character is male. The song "Mr. Big Bird, Mr. Little Bird" appears on the Grin & Giggle with Big Bird LP. The 1973 Character Style Guide from CTW also describes him as a "he." In episode 59 of The MuppetCast, Fran Brill confirmed in an e-mail that she always thought of Little Bird as a male.

Although Little Bird appeared on Sesame Street most often during the 1970s, the character continued to appear frequently in books throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He made a cameo in "Wonderful Yucky", singing about his lunch, the contents of which are wonderful to him but yucky to a passer-by. Little Bird also made a few cameo appearances during the 1980s and 1990s. On-screen appearances include a brief fly-by in the song "Do-Op Hop," at Birdland in "The Birdland Jump," and contributed a line to "We Are All Earthlings." Little Bird's most recent US puppet appearance was in a 1999 Sesame Street group shot photo (pictured).

Henson, who originated the Bird in the Kenner commercials, performed Little Bird in at least two sketches from the first season: a sketch from Episode 0028 in which he meets Big Bird, and the game show "Pick Your Pet." Although Little Bird was used sporadically on the show, he proved effective with test audiences:

Although he did not appear often, children were really attentive to Little Bird. They participated fully during his "Imagination Game". Perhaps he could play a greater role on the street.[1]

Little Bird has also appeared in a sketch where a cow named Lola tries to find a home and encounters an unsuccessful attempt to live in Little Bird's nest. In that sketch, Little Bird is performed by Jerry Nelson.

Marionette versions of Little Bird have been used often for flying scenes such as in the "Song of One," "I Whistle a Happy Tune," and "Do-Op Hop".

Little Bird's birthday is marked in Sesame Street Calendars as December 17th.

In 2003, he was immortalized in toy form in the first series of Medicom Sesame Street Kubricks.

Sketches

Big Bird sees Little Bird and wonders what kind of animal he is. He tries to communicate with Little Bird by barking, meowing, and mooing, until he finally asks what Little Bird is. After Little Bird tells Big Bird that he's a bird, Big Bird doesn't believe him, thinking that birds are big, so Little Bird compares their similarities until he convinces Big Bird that he is a bird.
Little Bird plays an imagination game with the audience. He closes his eyes, and imagines things. He ends the game by imagining a monster behind him, and when he opens his eyes, Herry Monster appears behind him.
Little Bird talks about the concept of "next to", and Cookie Monster cuddles up next to Little Bird.
A casa is drawn for Little Bird, who replies "Casa".

International appearances

  • In Sesame Street books that are translated to Dutch, his name is Pinorino, referring to Pino from Sesamstraat.
  • Between 2003 and 2005 the puppet was used on Sesamstrasse for an unnamed bird and Turbo Theo in episodes 2214 and 2222, respectively. The puppet was also used as a cuckoo bird, that Finchen helped to find a new sound.

Book appearances

Sources

  1. The Response of Children in Six Small Viewing Groups page 4

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