I'm pretty sure the first Columbia LP was released at the same time in a bunch of countries all over the world, and I know we still need ones from Japan and Germany. The funny thing that I can't figure out is why it was even released in these countries, since they weren't showing the show yet. Maybe since the Workshop has always said you didn't have to watch the show to enjoy the records, they went ahead and just released it as a stand-alone educational album. That's my theory, anyway.
You found some more Axis stuff? Cool! I'll have to look at those tomorrow.
Hmmm. I'm starting to think the big sets were just plastic cases where they just put random assortments of books and tapes. Although those seem to be single tapes, and not the double tapes, so that would be good to reference the individual numbers. Also, I never noticed before on the one we already have, it says Copyright 1990 Chadwick Music, and not Golden, although it was a set of Golden stuff. I wonder if it was a one-time release from a sub-licensed publisher. Everything I can find online points to that one set, so I don't know if they ever made any others.
Weird. The case for the bigger set is certainly generic enough to have been randomly filled. What we need is another one for comparison :) Shall I just put that assumption up with the pictures (that it contained a random selection of BTsets)? Or shall I list the ones actually in that set?
Wow, thanks! Now that I've seen that, I may have to change the label name to ABC Music for Kids or ABC Music, since they've kept those logos into the Universal era, which means that EMI was only the distributor during the first era. I need to go through the CD's again for some other stuff as soon as I get some time.
Hey Ken -- I can't grab the picture because of all the intense watermarking, but check out this. It's a Japanese Polydor single for Sesame Street Fever/Has Anybody Seen My Dog?, but it has a really funky cover (possibly because they show the B-side?). Also it has a price on it, so is not a promo, unlike the other one we have, and it matches the single from the other countries (Norway, UK)...
Guess what? We already have it on the Japanese Sesame Street Discography, and I forgot all about it! (I thought that cover looked familiar!) Anyway, I forgot to fix a couple of things so they show on both pages, but thanks for letting me know about that.
Oh cool! I can probably clean that image up a little bit, although it's sadly fuzzy.
I also noticed this peter pan box set. Despite the title/cover and the 10 records it apparently only has 1 sesame street song. I can't decide whether to include it on the cover singles page or not..... although I'm leaning towards yes as we already have a smaller set on there.
Oh! and that reminds me. I found a couple of images of the golden book/tape sets that are the yellow tape/packaging style sets (like this) for books where we already have the pictoral packaging/blue tape sets (like this). Do you know which came first? If I ever knew I can't remember or find one where we have both already.
The yellow ones are before the blue ones. I keep getting sidetracked, but the book and tape sets are still a huge mess that I have to unravel. First there were the SS BT series of the 7" records (1981-1983), then there were the Fisher-Price tapes that came from the SS titles, then Golden reissued some of those, and also made a whole bunch of new ones, and also made doubles (2 books on 1 tape). Those are all yellow. Then came the blue book and tape sets. Then came the Sony Wonder book and tape sets. You can get a basic idea on the Sesame Street Book and Audio Sets Discography, but a lot is still missing. One of the problems is that if you don't have the packaging, the tape and book only give you the copyright year of the original recording and the book. Only the back of the cardboard has the copyright year of the set itself. I'm still very surprised that so many intact sets are still all over eBay. I wonder where they've been all these years!
On the Peter Pan boxed set, I would put it on the same page with the other version, since the shorter version was taken from the longer version. I kind of also want to include it, because people get confused because they see "SESAME STREET" on these 45's, and they think it's the label name, but they're really Peter Pan items, and the few SS songs that are in the set are taken from the single 45's that are also in that section. I need to rewrite that section, too.
Well that explains why I couldn't find any copyrights that showed which came first among the Golden sets :) . Any rough ideas on the dates of the yellow vs. blue sets? I can just label them 1st edition and 2nd edition I suppose for now.
The original sets still drive me bonkers as I have to go find one that has several editions to remember which graphic is which when I haven't done them in a while. I should make a checklist of those so when I see one I can easily figure out if we need it.
I think some of the still-intact sets were unsold stock (on a guess) and others would be gifts to kids who were too old or not interested.
There are a fair number of new sets also -- the Twin Sisters stuff (are they mostly re-issues of Studio Mouse titles?). Those should really be on the discography also I guess. My daughter has one of those and loves it.
And yes, I agree on the Peter Pan. So in it will go. Silly marketing ploys.
Now if I can just finish my other work before I get too sleepy to put some of this up tonight!
The Golden book and tapes run from about 1984 to 1994, or from the end of SS Records, to the beginning of Sony Wonder. What's interesting is that they were doing the book and tape sets before they started doing music tapes. Sight & Sound was doing them from 1984 to 1990, and then Golden took them over from 1990 to 1994, and then everything moved to Sony Wonder in 1995. I'm not sure at what point they changed from yellow to blue, and reissued some titles. The Golden tapes came right after the Fisher Price era, which was between 1983 and 1984. It happened really fast when they went from Sesame Street (1981-1983), to Fisher Price (1983-1984), to Golden in 1984 or 1985. What's confusing is that a lot of tapes are dated 1983, because they're using the original SS dates, and there were 14 of those. And then the doubles also exist in different pairings. I've got handwritten and typed notes all over the place, plus what we've already got on wiki pages, and it's still confusing.
I didn't know about Twin Sisters CD's! Can you get them in stores? I know B&N has a lot of Disney book and CD's, but I'll have to see what else they have, or what they can order.
I usually see Twin Sisters stuff in places like dollar stores, or the dollar bins at Target. The same places all the reissues of the Little Lost Puppy books showed up (in fact, keeping an eye out for those is how I found the CD set we have). But it looks like some of them are online at B&N and amazon as well.
Wow. Ten years of golden book and tapes. No wonder stuff got reissued in new packaging! I found an unopened set of Big Bird Meets the Orchestra which surprised me -- that series seems much less common. And yes. The whole thing is very confusing. We need to find some way to document it here properly. The discography is great for showing the scope of the book & audio sets (which is waay broader than I expected actually) but doesn't really let you explain that there are 3 versions of the early sets and two golden, etc....
Hooray! I was about to switch (I'd forgotten where the option for that was). I look forward to seeing what you add! (I'm still mining album back cover info on musicians and such; some I found online but some I still have to find the actual albums for.)
Yeah, I eventually want to replace all of the 45's with scans of actual copies (as opposed to pictures from eBay auctions), because some of them are pretty bad. We'll have to find people that can take pictures of LP covers (since they won't fit on a scanner), but I think we're pretty good on the main canon of those, although some promo and foreign copies are pretty bad, too, but they're all we've been able to find. If you want to know what I'm going to work on first, it's all of the SS 45's that are immediately above the CTW 99000 series. Those are all 45 sets, and some of them are unique groupings that have no LP counterpart!
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Hi, Kyle! It's been a really long time. I saw that you had done a bunch of stuff back in May, but I haven't had a whole lot to add lately, since I'm kind of at a dead end right now with records, or at least until The Muppet Movie comes back on CD next week. I was trying to write you an e-mail, but I couldn't think of anything to say. I'll have to look back at some of your old e-mails. It's great to see you again!
I responded to the question. I'm glad you brought it up. I'd accepted the claim before, and it's still not impossible, but I'd also forgotten the widely sourced fact that Will Lee just had no musical ear. In the tribute section from the Old School Vol. 3 DVD booklet, Bob McGrath talks about how "as great an actor as Will was, he was equally terrible as a singer and musician. Other than my father, I think he was about as 'tone deaf' as anyone I knew. The cast often teased him saying 'Hey, Will, when are you going to record Hits from Hooper's Store?" I keep forgetting to incorporate the booklet info into Will Lee's page, by the way. It has great info, including the revelation that he had been one of Fran Brill's acting teachers! I also really wish I or someone had interviewed Jerry Nelson more extensively about him (especially since outside of Fran Brill, he was the Muppeteer with more of an acting background). Nelson's section is brief but he mostly talks about Will Lee's work with the Group Theatre, how "he was a gentle soul but fierce in his sense of ethos and pathos."
So I'm increasingly doubting the claim. Right now, I think the only way we could resolve it is if someone could contact Bob McGrath (or Loretta Long, but Bob may be more accessible; even on talk pages, I usually try not to do too much talking of people's first names, outside of Jim and even then I try to keep it to a minimum, but Bob is Bob, so it feels only right!) At this point I don't think we should go by our assumptions and guesses, but if anyone can recognize if it's Will Lee or not, it would be Bob McGrath.
Oh, waaaaay back you asked me once where my fascination with Will Lee stems. It's hard to say. Obviously he's one of my favorite cast members and the page is one of my proudest research tasks. As a kid, I mostly just knew Mr. Hooper from illustrations in books, and Christmas Eve on Sesame Street but even that didn't air on the El Paso affiliate for many years (it showed up only on cable or the New Mexico station), so I may have been ten or older by the time I first saw it. And he didn't feature that prominently in the albums I had, just part of the chorus, or Big Bird would talk about him. I do vividly remember watching Episode 2073 (I would have been five) so that really put him in perspective (in fact, I assumed the whole point of that episode was both as a continued tribute to both the character and Will Lee, and indeed to help younger viewers who, like Petey, would be thinking "Why is it called Hooper's Store and who was Mr. Hooper?")
But really, it was mostly when I got into college and gradually the early episodes became more accessible, and also as I researched Will Lee the man and actor. The info in Sesame Street Unpaved intrigued me, especially as I was researching the blacklist and vintage play casts and so on. The Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago had the entire first episode (unedited, including "Consider Yourself") available for streaming some years back, and by then I'd seen the Christmas special many times (but the episode was still my best exposure to Mr. Hooper, and Matt Robinson's Gordon). Clips from other episodes showed up on YouTube. So I started to research more, and I soon gradually began finding Will Lee in various older movies, like A Song is Born. I managed to get a copy of Saboteur and yep, no question, the injured plant worker was Will Lee. And so on. It's become one of my favorite games (especially as he almost always had the glasses, but even without them, the face is unmistakable). It's also helped me solidify exactly when the blacklisting seemed to really hit and which projects weren't affected. In many cases, a lot of it came down to the producers; radio soap producers Frank and Anne Hummert ignored HUAC and Red Channels and hired whoever they wanted! You could easily be blackballed by them *personally* if you were late to rehearsal or otherwise crossed them, but they weren't about to let other people dictate to them which talent they could use, and if they liked someone's performance or writing or whatever, they used them. And of course discovering Will Lee was James Earl Jones' teacher, going through books about the Group Theater and Actors' Lab and finding out more about Lee and the blacklisting and everything (and by that point, I had access to both the internet and to Syracuse's library, and Muppet Wiki had started so it gave me a place to share my discoveries and thus even more incentive to dig deeper)... He was a talented and complex person who went through a very difficult period and ultimately played one of TV's best-loved and remembered characters. That we're still talking about him now, and that Sesame Workshop has made its clips available online and via Old School to allow those my age and younger and kids today to discover Will Lee and Mr. Hooper beyond the nice shopkeeper who celebrates Hanukah and gives presents to Ernie and Bert (which still really *is* one of his finest hours)... well, it makes me a little sentimental. I've reached the point where I actively seek out now-rare NY TV shows like Eastside/Westside and so on to try to find Will Lee (and George C. Scott, the writing, and the other New York actors, many of whom were old radio pros, help as well). Just last month, I found Will in Babes on Broadway. Will Lee and Mickey Rooney, together at last! He played an awful lot of waiters, as you can see. No wonder he wound up running a candy store/lunch counter/corner store (I've noticed in the early materials, they usually called it a candy store, sometimes called Mr. Hooper a grocer, now it's really just Hooper's Store and it's everything, and of course the kind of lunch counters with fountain services have vanished by now.)
Well, now that I think of it, he did sing a little on I've Got Two, and it wasn't too bad (I'm thinking of the album version, because I can't remember how different the broadcast version is right now), and I remember he also did a song by himself about what it was like when he was a boy. I can't remember what it was called, but one of the lines had to do with "little boys wearing knickers" or something like that. And I remember they were showing old black and white pictures of a boy from that period, which may or may not have been him. I'll check on it later. Thanks for the essay about Will!