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!
Hello! Just wondering if you've ever heard of Rua Sesamo DVDs? I bought four at a junk store (literally, they're called WasteWise), and they don't seem official (rough texture to the image on the disc, low res covers, a very mechanical menu), but I'm wondering if they're completely fake, or just badly pirated copies.
They're mostly okay transfers of the episodes, a few wobbles, but given that they're from the first season, I doubt better copies exist. The covers have the three production company logos, including CTW, but the photos on the cover are 1980s American shots, not Portuguese production images.
Hi, Nick! I'm not really familiar with non-US video product. I think Andrew might know more about what's been officially released in Latin America (and other Spanish/Portuguese-speaking countries), since he works a lot with the various dubbed versions of Sesame Street. I'm sure he can find out if these are real, or he'll know who to ask. I hope that helps!
I still haven't had time to really research the matter. I saw one shot that seemed to include characters from the co-production in Spain, so that puzzles me (as seen here). On the whole though, it's widespread enough that if it *is* bootleg, it's certainly not a private person or smallscale thing. Since the most recent confirmed series airing in Portugal was a dub of Play With Me Sesame, I'm a bit uncertain, and really we need either an actual copy or a better scan of the packaging. If the content wasn't actual episodes of the short-lived series but instead dubbed skits, I'd actually be *more* inclined to believe it. That said, we know some of the international areas become odd anyway, especially if your version is a copy rather than the original item. So I'm leaning towards most likely authentic but basically inconclusive without a company label (all I can make out is their little crown logo) or other specific text info or dates to research.
Hi, Ken! I'm moving the Sandbox pages, and Wikia's getting a software error for this one, so I'm copying the code here since you started the page. If you can find a way to work it into an existing article, please do. Or, you can move it to your user page for now. Or forget about it since it hasn't been edited in three years anyway and never left the sandbox.
Well, it looks like there were several attempts to make a Muppet "brand" of recordings similar to Sesame Street Records, but I haven't been able to find every title. I think some other members have started similar series for video. I think if I can put them into a gallery, we can make a page about the various Muppet records and tapes that came out under a unique logo.
I was at our co-production's offices the other day, saw a couple of new CDs laying around and figured you might be interested. Even if their Amazon listing tells me they're just audio books of new stories, read by Carsten Morar-Haffke and Martin Paas, and not any music CDs.
Another new product is this friendship book (popular here among pre-schoolers and elementary school kids to pass around and fill out for each other), but of course there's no songs on/in this either! ;)
Hey, audio books are always welcome, too! We haven't had US book and record sets since 1983, and I think the last book and tape set came out around 1999 when a bunch of stuff came out on Sony Wonder.
Now I need you to sneak into the vaults, because I still think there were other recordings in Germany between 1976 and 1994. As popular as the show was, I can't believe they didn't make any albums for 18 years!
Seriously, thanks for letting me know about these. I'll start the pages, but can you help me? Are these book and CD sets? I can't tell what's on them, but it looks like they're over an hour long! Figuring out who the voices are would be great, too! Also the label and catalog number.
They're merely CDs, no books are involved. Each is about an hour in length, with a good number (how many I don't know) of short stories read by (and only by) Morar-Haffke and Paas, respectively for each of the releases. (There are samples you can listen to under the small "Reinhören" button!)
What's absolutely odd is that they're resurrecting Tiffy for this, through new short stories. A classic character missed by many fans, sure... but they retired her eight years ago!
So wait, I'm confused. At least in the US, if a record says "read by", it's referring to a book that comes with it. Otherwise, it would say "told by", because you're listening to them tell a story. So what are they reading? Do the stories exist as separate books? We have some Dutch CD's that are collections of 6 book and tape sets that were previously released separately, and we also cross-reference those where they're translations of US books.
It's possible, but I don't think that these stories are based on old storybooks. Seems to me that "read by" simply suggests that there's a script that is read by these particular folks, but written by others. I'd let you know if I should find out more.
Hmmm. If there's no book, I'll put them in Sesamstrasse Albums, not International Book and Audio, since those have to include an actual book. I guess Amazon calls them "audiobooks" because they're spoken word, and not music.
Hey, one more question. Do the hyphens in the titles mean anything? They weren't on the older CD's. I'm making pages for them with hyphens, since we usually go by the exact title as it appears on the cover, but I was wondering what they mean.
The hyphens merely mean that the producers of this product chose to combine these words in that very way to form those title(s)! ;)
Seriously though, the way we usually form combination words in German is to just add on to words without a space or a hyphen, potentially allowing for insanely long words (Dampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftsraddampferkapitänskajütentürsicherheitsschlüssel). To make things easier for the reader, especially the young ones in this case I presume, we're given the option of hyphenation. So, instead of having a young reader struggle with Gutenachtgeschichten (goodnightstories), they provide the easier-to-dissect spelling Gute-Nacht-Geschichten (good-night-stories).
...which is funny, as they're actually, potentially indicating that their nighttime stories are in fact good. Which, I hope they are.
Wow, and we've always been taught that "Antidisestablishmentarianism" is one of the longest words in English, not counting things like chemical names. But I guess you have us beat. Plus, your word has 4 umlauts!
Yeah, that's a Japanese 12" single promo of the Sesame Street Fever song, backed with Trash. I can't make out some of the label, but I can clearly see there's one song per side, with composer information underneath. I'm surprised that they got this, because it seems like everybody else got C is for Cookie, unless there are more out there. The cool thing is that we now have the LP and cassette numbers! Does Chris read Japanese? I'd love to read all of the back cover!
Hey Ken! Do we have either this or this cassette pack noted anywhere? The first one is especially neat (to my way of thinking) and rather like one of the older LP multi-record repackagings that we do cover.
No, I'm fine. I had some other windows open when I saw your posts, so I wrote back a short note so I wouldn't forget. I've been looking through tape stuff, and that's how I ran into the Open Sesame stuff. And multiple posts don't bother me. You hadn't posted in the long time, and record stuff in general was quiet.
Oh yeah, take a look at this! A 12" single promo from Canada, and I'm thinking it matches the white label 45 we already have, so I guess they pressed this one in both formats!
Ok :) I'm glad to hear it. Everyone in my house keeps getting colds (hence the lack of free time for wikis on my part) so I rather assume the worst at this point when people are a bit quiet.
Where's the white label 45? I just see the yellow American one (79006). Actually... so that would belong on the international singles page, right? Pity it doesn't show the A-side. I would have thought it would be the Canadian counterpart of the 12-inch single (CTW-747) we already have for that album.