Rubber Duckie is Ernie's toy duck and most treasured possession. Ernie has expressed his fondness for his duckie in several songs, most famously "Rubber Duckie", but the duck has also figured in "Put Down the Duckie," "D-U-C-K-I-E," "Do De Rubber Duck", and "The Honker-Duckie-Dinger Jamboree". In Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, Ernie trades Rubber Duckie to Mr. Hooper in order to get a present for Bert for Christmas.
In storybooks, Rubber Duckie is sometimes pictured as being more of a pet than a toy; he often has eyes that seem to focus, as if he were more-or-less alive. For example, in the 2002 book Look and Find Elmo, Rubber Duckie is visited by dozens of his "duckie friends", who play with him in Ernie's bathtub. His friends include Grubby Duckie, Lucky Duckie and Duckleberry Swim. Rubber Duckie's anthropomorphization goes as far back as 1977, when Joe Mathieu drew him in a state of fear in The Sesame Street Mix or Match Storybook.
A Rubber Duck is, as you might have guessed, a toy made out of rubber in the shape of a duck. It would bob happily atop the water in which you bathed, staring at you with happy eyes.
Though known to many as Ernie's toy on Sesame Street, the rubber duckie existed as early as the 1920s. These days, rubber ducks are actually made out of a thick vinyl, as it is cheaper and more durable than rubber. Most come with a nozzle (usually at the bottom) so that if you squeeze the duck, it will squeak a happy noise at you.
Ernie's Rubber Duckie was originally an actual squeak toy (manufactured by Alan Jay Clarolyte) that Jim Henson purchased in 1969. Because this specific rubber duckie design has long been obsolete, prop-makers have refurbished the duck in succeeding years, creating a rubber mold around the original toy and painting over it. The rubber ducks used nowadays do not actually squeak. A helper off-camera makes the squeak noises.
Other Rubber Duckies
Ernie is not the only Muppet to have a Rubber Duckie. In Sesame Street, Special, it's revealed that Hoots the Owl has a Rubber Duckie of his own. In Where's Beaker?, it's revealed that Dr. Bunsen Honeydew has a Rubber Duckie. A special Rubber Duckie with invisibility spray was used by Fozzie Bear in Muppets from Space. However, as Bert said in Episode 0406, he doesn't have a rubber duckie, and doesn't want one. However, in the song "I Gotta Be Clean", Bert actually has a Rubber Pigeon.
The Pajanimals have at least three of them. Two of them can be seen sitting in the windowsill above their bathtub in the song "Stick to the Plan" and in the "Bathtime Boogie" song in the full series. A third sits inside a toy boat on the edge of the bathtub.
- The original Rubber Duckie, in blue, was used in a promotional shot for The Muppets together with Beauregard.
- The Sesame Street Storybook (1971)
- More Sesame Street Finger Puppets (1972)
- The Sesame Street 1, 2, 3 Storybook (1973)
- Bert's Big Band Paint-with-Water Book (1976)
- The Sesame Street Postcard Book (1976)
- Ernie and Bert's Counting Book (1977)
- The Sesame Street Mix or Match Storybook (1977)
- The Sesame Street Cookbook (1978)
- The Sesame Street Bedtime Storybook (1978)
- The Case of the Missing Duckie (1980)
- Early Bird on Sesame Street (1980)
- I Can Do It Myself (1980)
- The Sesame Street Dictionary (1980)
- A Day in the Life of Oscar the Grouch (1981)
- Prairie Dawn's Upside-Down Poem (1981)
- Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (1981)
- Ernie's Bath Book (1982)
- First Day of School (1982)
- One Rubber Duckie (1982)
- Puppy Love (1983)
- The Sesame Street Word Book (1983)
- A Baby Sister for Herry (1984)
- Grover's Book of Colors (1985)
- Baby Animals on the Farm (1986)
- Sesame Street ABC (1986)
- Through the Year (1986)
- A Rainy Day on Sesame Street (1987)
- Shape Up! (1987)
- A New Playground on Sesame Street (1988)
- Happy Mother's Day! (1989)
- Museum of Monster Art (1990)
- My Name is Ernie (1991)
- Mini-Boxes to Color & Share (1992)
- Elmo's Big Lift-and-Look Book (1994)
- Rubber Duckies Don't Say Quack (1994)
- Elmo's Lift-and-Peek Around the Corner Book (1996)
- Where's the Duckie? (1996)
- Elmo Loves You! (1997)
- Tubby Time for Little Ernie (1998)
- 123 Sesame Street (2001)
- Look and Find Elmo (2002)
- Friends All Day (2002)
- Elmo Good Night Stories (2006)
- Elmo's Piano (2007)
- Elmo's World Super Sticker Book (2007)
- Friendly, Frosty Monsters (2007)
- Music Player Storybook (2007)
- Sesame Street Super Sticker Book (2007)
- Elmo's Christmas Countdown (2008)
- Lovies (2008)
- Yucchy! Yucchy! (2008)
- Big Bird's Tree-Trimming Party (2008)
- Love, Elmo (2009)