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Teeny Little Super Guy

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Performer:
TeenySuperGuy
Design Team:
Paul Fierlinger • (designer)

Teeny Little Super Guy appeared in animated segments created by Paul Fierlinger for Sesame Street, beginning in Season 15.[1] Though ostensibly a superhero, Teeny Little Super Guy was actually more of a practical problem solver. Writer Jim Thurman provided the character's gravelly voice, and scripted the segments. The segments were distinguished by Fierlinger's unique animation method, wrapping cels around transparent plastic cups, so that a movement cycle could be achieved by simple rotation of the cups. This also allowed Fierlinger to use a kitchen counter and assorted dishes and kitchenware as props, inside his own kitchen. Some segments featured flashbacks to Teeny Little Super Guy's childhood. Reruns of these segments carried on until 2001.

The first Teeny Little Super Guy cartoon took two months to create. Fierlinger spoke at length about the character and production process in a 2005 Livejournal post. He initially pitched the idea to producer Dave Connell.

It was his [Connell's] idea that the character be a super hero, which made me hate him for that for about a week. I couldn’t understand people who couldn’t come up with anything more original for an animated character than yet another super guy. But Jim Thurman started playing him down and I dropped my resentments. We all followed Sesame Street’s curriculum of topics and I was given a contract to develop the series. I had a couple of months to create the hundreds of cups that were needed to play out any possible scenario and create the sound tracks.[2]

A total of 13 segments were produced. The theme song and background score were composed by Larry Gold, with lyrics by Stuart Horn. Essra Mohawk sang the vocals, recorded to create the illusion of four-part harmony.[2]

Teeny Little Super Guy later appeared in a cameo during Episode 4196, as one of the seven items Luis manages to extract from Leela's troubled washing machine. Luis, Leela and Elmo give a rather befuddled look, indicating that they're surprised to see the famous character after so many years.

Segments

Picture Theme / EKA Description
TLSG.Swing
Sharing a Swing
Episode 2363
Two boys are fighting over a swing. Teeny Little Super Guy shows them how to share.
TLSG.Alice
Baseball[3]
Episode 2481
Teeny Little Super Guy notices that his friend Alice wants to join a baseball game. He encourages her to go over there and ask them whether she can play.


Video: Old School: Volume 3, Online: Sesamestreet.org (SSvideo)

TLSG.sleep
The Importance of Sleep
Episode 2613
Teeny Little Super Guy shows his friend Harry the importance of sleep.


Online: Sesamestreet.org (SSvideo)

Superguy school
School
Episode 2621
Teeny Little Super Guy reminisces to his friend Eugene, who starts kindergarten tomorrow, about his own first day at school.


Video: Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days, Online: Sesamestreet.org (SSvideo)

Superguy beaters
Egg Beater
Episode 2628
Teeny Little Super Guy finds his friend Janey giving up on learning how to ride an eggbeater (as one would ride a bicycle) because she keeps falling off. Teeny Little Superguy tells her that it takes practice to be good at something and gives her a set of training beaters to help keep her balance.


Online: Sesamestreet.org (SSvideo)

Superguy pet
Pet Spoon
Episode 2640
R.W. Shipshape wants a pet spoon, so Teeny Little Super Guy teaches him the importance of being responsible with a pet.


Online:Sesamestreet.org (SSvideo)

TLSG.Danger
Safety and Danger
Episode 2675
Teeny Little Super Guy talks about the time he learned the importance of safety.
TLSG.Reallygoodhat
Redhat[4]
Episode 2755
R.W. Shipshape gets a "really good hat" for his birthday, and it blows into the street. R.W. remembers not to cross the street without an adult; Teeny Little Superguy helps him across.
Note: The pet spoon that appears in this cartoon is given the name "Arthur J. Cronk", a reference to a character from The Electric Company.


Online: Sesamestreet.org (SSvideo)

HiddenGem4196
Grouch Messing Machine
Episode 4196
During the street story, Luis pulls the Teeny Little Super Guy out of the broken washing machine.

Credits

TeenyDisplayCase

Teeny Little Superguy as part of the display at the Brooklyn Public Library

Sources

  1. CTW Archives, Season 15 presskit.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Paul Fierlinger. Teeny Little Super Guy Livejournal community comment. April 11, 2005
  3. Ottawa International Animal Festival program. 1986
  4. Ottawa International Animal Festival program. 1986

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