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Elmo: pre Kevin Clash

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by Cookie fan, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. Cookie fan New Member

    I can only think of 3 occasions where you can hear his then raspy, smoky voice in some classic sketches:
    1. "Me Claudius" from Monsterpiece Theater
    2. The song "We are all Monsters"- the original, I say original because the DVD "Monster Hits" has Elmo singing with his present squeaky voice.
    3. There was once a sketch featuring Betty Lou (?) with some monsters in a parade going opposite directions; the most irritating part in that clip was hearing Betty saying:" Wait a minute, wait a minute,wait a munite". But those were the days nevertheless.:)
  2. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I wonder when Elmo became Elmo. A lot of people say that he wasn't named Elmo for awhile. But I have gathered some clues and such...

    Caroll Spinney says that he was orignally Baby Monster in either the first or third season, and was soon put in storage for many years. Then, when somebody had an idea for a character named Elmo, the Baby Monster puppet was just taken out of storage. I guess that might prove that Elmo was always intended to be called Elmo, though Spinney could be wrong.

    In Spinneys book, he gave an example of how Elmo talked when he was performed by Brian Meuhl, saying that Elmo talked really fast and repeated words, such as "Play! Play! Elmo wants to play!" That would prove that he was meant to be called Elmo, but he also could have just used that as an example.

    However, in the book The Sesame Street Circus of Opposites, from either 1981 or 1982, Elmo made a cameo appearance and was referred to by name. This book was released before Brian Meuhl stopped performing on Sesame Street, so Elmo must have been given a name before Brian Meuhl left.

    Finally, though Carol Spinney says that somebody had an idea for a character named Elmo, I've seen a press release regarding Elmo in Grouchland, which stated that Elmo was created just because there was not any red monsters on the show.
  3. PiLfan Member


    I don't recall ever seeing the third one, but another sketch had the early Elmo with the same three monsters from "We are all monsters" doing a skit about Near and Far (which was on youtube for a while, but has since been removed). That elmo sounded the same way he did on the "we are all monsters" song.
  4. SesameStreetFan New Member

    Elmo was used for a street story, once in a while in the early 80's. I believe he first appeared in 1979, voiced by Brian Meehl. When Brian Meehl left Sesame Street in 1984, Richard Hunt only performed him for a brief time and I think by the end of the 1984-1985 Season Kevin Clash had already taken him over, and that's when he became the most popular. Kevin Clash sort of brought the charachter to life so to speak. Elmo is similar to the charachter Benny Rabbit. Although Benny Rabbit first appeared in the 1989-1990 Season, he didn't become popular until the 1993-1994 Season when he became a bellhop for the furry arms Hotel. Benny was only used a handful of times from 1989-1993, which is the same case with Elmo from 1979-1984.
  5. Kimp the Shrimp Active Member

    i recall them all
  6. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I've seen a picture of that sketch, and since it has the same characters and setting, I wouldn't be surprised if both songs were taped on the same day. I don't know if the voices are the same, but the audio would have been recorded earlier.
  7. D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Here's what I understand about the subject:

    According to the Sesame Street merchandise (like beanies), "Elmo" first appeared on Sesame Street in 1985. From what I understand from the Sesame Street Biography, Harry Smith mentioned that "at that time, another Muppeteer, Richard Hunt, was Elmo". Kevin Clash said Richard didn't like performing Elmo because of the "complaints" he got for his performance, and that Richard just tossed Elmo to him, asked him to do a voice, he did the falsceto voice we know and uh...know today, Richard took Kevin to the producers wanting him to take over Elmo, he became Elmo. I know Caroll Spinney mentioned in his book about Brian Muehl performing Elmo; but I'm not sure if he meant the character Elmo, or just the Elmo puppet in generally.
  8. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I wonder if Kevin Clash is aware that Brian Muehl performed Elmo before Richard Hunt did. The A&E Biography doesn't acknowledge the fact that Brian Muehl once performed Elmo, and in the clip shown of Elmo when the biography mentioned that Richard Hunt previously performed Elmo, it obviously wasn't Richard Hunt performing Elmo. Hunt was performing another monster in that same scene, one who didn't have a consistent performer, so it would be pointless for Hunt to either dub the voice of a character he didn't normally perform or dub Elmo's voice so that he could perform a character he did not regularly perform. Also, in that scene, Elmo sounded nothing like a Richard Hunt character. I think Elmo did sound like the X from the Mystery Guest sketch, and that X was performed by Brian Muehl.

    I just hope that the producers of A&E knew to give Brian Muehl his proper residuals.
  9. Cookie fan New Member

    Sorta looks like him

    Come to think about it, check this pic of Baby monster with another muppet named Scudge and to some degree it looks a bit like Elmo. What do you think?
    http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Scudge
  10. LincolnHeights New Member

    I do remember Richard Hunt's Elmo. I think he was only around for one Season. But it was during the 1984-1985 Season. I remember he didn't have much of a personality back then, and sounded a lot different than he does now. He seemed rather dull until Kevin Clash took over, so it was probably a good thing Richard gave Kevin the role. I do think Richard Hunt was an awsome muppeteer and had some terrific charachters like Gladys, Don Music, and Forgetful Jones. Elmo just wasn't Richard's "type" so to speak.
  11. Daffyfan2003 Active Member

    I thought there was a bit of a difference there. In the "Near, Far" skit, I thought Elmo sounded a bit like Herry, while in "We are all Monsters," it sounded more like a generic Jerry Nelson voice. I wish the "Near, Far" one was still up so I could listen to both and make a better comparison.
  12. Daffyfan2003 Active Member

    I don't know. I think that Baby Monster looks more like Cookie Monster than Elmo, wasn't there a red 'Baby Monster?'
  13. heralde Well-Known Member

    I don't think Richard was getting complaints about his performance, as was mentioned earlier in the thread. There is a quote somewhere where he was supposed to have said, "I'm sick of the calls I"m getting performing this character." I think that means he was sick of getting called to the set just to do the character he didn't like doing.
  14. PiLfan Member


    perhaps, but there's narry a pic or clip of the early elmo/baby monster that i'm aware of....we only know of its existence via Spinney, who wrote that he performed the muppet for a couple of years in the early 70s (1971-73 time frame). after 72 or 73, the elmo/baby monster muppet was put in storage until someone dug it out in 1979 to use as a random anything muppet...whether the muppet was referred to as "elmo" at this point is unclear. it may not have been given that name until it started getting used more often, circa 1984 with Richard Hunt, and then of course Clash took over a year later and the rest is history.

    the purple baby monster in the photo was of the original muppet to bear that name...it had a horn, one tooth, and no nose...the only thing it had in resemblance to elmo was that it was small. the purple monster was on sesame street for only the first season, with others like Scudge and fred the dragon who were more famous for having appeared on the ed sullivan show in 67/68. by 1970 the show had moved on to more familiar characters and kid-friendly muppets.
  15. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    It is weird that none of us even remember Baby Monster, and if he was in existance then I wonder why he wasn't in The Muppet Movie finale (unless we haven't spotted him). There is a page at Muppet Wiki for an episode that mentions Baby Monster (which comes from text used in a Sesame Street Parents Magazine article, which mentioned upcomming episodes). Kevin Clahs mentioned in his autobiography that Elmo was also called Baby Monster, though the way he writes it it sounds as if the names Baby Monster and Elmo were both being used for the same character at the same time. But Elmo was named in 1981. Just check out the book The Sesame Street Circus of Opposites, from 1981.
  16. LincolnHeights New Member

    It's funny how there's some charachters that we never got to see, simply because we weren't born yet at the time they were on, and they weren't in any of the 67 Noggin episodes. Here are some examples

    The original Elmo (Baby Monster) or The monster Family in General that Carroll Spinney mentioned that was on in Seasons 2 and 3.

    Poco Loco a Parrot that was on from the early 70's to early 80's

    Deena Monster and Pearl, a Female version of Ernie and Bert who were on for one season (1980-1981) although Deena was seen in a still shot, holding up the CTW sign in episode #1563. You can see Deena and Pearl here

    Proffesor Hastings, who I think was only on during the first Season, was never seen on any of the 67 Unpaved episodes.
  17. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I've heard that Bruno and Don Music weren't shown in any Sesame Street Unpaved episodes, either.

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