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Lefty the Salesman

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by mikealan, Nov 1, 2002.

  1. mikealan

    mikealan New Member

    Hi, fans. Does any of you love the shafty Muppet salesman wearing a trenchcoat? I remember him as a baby as he sang "Would You Like To Buy An O?" as he sells the O to Ernie and I also remember the skit I saw on the video "Play Along Games And Songs" where he sells Ernie the four elephants picture. Now when I was a teen, I defiantely loved the preview of the "U" one where he spoke in a very low Big Bird voice on the A&E Biography special and this preview goes like this:

    (The scene is grayish-green. The "U" is made by rope.)

    LEFTY: See this U?
    ERNIE: Is this U right here?
    LEFTY: SHHHH! We've had this U in my family for years...
    ERNIE: Oh yeah?
    LEFTY: But today I'm sorry to say--I'm gonna have to send it to you.
    ERNIE: To me? Wow!

    That's all I saw. I wish I can see the whole sketch.
    And I never saw the early skit where he sells an "8" to Ernie from the first season...I just saw the pics of it a few years ago on Noggin's Best Choice Awards, but then it's gone.
    Do you guys have a video clip or an MP3 of the skits with Lefty the Salesman? Please let me know!
  2. Mumu Talpaz

    Mumu Talpaz New Member

    I agree that Lefty rules.

    If I remember correctly, according to the SS Unpaved book, the U ends up getting bent, and Lefty tries to sell it as a V.
  3. Ermi

    Ermi New Member

    I'm looking for a picture of Lefty!!!
    It would be great if you could help me!!
  4. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Aw yes, good ol Lefty...teaching kids all about the fun of seeling illegal contraband like vowels and other banned merchandise^_^
    Speaking of merch, theres actually a lefty PVC that was made...not sure what other Lefty stuff was made. Sadly hes been relegated to the broom closet limbo of Forgetful Jones, Harvey Kneeslapper, and Bad Andy^_^
  5. Thijs

    Thijs Member

    Our site is missing a good Lefty picture too. Let us know if somebody has a good pic of him.
  6. Censored

    Censored Well-Known Member

    Look closely at that four elephant picture skit. Lefty loses his ears!
  7. Secret Squirrel

    Secret Squirrel New Member

    Beaker. "Aw yes, good ol Lefty...teaching kids all about the fun of seeling illegal contraband like vowels and other banned merchandise."

    You may have been joking, but you've hit the nail on the head. Lefty was phased out - rightly, I think - because the image of a suspicious stranger selling things to kids does not sit well with an educational children's show.

    I'm sure Eric Jacobson can do an excellent Lefty, but that's one character who will remain in the broom closet.

    secret squirrel
  8. Censored

    Censored Well-Known Member

    I think some people may have missed the point about Lefty The Salesman. Sesame Street was based on an urban setting so they had a character selling merchandise on the corner. Perhaps it was implied that the goods were stolen, but that was it. It wasn't supposed to be about drugs or sex. That's adult imaginations running amuck.

    In almost every skit, Lefty got the worst of it either by being outsmarted by Ernie or failing on his own. He was once even arrested. The only time I recall his coming out with a semi-victory was when he sold Ernie the elephant painting (and even then the poor fool lost his ears).

    As a very young child I watched him and realized that he was "a crook", but I never thought of him as someone to emulate or consider a hero. He was just a funny loser who always messed up.

    I don't think the original producers, writers, and educators of Sesame Street were incompetent, uncaring, or unaware. I think they were just able to keep things in the right perspective. I think we have a tendency to overanalyze everything these days and see a demon under every playpen.

    Anyway, that's how I see it.
  9. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    rememebr when he tried to sell Ernie air? he calls Bert because he's excited about this and drops his air and become emotional about it. Bert says well something like what did you loose? it couldn't of just disappeared into thin air. Ernie says it could of Bert! it could of!
  10. fatblue

    fatblue New Member


    Those were always my favorite skits! Especially if Ernie talked too loud, Lefty would give him a stern "SHHHH!!!!'

    The one with the number '8' is hilarious! Listen to Ernie's response as Lefty keeps shh'ing him, remember?

    Lefty "If you forget what time you eat breakfast in the morning.." (opens his coat with the 8 in it)

    Ernie (loudly) "AHA! I eat breakfast at 8!!"

    Lefty "SHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    Ernie "KWW KWWW KKWW!!!"

    Or something to that sound he made. FUNNY!!!
  11. ceecee

    ceecee Member

    I like how Lefty sold stuff (maybe just in one skit) for a nickel.

    Lefty: "And it only costs a nickel."
    Ernie: "A nickel?!"
    Lefty: "Shhh!"
    Ernie (whispering): "A nickel?"
    Lefty: Riiiiiiight.

    I find myself saying that part whenever I see a nickel, etc.
  12. Ziffel

    Ziffel Active Member

    Remember this Lefty the Salesman skit?

    I also loved the skits with Lefty trying to sell things to Ernie. The invisible ice cream cone was HILARIOUS! (Lefty: How'd you like to buy an invisible ice cream cone?" Ernie: I don't see any invisible ice cream cone.") (And of course Ernie fretting to Bert about losing his air that he just bought and Bert just looking stupefied not knowing what in the world Ernie was talking about!)
    But one 70's skit that I only recall seeing once and never heard anyone else mention is the one where Lefty wants to sell Ernie an empty box. He says it would be useful to catch jellybeans in case they should happen to fall from the sky. Ernie is convinced but when reaching for his nickel , realizes he doesn't have any money on him. The salesman walks away disgusted that he wasted his time. Ernie sits there upset , but then Bert comes along and says, " Hey Ernie! Look what I got. A whole box full of cookies!" Ernie says ," Oh Wow!" and grabs the box and then dumbs all the cookies over the wall! Now he will be able to catch the jellybeans when they fly from the sky! Bert , once again, just stands there stupefied!
    Anyone remember that skit?
  13. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    oh definitly! never saw it all that much and forgot exactly what happened that got Lefty upset but remember Bert and when Ernie dumped the box of cookies on the ground. couln't even eat the cookies 1st and then use the box for jellybeans.
  14. JaniceFerSure

    JaniceFerSure Active Member

    Ernie & Lefty

    The Salesman: Hey, bud.

    Ernie: Who me?

    The Salesman: SHHHHHH!

    Ernie: (whispering) Who me?

    The Salesman: Riiiiiiiight!
    How would you like to buy an "O"?
    Round and neat
    A nearly perfect circle
    Tidy and complete
    You can sing a pretty song
    With it like so:
    O! O! O!
    Isn't that catchy?

    Ernie: Ah!

    The Salesman: Would you like to buy an "O"?
    Circular and sweet
    "O" looks just like a donut
    Really good enough to eat
    It'll cost you just a nickel

    Ernie: A nickel?

    The Salesman: SHHHHHH!

    Ernie: (whispering) A nickel?

    The Salesman: Riiiiiiiight!
    So buy the "O" and take it home tonight.
    Now listen. When you buy this "O", you get two sounds for the price of one.
    You get one sound that you can use for words like "olive," "ostrich," and "ox."
    And for no extra money, you get another sound for like "ocean," "over," "old," and "opening."

    So would you like to buy an "O"?
    I'm opening the door
    It's not often that I offer
    Well, could you ask for more?
    It'll cost you just a nickel

    Ernie: A nickel?

    The Salesman: SHHHHHH!

    Ernie: (whispering) A nickel?

    The Salesman: Riiiiiiiight!
    So buy the "O" and take it home tonight.
    Don't ask any questions.
    Just buy the "O" and take it home tonight.
    You'll really love it.
    So buy the "O" and take it home tonight.


    Ernie: Hey there, Mr. Ice Cream Cone Man!

    Ice Cream Man: Huh?

    Ernie: Hey, I wanna ice cream cone!

    Ice Cream Man: Okay, just a minute.

    (As the man gets out of the truck from behind the cutout, Ernie speaks to the camera.)

    Ernie: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, I've been thinking of a very special ice cream cone which I am going to order right now. (patented Ernie Laugh) (the man now stands next to him) Hey, Mr. Ice Cream Cone Man, I want a very special ice cream cone, can you make it up for me? (the man makes an agreeable noise) Okay, here comes the flavour. Now, I would like one (as he recites each flavour, Ernie ticks them off on his fingers ... he has to use a few of them more than once as he only has four!) chocolate-strawberry-peach-vanilla-banana-pastachio-peppermint-lemon-orange-butterscotch ice cream cone.

    Ice Cream Man: What did you say?

    Ernie: I said, I want a chocolate-strawberry-peach-vanilla-banana-pastachio-peppermint-lemon-orange-butterscotch ice cream cone.

    Ice Cream Man: You mean you want a chocolate-strawberry-peach-vanilla-banana-pastachio-peppermint-lemon-orange-butterscotch ice cream cone?

    Ernie: Yup!

    Ice Cream Man: Okay, I'll be right back.

    (The camera moves in on Ernie and the man disappears offscreen. Ernie rubs his hands in anticipation.)

    Ernie: Oh boy, I can hardly wait! Hardly wait for my chocolate-strawberry-peach-vanilla-banana-pastachio-peppermint-lemon-orange-butterscotch ice cream cone!

    (The man reappears carrying a cone piled high with different colored ice cream scoops.)

    Ice Cream Man: Ha! You didn't think I'd remember that you wanted a chocolate-strawberry-peach- vanilla-banana-pastachio-peppermint-lemon-orange-butterscotch cone, did ya? But I did!

    (As the man recites the flavours, Ernie ticks off each one starting at the bottom of the cone, then begins to scratch his head.)

    Ernie: Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Listen, you brought me an ice cream cone all right, but you brought me a butterscotch-orange-lemon-peppermint-pastachio-banana-vanilla-peach-strawberry-chocolate cone! And I didn't ask you for that, I asked you for a chocolate-strawberry-peach-vanilla-banana-pastachio-peppermint-lemon-orange-butterscotch cone!

    Ice Cream Man: (starts to wrinkle his face in disgust) You mean ...

    Ernie: I mean you put the chocolate on the bottom and the butterscotch on the top and I wanted the butterscotch on the bottom and the chocolate on the top! You made my ice cream cone upside down!

    Ice Cream Man: Come on now, it really doesn't matter if you have a chocolate-strawberry-peach-vanilla-banana-pastachio-peppermint-lemon-orange-butterscotch ice cream cone or a butterscotch-orange-lemon-peppermint-pastachio-banana-vanilla-peach-strawberry-chocolate cone!

    Ernie: Doesn't matter? Why, of course it matters. It matters very much that you put the top on the bottom and the bottom on the top! Why, what makes you think that it doesn't matter?!

    Ice Cream Man: All right, I'll tell you what, if you wanted the cone to be a chocolate-strawberry-peach-vanilla-banana-pastachio-peppermint-lemon-orange-butterscotch and I made it instead into a butterscotch-orange-lemon-peppermint-pastachio-banana-vanilla-peach-strawberry-chocolate cone, it's very easy to fix.

    Ernie: Hmm ... well, how is it easy to fix when you put the chocolate on the bottom, down here, and I wanted it on the top, up here?!

    Ice Cream Man: Simple, just eat the same cone standing on your head!

    (Ernie looks surprised and shocked as his hand flies up to his mouth.)
  15. Dantecat

    Dantecat Active Member


    (1)What year was that skit?

    (2)Where did it take place at?

    (3)How is it?

    (4)If ending music is on there,How does it go?
    4 questions please. ;)
  16. Dantecat

    Dantecat Active Member

    I'm talking about the ice cream skit one.
  17. JaniceFerSure

    JaniceFerSure Active Member

    Don't know Dante,sorry.Somebody else could prob. answer the questions.I got the lyrics from SSLA.
  18. Ziffel

    Ziffel Active Member

    That was a another great Lefty and Ernie one. One line in this one that Lefty says is, "And if you want to know how many reindeer Santa Claus has (I think Lefty pronounced it "Santy") you look at the eight." Then Ernie says, "Eight reindeer!" Then, of course the SHHH!!!!!!!! When I was little this puzzled me because I said, "No, he has 9 reindeer. What about Rudolph?" But Rudolph the red nosed reindeer was a later addition wasn't he? I remember also in the early seventies I got a "Twas the Night before Christmas" for my viewmaster (anyone remember those? :) ) and they also just mentioned Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen.
    Does anyone remember if Ernie ended up purchasing the number 8? Most of the time the Salesman wasn't successful. I only recall Ernie buying the air from the bottle and the picture of the four elephants. He wanted to buy the empty box but didn't have any money on him.
    Also, anyone remember a skit with Lefty and Ernie where Lefty holds up an R and says, "R" and then Ernie counters with a P and says, "P". They keep going back and forth with Lefty agitatedly saying, "R" and Ernie calmly saying , "P". But I don't believe Lefty snuck up on Ernie with his usual "Dum dum dumdumdumdumdumdumdum" and "Hey Bud." I don't think he had offered to sell the R to Ernie. But I don't remember how it concludes.
    Finally, speaking of Rudolph, here's a joke that I've told over the years that you may have heard before:
    An explorer, Rudolph the Red, was about to go on a big expedition. But as he was going out the door he looked at the sky and changed his mind. He told his wife he better wait because it looks like a big rain storm is about to hit. She took a look and didn't get that impression. She asked him, "You really think it's gonna rain?" He says, "Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear."
  19. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Active Member

    My first encounter with Lefty was on a SS audio tape not too long ago (the one I had found in my closet, there's a thread about it somewhere) and he just sounds so SHIFTY... :D It made me laugh alot. I have yet to actually SEE him in a skit though, I've only heard him, and seen maybe one picture.
  20. SesameMike

    SesameMike Member

    He did not buy the 8, because Ernie was tapped out by a previous salesman.

    "I met this man selling nines, you see. So I bought his whole selection."

    Ernie then holds up a conglomeration (magnetized?) of a whole bunch of number 9's. Ernie explains that they can be useful if you wanna know how many players are on a baseball team. Or if you want to know (and I quote) "...what day of the month, the ninth of August comes on."

    Lefty, ruefully realizing that another salesman got to this sucker first, starts slowly walking away toward the background. But Ernie follows and keeps talking enthusiastically, trying to barter with Lefty for an 8 or two. I only remember Ernie's line "I'll throw in a 2 and a 4. And two 3's." Hmmm, where did Ernie get this other inventory of numerals?

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