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Noticeable Changes to the set over the years

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by SwedishChefCook, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. SwedishChefCook

    SwedishChefCook New Member

    1970: The Arbor area is created with a Garage Door and Tire Swing. There is now a Briefcase by Oscar's Trashcan and not a box. Big Bird now has his own Nest and his Nest Area which is full of colored barrells.

    1973: The set has a somewhat different look to it. It looks a little more colorful now.

    1974: Oscar seems to take on a newer look. He looses that Bright Toxic Green color and that puffy look and his fur becomes more madded down and slightly darker. Also there is now a Brown Box by Oscar's can instead of a briefcase.

    1978: The Briefcase by Oscar's can comes back.

    1979: The Briefcase by Oscar's can disapears once again and the Brown Box used from 1974-1978 is back and this time to stay. The New Fix it Shop is built.

    Ironically from 1979-1988 there wasn't really any changes made to the set.

    1988: The Colored Barrels are now gone from Big Bird's nest area.

    1989: Hooper's Store gets a New Sign.

    1991: Hooper's Store is rebuilt

    1992: The set moves from Manhattan to Queens, and gets a brighter look.

    1993: The Around the Corner set is created, and Big Bird's nest area now leads into the around the Corner area and not just a brick wall with the Alphabet on it.

    1995: The No Parking Sign on the Garage door is gone. Gina opens up a Daycare center in an empty building in the around the corner area.

    1998: Hooper's store changes it's look. It is now Sky Blue, and the around the corner set is gone.

    2002: Hooper's store is now red, the Stairwell in the arbor area is red not Green and same with the doors of the 123 Building. Oscar now has shapes in the back of his can in the walls that seperate his can and Big Bird's nest. The Mail it Shop replaces the Fix it Shop, which was part of Sesame Street for exactly 30 years.

    2004: The Doors are back to their old green color again

    2006: The Stairwell in the Arbor area is back to green once again. The Fix it shop is back, and the shapes behind Oscar's can are gone. (Things are looking up once again for us classic fans!)

    If anyone has anything to add to this please do so. I'm sure there were more changes to the set over the years I just cant think of anymore at this time. :(
    ElizaSchuyler likes this.
  2. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    What is the difference between the original Fix-It Shop and the new one that was rebuilt in 1979?
  3. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    From what I recall Luis did some remodeling on the inside, there were some episodes about that. Don't recall any outside changes.
  4. littleboy

    littleboy New Member

    The picture in Bert and Ernie's room changes. Bert used to be on either left or right, and then they changed it to be on the other side.
  5. SesameMike

    SesameMike Member

    On the first episode, Ernie and Bert had a bathtub that was in a common room in the apartment, or at least as the pre-Solomon Grundy sketch seemed to suggest. (Actually, I'm told that it was fairly common for tenements in Greenwich Village to have the bathtub in the kitchen, privacy concerns notwithstanding.) Later skits, like the flashlight-umbrella-bowling ball sketch, showed the tub in a bathroom to the right.

    Whatever became of "Ernie's Room", where the laundry basket skit took place? Of course, who's to say it doesn't still exist, even though it hasn't been televised in decades. Afterall, when was the last time we saw the inside of the 123 residence, whereas we were in there lots of times in the early years.

    On the street, the first episode seems to suggest that Mr. Hooper's store was side-by-side with the 123 tenement. Was this what SCC meant by the arbor area being created the following season?

    The mailbox in front of the stoop was painted in about 1972 from red and blue to a solid blue (with a "U.S. Mail" banner down the side). Actually, this paralleled a similar move by the U.S. Postal Service, though they used the USPS bird logo instead. An old two-tone letter box may be seen on that film where letters of the alphabet are zoomed in on all around the city -- letter "M" for Mail, I believe.

    In the earliest episodes, Oscar's can was shiny and new. Later episodes had it tarnished and more dented. Whether this was a deliberate weathering effect done by the prop guys (to make Oscar's can look more the way he'd prefer it), or just a normal effect of oxidation and wear-and-tear with time, I'm not sure. There was one episode in about 1972 in which Oscar's can disappeared mysteriously, and it was returned by a do-gooder who shined it. As you might imagine, Oscar was not pleased.

    Speaking of trash cans, the cans outside of Ernie and Bert's window somehow seemed more "pronounced" in the earlier years.
  6. superboober

    superboober Member

    Did Big Bird's barrells, while we're talking about them, ever serve any real purpose other than to look attractive? :grouchy:
  7. ssetta

    ssetta Active Member

    I can actually think of another change that happened in 1988. As well as the barrels being gone, they got rid of some of the number stickers in the arbor area behind the steps. And then in 1993, they were all gone.
  8. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    Well Hooper's store wasn't really side by side with the apartment building though the street certainly didn't cuve and the play area the 1st season.
  9. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Well, Big Bird did have Snuffy pretend that a barrell was a chimney in Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, so that he could try to see how Santa Clause can get inside the chimney.
  10. SesameMike

    SesameMike Member

    Are you referring to the 55-gallon drums between the door and Big Bird's nest? The ones that are/were painted bright colors and have round holes in them?

    I always thought that was just a creative playground setup. I'm pretty sure I've seen children playing in them. I think one of the adults, probably Bob, even said something to one of the kids in reference to "playing in the barrels".

    They looked like fun to me back in the day, as I used to enjoy crawling through "tunnels" and such. I doubt that 55-gallon drums would be permitted today as such a plaything, what with sharp, unsheathed metal edges, and rust; though arguably, the inner city areas wouldn't be monitored by the "safety police" the same way, say, a suburban playground might be. Of course today, most fast-food joints have extensive "safe" crawling tunnels, done over with plenty of plastic and padding along with the ball pits and tube slides.
  11. For a few years in the recent past, the big garage doors had a mural. Later they were changed back to green and have this year been bricked in, leaving just a small green door.
  12. JLG

    JLG Active Member

    Yeah--I was sad when they bricked those doors over!

    Changes I've noticed: Year One, the street was straight, like most Manhattan streets are. They soon curved it, creating the whole arbor area. I assume they did this to allow for more staging possibliites. (?)

    Ernie and Bert's apartement was much more detailed in the first season, with curtains and some furnishings. Then in the second season it became the very spare, Spartan setting it is to this day. (I actually like the first-season version better, but oh well. I'm going to guess Bert is in charge of decorating the place. :( )

    I could be wrong, but it seems to me that the 1973 season had a lot of litter on the ground, lending the set a more realistic, gritty look. But it seems not to have lasted very long, since later '70s eps I've seen don't have it.

    The now bricked-over doors in the arbor area used to be covered with little signs and things. And last year, they cut a standard-shaped door in the middle of one of the existing doors. BTW, thanks, Ssetta and Swedish. I wondered when they got rid of those signs and "No Parking".

    The arbor fence used to have a mural on it, with palm trees. I'm not sure--did that disappear by the end of the 70s?

    Going past Big Bird's nest away from the arbor, there used to be a painted backdrop depicting the view of looking down the street. (It never looked very good to me because the perspective was wrong--the sidewalk seems to go uphill a la San Francisco. They should have painted it to better work with the angle it was usually shot from.) Today, there is just a bricked side of a big building taking up that space, with a window (I think) and some vines for a touch of realism.

    Is it just me or does that tree in front of Oscar's can keep appearing and disappearing depending on whether the story calls for it to be there? Or whether the staging makes it an obstacle? Same with that mailbox.

    The apartment building right next to Hooper's, which today is officially where Elmo lives. Until 1998 I think it was always the same painted backdrop. It's hard to tell, though, if parts of it were three-dimensional, like a relief. (Its windows were lit up at night at least once.)
    Since '98 it's been a different building, and I think it's three-dimensional now, like a relief sculpture sticking out from the wall.

    **Main change I always noticed**: The buildings in the distance. I think it was 1989 when those painted buildings first appeared in the background of the arbor area, in the space that until then had always been a patch of plain blue sky. Those same buildings were there until 1998, when completely different ones took their place. I can't tell if the new ones are a painting, or a relief-sculpture. Anyone?
    I like having buildings there, personally, although I liked the '89-'97 ones better. Their being there is more realistic than the plain blue sky was, since that suggested that there were no other tall buildings nearby.
  13. That one makes good practical sense, actually. I, myself, have been wondering just what that tire swing that appears and disappears for the same reason is supposed to be hanging from.

    I recently noticed something else: In older episodes, and this season, the bottom of the stairs in the arbor goes straight down to the viewer's right, whereas during the red stairs era, there was a landing before the last few stairs curved back to the left and forward.

    The fix-it shop is also noticeably different. In older episodes, there was a normal-sized door in a place where the wall jutted in (I can picture the formation more easily than I can describe it), and beside it a picture window (rather like a mirror-image of Hooper's store). Since its brief run as the Mail-it Shop, however, the doorway is much larger, and what's left of the part of the wall that's flush with the upper-story wall has been bricked in.

    Also, has anyone else noticed that in the theme park (from photos I've seen) and in Elmo in Grouchland (in the scene with Telly on his skates), the Fix-it-shop and Hooper's store seem to be in the same building, while in Follow that Bird and most illustrations, they seem to be in separate buildings? And of course, anything beyond the fix-it shop seems to be left entirely to the whim of the illustrator.
  14. jeffkjoe

    jeffkjoe New Member

    Actually, the briefcase set for Oscar's can was only used once in 1978 for Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, mainly because they had to take down/put back Oscar from his stoop and the other set up (the crate/barrel) doesn't allow for that as easily.
  15. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    The fix-it shop was never rebuilt. It was just remodeled.
  16. JLG

    JLG Active Member

    Here's what I meant before about the buildings "back there". Here's the view pre 1989:


    And here's the view 1989 to 1997:


    Besides the sudden appearance of those buildings over there, it looks like they altered the brick part of the arbor building with letters on it so that the perspective makes more sense.

    Personally I like there being buildings there better than just blue sky. It looks more realistic. Of course now there are different buildings over there.
    ElizaSchuyler likes this.
  17. fuzzygobo

    fuzzygobo Well-Known Member

    Ernie and Bert's apartment: The Total Makeover

    I noticed a drastic change in Ernie and Bert's apartment too. In Season One, there was a trunk behind them with a table lamp on top, and a track light hanging directly over it. Towards the left, there was a door that presumably led to the kitchen with a stained-glass pattern on it.
    Outside the windows you could see a couple garbage cans and the sky had a dirty brown look (this was the brown backdrop for most of the Muppet skits from Sesaon One). The wall/table the puppeteers hid behind had a green finish to it.
    I always liked this room because it looked like where my grandparents lived in Newark, NJ, at the time.

    From Season 2 onward the layout got more sparse. The kitchen door became the front door. To the left we could see a shelf/wall unit that had rubber duckie and a football on it. The track light disappeared, the lamp was placed on a regular table, outside the windows the sky was blue and the garbage cans disappreared (it almost gave the impression the apartment was on the first floor). The table that hid the puppeteers is now white.

    To me it looks more like our living room, when my family moved from the city out to the 'burbs.:p :(
  18. JLG

    JLG Active Member

    Oh my God. The fire escape! They got rid of the fire escape! Noooooooooooo!

    Boy, does that change the entire feel back there. That fire escape has been there for 38 of this show's 39 years. And now it's gone.

    Also, they seem to have narrowed the space between the 123 garage and Elmo's building, and put up trees that largely block the view of the distant buildings. Plus, there's now a new basketball hoop.

    AND---they've changed the garage doors AGAIN. (How many times does that make? First they removed "No Parking" and gave them a new green paint job, then later they painted them red, then they painted a jungle mural on them, then they painted them green again but cut a "real" door into one of them that served as Gina's vet entrance, then they bricked them over completely[!] and now they're back but thsi time as wooden doors. All those changes except the first happened in the last six years. Sheesh!)

    But did they sacrifice the fire escape? :confused: It looks so different over there now. Wow.

    Oh, and they also got rid of that old wooden fence. There's now a very short brick wall there.
  19. FrogInTheGlen

    FrogInTheGlen New Member

    I always thought the Fix It Shop and Hooper's Store were in the same building...

    Speaking of the Fix It Shop, did Maria and Luis ever givea reason for going back to it rather than keeping the Mail It Shop?
  20. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets New Member

    If you notice above the garage doors it says "Auto Repair" now as well.

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