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Original Elmo Voices?

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by FletchySRF3088, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. FletchySRF3088

    FletchySRF3088 Active Member

    Hi there. :)

    Just wondering if any can help me with this - I've read that before Kevin Clash took Elmo and made him his own, he was originally performed by Brian Muehl, and then Richard Hunt for a little while. Ever since learning this, I've been curious as to how Elmo sounded before Kevin came in. I've been trying to find any old clips on youtube but no luck so far. Does anyone know where can I find any clips, audio or video? Were the voices that Brian and Richard gave Elmo a lot different from Kevin's?
  2. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    The recent 40th anniversary DVD, Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days, has a season 11 Elmo sketch where he has a different voice. Some have said that it's Jerry Nelson performing him there, but while it's a Nelson-like voice, I don't think it sounds like him... Maybe it's Michael Earl (some of his known characters sound like Jerry Nelson characters). Elmo also has this voice in the song "We're All Monsters", which was on youtube, and could still be there (Kevin Clash later redubbed Elmo's lines in that clip).

    Many official sources say that Elmo was originally performed by Brian Meehl (aka Brian Muehl) and then by Richard Hunt before Clash took over. But the book Street Gang claims that Meehl onnly performed Elmo a handful of times (I think the book says six, but I don't feel like checking). I recently e-mailed Brian Meehl (he has his own official website, you know), and he only recalled performing Elmo a handful of times, and only remembers one specific Elmo scene that he did. Interestingly, he told me that from his memory Richard Hunt had performed Elmo first and then asked Meehl to take over... But all other sources say that Richard Hunt performed and gave the role to Kevin Clash... Maybe Hunt did perform first, and then gave the role to Meehl, got the role back, and gave it away yet again.

    Oh, and I believe Hunt's Elmo can be heard at the end of Follow That Bird, albeit not very well. When Miss Finch comes back at the end to send Big Bird to another bird family, everybody talks at ocne in disagreement, and Elmo says "no,no,no,no,no,no!" It sounded a bit like a gruff Scooter voice (I think I would have expected Richard Hunt to use this kind of voice for Sully, if only Sully had a voice).
  3. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Caroll Spinney described Brian Meehl's Elmo voice as a "whispery man's voice" who often had a bit of repetition in his speech pattern - "Play with Elmo? Yes? Yes?"

    As for Richard... maybe Richard did play Elmo, and tried to give him to Brian, then when Brian left, maybe Richard got stuck with Elmo again, and tried to give him to Kevin this time around. Either way, there's always several different stories around this - I remember the A&E Biography special mentioning Richard playing Elmo, but not Brian, and at the same time, Kevin did say that Richard tossed him Elmo, asked him to do a voice, he did the voice, and the next thing he knew, Richard was telling them Kevin came up with a new voice for Elmo and that was that. And again, Caroll does mention in his book, Brian played Elmo first, then Richard, then Elmo; he mentioned that one reason Richard didn't like Elmo was because he was so used to playing such outlandish, lively characters, that this "baby monster" just didn't sit well with him.
  4. Daffyfan2003

    Daffyfan2003 Active Member

    I think I remember hearing the Brian Muehl Elmo in the "Me Cladius" sketch on You Tube. I'm not sure whether or not it's still up there. You know how they are with taking these videos down. Lol.
  5. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Sesame Workshop usually doesn't remove such videos.
  6. FletchySRF3088

    FletchySRF3088 Active Member

    Wow, thanks for the info, fellas!

    I did manage to catch the end of Follow That Bird and both versions of "We're all monsters" on youtube. It does sound to me like it's Jerry Nelson doing the voice, but I haven't yet heard any of Michael Earl's characters. Gotten reacquainted with the muppets just this year really.

    I didn't know about this other side to the story of Elmo's origins. I kinda hope it's true about Richard passing Elmo over more than once. It's quite funny to me.

    I also just watched the "Me Claudius" sketch on youtube. Thanks again for the info and pointing me to these videos! :) So weird to see Elmo with these different voices but also great and interesting to see a character develop.


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