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Robert Cunniff Memorial Help Needed

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by oldnews, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. oldnews

    oldnews New Member

    Robert Cunniff, an early Sesame Street writer and producer, died on Sunday in New York at 81. Robert helped create and refine the early Sesame Street characters (both Muppet and live) and contributed many memorable moments to the shows.

    We have some tapes but are looking for more to put into a montage that will be screened at the memorial service (to be held at All Souls Unitarian Church, Lex and 80th, on Saturday Feb. 9 at 5 PM.)

    Specifically need programs from the 1973 season, when Bob won an EMMY for the program. Info on actual tapes or advice on how to locate tapees would be appreciated.

    A very special wish is for episodes featuring Morty McMope (punchline = "forty foot rope")

    Also a long complicated scene with a train...that's unfortunately all I can remember now.

    Thanks so much.
  2. sesameguy

    sesameguy Member

    Hi- I'm sorry to hear about the loss. My best to his friends & family.

    Besides your own collection, the easiest way to find 1973 episodes is to pick up a copy of "Sesame Street Old School volume 1" at a local store. There's obviously no guarantee that Mr. Cunniff's work will specifically be on there, though. As a video collector, I can tell you that older Sesame St. episodes are quite rare. But at least you've come to the right place- many of us collect old episodes or scenes.

    Another option is to contact Sesame Workshop directly and tell them about your plans. While they don't normally offer video material in this way, they may make an exception in your case. If they can't help, is it possible that some friends of Mr. Cunniff from his CTW days may have some tapes that you could borrow?

    The only "long and complicated scene involving a train" that comes to mind is when Cookie Monster played a railroad engineer in this classic skit. It is likely from about the same era:


    Many of us here probably have this skit. Please let us know if this is Mr. Cunniff's work and if you need a copy.
  3. oldnews

    oldnews New Member

    Sesame clips for memorial service

    1. Thanks very much for responding. We have recently unearthed a box of our own tapes and also gotten some of the specific skits we requested on loan from CTW. These will be incorporated in the memorial service within a specially produced video about Bob's career and life.
    2. I will look at the YOUTUBE sequence ASAP and see if it is what I recall.
    3. For all those interested, I will separately announce the date and location of the memorial service and hope that those forum members who are interested, and within a reasonable distance, can attend.
    4. Just for the record - my mistake in originally asking about Morty McMope. It is, of course, Morty Moot Mope. (We have it. )
  4. oldnews

    oldnews New Member

    "Through Through Through"

    That's it! Thanks SO much - to you and whoever posted it on YouTube. I will look for it; hope we have it among the boxes.

    Whether Bob wrote it or not, he had a great deal to do with it and it was one of his favorite pieces.

    I recall that it was the pathos and incredible bravery of the Cookie Monster that moved him.

    And the avalanche! I had forgotten that. Very complicated to do it in the live studio the way they shot this stuff in those days. (Real smoke and mirrors and vaseline before digital!)

    Again my thanks for finding it.


  5. sesameguy

    sesameguy Member

    You're quite welcome, I'm glad I could help out a bit. And thanks to Youtube poster PiLfan and Sesame Workshop for their help. Hopefully you've got the skit in your collection, but if not, please let us know quickly so we can ship it out to you! Thanks for keeping us informed about the service as well. I'm hoping some of our NYC people might be able to attend.

    The soundtrack to this skit was released as "The Ballad of Casey McPhee" on the old "C is For Cookie" LP album, and also on the "Cookie Monster & Grover: True Blue" cassette tape released years later.

    I found an obituary for Mr. Cunniff on the L.A. Times Web site. I remember "Mouseterpiece Theater" as well! It sounds like he had some great "behind the scenes" stories he could have told.

  6. oldnews

    oldnews New Member

    Thanks so much and I will post again if we are unable to find a copy of "Through Through Through".

    We invite all Muppet and Sesame enthusiasts to the memorial service for Robert Rody Cunniff
    5:30 pm, February 9
    All Souls Unitarian Church
    1157 Lexington Avenue @ 80th Street

    A guestbook will be going up soon at the New York Times / legacy.com Meanwhile, more info is available on our daughter's website:
  7. sesameguy

    sesameguy Member

  8. zanimum

    zanimum New Member

    My condolences with Mr. Cunniff's passing. I've spent the last few minutes compiling a biography focusing on his Sesame Street credit.

    At any point, would you consider helping "Muppet Wiki" build up his biography? It's primarily focused on his time at CTW, but it includes the other major programs in his career. There's some details, like the year span of when he worked on the Today Show, or what other Sesame sketches or "street scenes" (the main storyline(s) on Sesame Street itself) he worked on, that sort of thing.

    Also, I can't find a photo of him anywhere. Would the family be able to provide one? We currently have his caricature in The New Yorker.


    Nick Moreau

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