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Sesame Street Character Voice Comparisons

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by Canadian Fan, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. Canadian Fan

    Canadian Fan Well-Known Member

    Ernie (Jim Henson & Steve Whitmire)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfp4IezPHqk

    Bert (Frank Oz & Eric Jacobson)

    Grover (Frank Oz & Eric Jacobson)

    Cookie Monster (Frank Oz & David Rudman)

    I must say, I find it hard to distinguish Frank's versions of his characters from Eric's or David's, they're that good! Steve's voice I could always distinguish from Jim's, he's got a higher pitch.
  2. SmartTina

    SmartTina Member

    First of all...I haven't watched a new episode of Sesame Street since I was a kid, so thanks for posting these new voice comparisons!

    Anyway...WOW, I must say I'm very impressed with Eric's voices! Bert and Grover sound the most spot-on out of all of them. But David's Cookie Monster is certainly nothing to sniff at.

    Ernie's new voice, on the other hand...eeeh. Maybe I'm too much of a Henson purist, but I think it's terrible. Maybe it's because Grover, Bert and Cookie seem much more difficult to impersonate than Ernie is...perhaps the casting folk were much more selective with those characters than with Ernie (i.e. listening closer to little nuances in the voices).
  3. Puckrox

    Puckrox Well-Known Member

    I do agree that Jim and Steve's Ernie voices are entirely different. However, I don't hate Steve's Ernie. This is probably due to the fact that I grew up with Steve as Ernie. While I do love Jim and his Ernie voice, I didn't come to know him as Ernie until I was much older. Steve's voice was the one I heard singing "Rubber Ducky" all throughout my childhood. I particularly don't mind. Ernie taught me things and he was one of my favorites growing up. :p

    I did get to grow up with Frank Oz as all those characters though, which makes me grateful. Not that David and Eric aren't doing top notch jobs, which they are.
  4. HeyButtahfly

    HeyButtahfly Well-Known Member

    Rudman's Cookie Monster leaves plenty to be desired, IMO. Cookie could use a throat lozenge.
  5. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Their voices may not be as good as the originals, but its the character that matters. And each of them performs their character to a T.
  6. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Well said and well put.

    The only little nit I'd have to pick is that Eric really doesn't have quite the singing range Frank had when it comes to performing Miss Piggy or Grover. But other than that, he gives a very energetic performance of those characters. Frank's still got it when he comes back to occasionally do a skit or two, don't get me wrong.

    As for David's Cookie, I think it's come a long way. When he first started out, and forcibly tried to impersonate Frank, the performance was a little stiff... now, he doesn't sound all that much like Frank, BUT he's relaxed so much in his performance, his Cookie is flawless in personality. Even the slight of hand that crumbled the cookies in illusion has gotten much better. Earlier Rudman Cookie performances suggest that's quite a trick that needs to be mastered. And he's mastered it now.

    As for Steve, I have nothing for the utmost respect for him after hearing a story Dave Goelz once told... Steve really couldn't bring himself to perform Kermit once Jim died and had him in a trunk or suitcase or something for quite some time before he started. That shows the level of respect for Jim's performance right there, among other things. A character IS a personal thing, and when you're someone else's character, you have to make him your personal one. Sometimes it works, sometimes a character bounced from Puppeteer to puppeteer before they get a regular recast.
  7. mr3urious

    mr3urious Well-Known Member

    I think Eric's Bert sounds like his throat is full of phlegm.
  8. Canadian Fan

    Canadian Fan Well-Known Member

    I read in my copy of the 'Sesame Street' 40th Anniversary book that David still studies videos of Frank's performances of Cookie Monster.

    David has a tough job, not only is he performing one of Frank's classic characters but he also does Richard Hunt's Sesame Street characters like Sonny Friendly and Richard's half of the Two-Headed Monster. Not to mention that David now does two of Richard's Muppet Show characters - Scooter and Janice.

    I would much rather have a character recast when the original performer can no longer do it than have the character disappear alltogether. I've been pleased with the replacement voices (just by watching video clips on YouTube). These characters are essential to Sesame Street for future generations.
  9. SmartTina

    SmartTina Member

    This is a very good point, and I couldn't agree more. But I still get nostalgic for the Henson/Oz/Hunt days!
  10. Canadian Fan

    Canadian Fan Well-Known Member

    Another character that's gone through some changes - Telly Monster (why isn't there any merchandise of Telly, I'll never know)

    Bob Payne (the original Telly Monster)

    Brian Muehl (I somewhat remember this version)

    Martin P. Robinson (the current Telly Monster and the version I'm most familiar with)

    Grungetta was another character to be recast

    Brian Muehl

    Pam Arciero
  11. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Any character recast takes time to get used to. I remember way back in the early 2000s, I couldn't quite get used to Eric's Bert and Grover, David's Cookie, and I thought Matt's Big Bird sounded similar to earlier Caroll performances when Big Bird was more of a yokel than a kid.

    That was then, but now, I don't think nothing of it really; it's like Oscarfan said, it's all about the character and the personality.

    Not to mention, even when Jim was alive, there were various performer and voice changes within the characters, and not just on SST. Mildred had been voiced by Richard, Dave, and Frank; Nigel used to be a Jim character before John Lovelady started doing him; Janice was originated by Fran before Richard played her; and let's not forget Miss Piggy didn't start out as the regular, breakthrough character she became, and went through different performers, including Richard, before Frank took her fulltime.
  12. Canadian Fan

    Canadian Fan Well-Known Member

  13. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    It should be noted that until Marty, Jerry did still dub Snuffy's voice, despite not being able to physically perform him.
  14. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    With the Utmost respect to Brian,I don't think the characters really took off until Martin and Pam took on those roles respectively. Had Brain stayed, that is, they would have been different characters.

    Brain's Telly is a kind of quiet, where as Martin isn't afraid of making Telly so excited or worried that he goes into a much deeper, louder personality swing. I.E. This season's episode with the Happy scientists, when Telly gets so angry that his hypothesis was proven wrong, he breaks down and shouts "I'M A MAAAAD SCIENTIST! MAD I TELL YOU!" Dunno about Grundetta, though... I only saw that one skit about the number 9 that Brian did. Seems like he gave her a Monty Python "Pepperpot" type voice without the British accent.

    As for Snuffy... hmm, seeing that Michael Earl Davis clip... that definitely sounds like the direction that Martin started taking. Actually, seems like when Jerry and Michael performed Snuffy they were pretty quiet as well. I guess Martin adds the reasonable amount of loudness to the characters he took on.
  15. Canadian Fan

    Canadian Fan Well-Known Member

    I think Marty's versions of Snuffy and Telly are the best ones. I've seen interviews on YouTube of Marty and you can tell he's a pretty funny guy. Bob Payne's original Telly was just plain weird.

    I read on MuppetWikia that Michael did the puppeteering of Snuffy for the 10th season (1978-79) while Jerry looped in the voice and Michael did the voice for seasons 11 and 12. You'd need a strong back to do Snuffy (I can't imagine how Marty and Bryant have done it for so long).

    No disrespect to Brian Muehl (he's a good puppeteer), but I like Pam's version of Grungetta better (maybe it's because she sounds grouchier).

    I'm still trying to find early clips of Elmo when Brian or Richard performed him.
  16. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    I actually liked the early Telly better as the more toned down neurotic who had a slightly unhealthy friendship with Oscar who was always pushing him around, lol.
  17. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I remember years after Baby Bear had really taken off as a character, looking at merchandise at the time that always included those three little bits of trivia about the individual characters still saying that Telly's best friend was Oscar, instead of Baby Bear, I was like "Oh yeah... I remember that..."
  18. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The original Telly was doomed from the start. I mean, the swirly eyes had to freak some kids out for one thing. And apparently, it's a crime to show someone on television watching television.

    Yeah, but the current Telly, I have to say, is a little more fleshed out. I like how instead of just worrying, he goes to extremes of all his emotions. Like the letter of the Day club episode when he was blinded with non-stop excitement, or that episode where his bratty little cousin steals his triangles and he obsessively threatens to hit him for it. Though I do agree they need to make more episodes with him and Oscar. I LOVED the one where they go on the road trip, only to stop every other minute to pick something else up, causing Telly to completely blow up at Oscar.
  19. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    I don't know, to me Telly seems mostly non-stop excited now, rather than a range of emotions. Pretty much all the characters on modern Sesame Street are non-stop excited now, and not much else. He felt like a more complex character as a worrier. Just my own opinion. ;)
  20. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Something else that's interesting to take into consideration...

    When Marty first took over the characters of Snuffy and Telly, it was obvious that he tried (perhaps a little too hard) to make them sound almost exactly like the way Jerry and Brian had respectively did their voices; it's hard to tell exactly, but it seems like it wasn't until the late 80s or so that Marty really made the characters his own.

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