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  2. Sesame Street Season 49
    Sesame Street's 49th season officially began Saturday November 17 on HBO. After you see the new episodes, post here and let us know your thoughts.

Sully After Richard Hunt

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by minor muppetz, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I've been thinking a lot about the use of (and lack theroff of) Sully after Richard Hunt's death.

    Muppet Wiki notes that David Rudman took over (citing documents from the CTW Archives), but it seems like there's only one known source for that (neither Sesame Street Unpaved or 40 Years of Life on the Street mention that David Rudman took over, while both books do mention that he took over the roles of Sonny Friendly and Richard's half of the Two-Headed Monster). In fact Sully has some scenes in Stars and Street Forever, and David Rudman isn't credited for that, so I'm guessing that somebody else performed Sully in that special.

    I kinda wonder if maybe they intended to keep using Sully on a regular basis, with Rudman as his new regular performer, and maybe they eventually decided to drop him. Sully was used a little bit during season 25, having scenes with Biff in episode 3154, scenes in Stars and Street Forever, and the Muppet Wiki talk page for season 25 lists several episodes without pages and a brief description by them, one of the plots being "Biff and Sully visit a day care". Assuming that whoever put that there didn't just make it up, it would be great to see that episode (and why two construction workers would be at day care).

    But even though Sully was used a fair bit in season 25, it seems they were using Biff more as a solo character, or paired with Roxy Marie. In the season 25 premier, Biff is involved with the construction of the new park (though all he did was build a wall and then knock it down), with Sully not being seen or mentioned as being involved with the construction. There's also the episode where Biff gets his thumb stuck in a bowling ball, and that one has neither Sully or Roxy Marie, instead teaming Biff up with Telly, as well as Biff's wife Celeste (was this her only appearance?) and his doctor, Dr. Edwynn (who has only two appearances known to Muppet Wiki). But I guess that one doesn't really need Sully.

    And then there's the episode where it's Biff's birthday. It seems sad that Sully didn't come to Biff's party, but then again, Biff didn't really want a party, so it's likely to have been too short notice for Sully to come. But I am glad that Biff did mention Sully in that episode at one point. It also feels a little sad how in the Sony Theaters short "Don't Forget to Watch the Movie" Biff is in attendance in the theater but Sully isn't, though it seemed to include as many Sesame Street characters as possible.

    But whether Sully was only temporarily recast and then dropped, he has shown up a few times since season 25. He was there with Biff in Elmopalooza during "One Small Voice", the two got a scene in one episode from season 30, and in season 40 they appeared in the background of one episode. I wonder if David Rudman still performed Sully in those (I'm guessing the answer is no for the season 40 appearance, since Rudman was performing Baby Bear in that episode).
  2. Nostalgicman

    Nostalgicman Active Member

    Since he barely spoke, I'm guessing it wasn't necessary for someone with Richard's vocal range (like David) to provide the puppetry with looping technology.
  3. JC Motors

    JC Motors Member

    I don't remember him ever speaking
  4. MuppetSpot

    MuppetSpot Well-Known Member

    Sully never spoke at all.
  5. Bert fan

    Bert fan Member

    Sully never talked not even in the debut for him but Richard hunt did puppetry without voice and since David and Richard were close he gave it to him and did the same
  6. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Of course, the performers have often said that the personality is as important as the voice. There have been a lot of characters who were silent or didn't speak much who had consistent performers.
  7. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Using the "what links here" feature on Muppet Wiki on some segments with Sully, and I've recently found that not very many segments where Richard Hunt performed Sully aired after season 24. I was a bit surprised to see this.

    The only one I know off-hand that aired in the late-1990s is This is My J (which I do remember seeing on the show sometime during season 26-28), though he doesn't really have a big part there. I wonder if it's because so many Sully segments took place on the street (though I think the show did show pre-season 25 street scenes during the around the corner era, and I don't think the classic Sesame Street area looked that different then).

    It's also surprising, from memory I was feeling like Biff and Sully were still actively on the show during season 25. And there were at least three new appearances then (though I only saw one of them back then), plus I saw the episode where Biff got a bowling ball stuck to his thumb (which didn't have Sully) and Sully appeared in Stars and Street Forever. Could just be conflating memory, or maybe I had seen a number of older things at the time (like the Sing-Along video) that included both (but I should have known, even then, that they were a lot older than that season).
  8. cjd874

    cjd874 Well-Known Member

    When you think about it, most of Richard Hunt's characters had such distinct personalities (Placido Flamingo, Gladys, Forgetful Jones etc.) that nobody could have taken over them. David Rudman took over Sonny Friendly, although to me his interpretation wasn't quite right...but he nailed it with the Two-Headed Monster. Since Rudman inherited those two characters, I suppose that the SW staff decided to have him take over as Sully.

    Since Sully never spoke, I think they really could have given him to anybody, as long as that performer did a good job of expressing the character through movements instead of voices. For all we know, Joey Mazzarino or Marty Robinson could have been the next puppeteer for Sully, but Rudman won out.
    Blue Frackle likes this.
  9. MuppetSpot

    MuppetSpot Well-Known Member

    That’s basically the reason why Forgetful Jones and Placido have been regulated to silent cameos. Norman Stiles said Forgetful was such a Richard character that nobody could do him after his death.
  10. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    I understand letting those characters retire because of Richard. But, like, Sonny Friendly was apparently not sacred enough to be recasted the following season. And even then, it took them over a decade later to realize, "Hey, David took over a couple of Richard's Sesame characters. Why not do the same with the Muppet ones?"
  11. MuppetSpot

    MuppetSpot Well-Known Member

    Sonny Friendly was just another game-show host character to me. Nothing really interesting.
    LittleJerry92 and Blue Frackle like this.
  12. LittleJerry92

    LittleJerry92 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, there really wasn’t much to him to begin with.

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