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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mikebennidict, Apr 6, 2007.
Thanks for mentioning my piece.
Gotta admit, he was a little hard to draw.
FWIW, these are the Letter People we had when I was in kindergarten:
And interestingly, this was the mid-90s, and we were still using the original Letter People to learn the alphabet. The current Letter People are (not surprisingly) a lot more P.C. than they were back in the 70s, to wit: instead of all the consonants being male letters and vowels being female letters, half the alphabet is male and the other half is female, and their traits are a lot more cutesy too (Mr. J and his junk are now Miss J and her jingling jacket).
Those designs couldn't be any more 70's if you tossed them in a disco with funk music loudly playing into a pile of Screaming Yellow Zonkers.
Admittedly, the more I look at those original designs, the more I think they look like stuff I would've drawn when I was in kindergarten, before I really developed any kind of style to my drawing.
And just for another example of how P.C. the new Letter People are today, remember when Mr. H had Horrible Hair? Know what he has now? Happy Hair. Seriously.
I have to admit, I think the song version vs. the show version of Miss O is like that. I know those things predate the series, but they really improved upon the character by making her obstinate instead of an optimist. And the song in the TV show is better too.
I thought she was always obstinate. But then again, I think I remember her being an opera singer more than anything.
Kinda like Mr. K - I remember him more as a football player than for his kicks. I actually remember when we were learning about Mr. K, our teacher asked if any of us could tell what he does, I raised my hand and said, "He's a football player?" "No," she said, "he kicks."
This video has both the TV series and song and book series Miss O songs.
I really don't like that samba number, but LOVE that Gilbert and Sullivan-esque puppet show piece. Seriously, if she was an optimist in the show, she'd get very obnoxious very fast.
The way these characters have suffered at the hands of Political Correctness Gone Mad really makes me wonder how it is after all these years Cookie Monster really hasn't become Veggie Monster, or how Oscar the Grouch hasn't become Oscar the Sweet Potato. Admittedly, Bert seems a lot more chill these days compared to the days of Jim and Frank (or even when Frank still did Bert when Steve took on Ernie).
We were lucky enough to see the LP episodes each week back when I was in Kindergarten (I guess our school had a bunch of old local TV showings lying around). It wasn't until I revisted this series a few years ago that I realized how... interesting some of the earliest puppets looked. I suppose the builders were really trying to recreate the look of the LP drawings.
At least one of the puppeteers (Allan Trautman) went on to work with the Muppets. Among the voice talents was a then-unknown Gregg Berger (Mr. Z).
A little history on the series:
It's like I said, some of the puppets look decent enough, others not so much.
Puppets like Miss E, Miss O, Mr. P, Mr. Q, Mr. S, Miss U, and Mr. W, for example, are somewhere between looking professional and looking amateur.
Then you have puppets like Miss A, Mr. G, Mr. H, Mr. L, and Mr. N especially are pretty pitiful looking.
Mr. M looks like something I might have attempted to build.
My one problem with a lot of the puppets is they have no necks, which gives them such limited flexibility and movement.
Oh I thought the original song was obstinate apparently, but they changed her most likely to make her more positive..well the obstinate song was better IMO
England has an alphabet characters series called Letterland. Similar to The Letter People. Only the characters are people, animals, and monsters. This show also went through P.C. changes. In the early stories, there were troublemakers called Robber Red and the Wicked Water Witch. But they got replaced with less negative characters like a Red Robot and a Walrus named Walter.
In case you're wondering who the Letterland characters are, they are..
Annie Apple, Bouncy Ben, Clever Cat, Dippy Duck, Eddy Elephant, Firefighter Fred, Golden Girl, Hairy Hat Man, Impy Ink, Jumping Jim, Kicking King, Lucy Lamp Light, Munching Mike, Noisy Nick, Oscar Orange, Poor Peter Puppy, Quarrelsome Queen, Red Robot, Sammy Snake, Talking Tess, Uppy Umbrella, Vicky Violet, Walter Walrus, Fix-it Max, Yellow Yo-Yo Man, and Zigzag Zebra.
England also has another alphabet character series called, Alphablocks. Just like The Letter People, only their sounds resemble everyday noises.
This posting about alphabet-based characters reminds me of a book series called Sweet Pickles. There are 26 different animals making up the letters of the alphabet, and each one has a different personality. And yes, there is an animal beginning with X: Xerus, which I believe is a term for the African ground squirrel.
Shameless self promotion here, I decided while I've been on a recent drawing kick, I'd start a series of Letter People drawings, based off the puppet versions. Here at least is the first 5, in order of introduction.
Ah yes, you're that Dee fellow from deviantART, aren't you? I recognize your style.
I sure am! Though my dA is mostly filled with -- for the sake of this thread, I'll use a pun -- "jumbled junk" from years gone by, my Tumblr is where I go to post more recent creations.
I have an interesting story about these guys, actually.
When I was in Kindergarten, I could already read. I thought the letter people were kind of dumb. My teacher would bring in one of those balloon replicas whenever we began a new letter, insist it was alive, and talk to it. When i expressed doubt, she told me about a map in her office to the letter people world that she promised to show me but never did.
This makes me seem like i was a horribly cynical child, but this was coming from a girl who believed stuffed animals were alive and still treats objects like people.
Sounds like you had the modern, P.C. Letter People, who kind of are dumb.
Separate names with a comma.