Mikey's Muppet Memorabilia Museum

Mikey's Muppet Memorabilia Museum

Sesame Street: 2000 - 2010

CTW becomes Sesame Workshop
In 2000 the company that produces Sesame Street, Children's Television Workshop (CTW), became Sesame Workshop. The "Sesame Street" street sign logo is changed so that the letters CTW are replaced with numbers 123. All new Sesame merchandise uses the new logo from this point onward, allowing collectors a quick and easy way to identify if a Sesame collectable was made before or after 2000. At this point the Sesame Muppets were still owned by the Jim Henson Company but by the end of the decade the rights for the characters would be sold off to Sesame Workshop.
 
Here are some Sesame Street vending machine stickers from 2000. They were produced by Sandy Lion Sticker Designs, in Markham, ON, and printed in Canada. The set includes 12 stickers which are numbered on the back. I think these stickers are awesome and wish that I had the whole set. 
 
In the early 2000's I used to keep my eye on vending machines to see if I could find more of these. Eventually I did find another machine with more Sesame stickers and was so excited that I put my quarters in too quickly and jammed the machine. Silly me! Not only did I loose my coins, but I didn't get any stickers. Later when they fixed the machine they changed the stickers at the same time. Oh the comedy! 
 
These are among the last collectables to be made with CTW on them (on the back). Shown above are: #3 Cookie Monster, #4 Bert, #5 Oscar, # 10 Grover, #11 Telly, and #12 Ernie. The other stickers in the collection are Big Bird, Count, Elmo, Zoe, Rosita and Twiddle Bugs. It's odd that some characters are larger than others. The Oscar sticker is quite small while Grover is huge. The back view of the stickers is shown below.
 

 
Here is the awesome "Me So Hungry Cookie Monster Puppet" talking doll that was made by Fisher-Price in 2001. I'm posting this in 2016, so the toy is already 15 years old and seems to have become quite a rare puppet to find, especially in the original box. My online search for this toy only provided one image of the toy in the box and about five of the puppet out of the box.
 
I really like how Fisher-Price shaped this Cookie Monster as they designed the toy to look like the original Muppet rather than a cartoon version of the character. Had they used dark blue fur I think this would have become the definitive Cookie Monster puppet to own, but as it stands I still think that distinction belongs to the original Child Guidance / Educational Toys puppet. This one is a very close second however! If you close the puppet's mouth or put the cookie in the mouth one of five sayings will play in Cookie Monster's actual voice. Squeeze his tummy and he has five more different sayings, and squeezing his hand will play his singing a few lines from "C is for Cookie"! How's that for awesome!
 
Shown above is the opening in the back for operating the puppet. It's a good thing they didn't put that horizontal slit any lower or it would have been very awkward! :) The only draw back with this toy puppet is that, despite the amazing technical design to have all of the "talking" pressure points activated from one battery compartment in the doll's tummy, there is no off/on switch! Therefor, the only way to use the puppet as a puppet without the talking feature is to remove the batteries. To me that's a design flaw as I want to be able to operate this toy as a normal puppet. In addition, although Cookie Monster is one of my favourite Muppets, I also want this thing to shut up after hearing the same sayings repeated over and over again (in other words, Me So Sick of listening to this toy). After all, toy puppets are meant to play with and allow kids to use their imagination to decide what they will say and do. Sometime it seems that toys have just become too modern and companies forget what a toy is for, so they over produce them. In any case, this "Me So Hungry Cookie Monster" is without a doubt an awesome puppet...but it needs an off switch! 
 
 
This is the instruction sheet that comes with the "Me So Hungry Cookie Monster Puppet".
 
Sesame Mini Beans: Grover, Elmo, Snuffleupagus, and Big Bird plush toys made in 2002.

Sesame Mini Beans: Preston Rabbit, Sherlock Hemlock, Twiddle Bug plush toys made in 2002.

Sesame Mini Beans plush toy were sold through coin operated vending machines. Each plush toy cam in a clear plastic ball as shown above.

McDonald's Restaurants also sold a series of Sesame Mini Beans.
Above is Zoe, Rosita and Cookie Monster
 
In 2002 Gund produced these Sesame plush toys which are 10 to 11 inches tall. If I'm not mistaken, these are the first Sesame Street plush toys to have the copyright information attributed to Sesame Workshop, instead of CTW. I'm posting this in 2013, so at this point these Gund plush toys (and puppets) have been sold in stores for eleven years!

Above is an Oscar the Grouch mouth puppet by Gund from 2003. Other puppets in the collection include Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Grover, Ernie, Bert, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Zoe, the Count and Snuffleupagus.

In 2003 Nanco produced larger sized plush toys of Sesame characters that were given out as prizes at fairs and exhibitions. Above is a 15 inch Oscar plush toy next to an 8 inch Knickerbocker Cookie Monster for size comparison. Below is the back view to show the lid of the trash can.


 
This is the Nanco plush Cookie Monster from the same series as the above Oscar. Cookie is 20 inches. Below is the 17 inch Elmo from this set. Cookie and Elmo are very well made using very soft, good quality fur. The stuffing is also soft. Oscar was made with a different type of fur so the he's not very fuzzy, and the plush toy is stuffed to be quite solid. There is also cardboard in the base and lid to keep the shape. As such the Oscar plush toy is not as cuddly as the Cookie and Elmo plush toys. These were all distributed by Ganz.
 
 
 
 
Nanco also produced smaller sized Sesame Street plush toys in 2003. Above are two different 10 inch Elmo dolls. The one with the blue overalls has a picture of Dorothy the fish on the front (a closer view is shown below) and the arms are positioned upwards. Both dolls have the same plastic eyes.
 
 
This small 8 inch Elmo plush toy was made in 2003 by Publications International.
 
In 2003 these small plush Sesame Street key chain heads were sold at McDonalds restaurants. I'm not sure how many are in the set. Oscar and Bert are shown above.
 
Also in 2003 Hunter Leisure Pty. Ltd. produced this 5.5 inch plush Cookie Monster key chain doll. Elmo, Ernie and Big Bird are pictured on the hang tag with Cookie Monster which suggests they may have been included in this plush key chain series.

In 2003 C&D Visionary Inc. produced a series of Sesame Street embroidered magnets. Shown above is Big Bird, the Count, Ernie, and Bert. I also saw Cookie Monster and Elmo magnets for this series. Below is the back view.


In 2004 Fisher Price produced a Bert doll that was very similar in style to the vintage doll made by Knickerbocker in the 1970s. Unfortunately I never found the matching Ernie by Fisher-Price.

In 2005 Gund expanded their 10 inch plush toys series adding Snuffleupagus to the collection. Below is a view of Snuffy's face from the front to show the embroidered eyes.


This is a garden statue (lawn ornament) made in 2005. It measures 19 inches tall. I've shown a finger puppet next to it for size comparison. There is a sticker on the bottom of the left foot with the copyright info, 2005 Sesame Workshop, which also notes the manufacturer "Loblaws Inc." with a Montreal address. There's also a gold foil "Made in China" sticker. Below is the Cookie Monster statue from the same series, which is 17 inches tall. The Cookie Monster statue is much lighter than the Big Bird statue because it's hollow. Other characters in the set included Bert, Count, Grover, Oscar, Elmo and Zoe. I purchased these two garden statues at the Loblaws grocery store in Almonte, ON, and they had Elmo and Zoe there as well. Those characters were about 5 inches shorter than the two shown here. These statues are made with some kind of breakable material and I'm surprized that I haven't broken them yet. You may have noticed my collection doesn't have many breakable items...there's a reason for that! :)
 
Below is a link to a blog posting by Janet Hingsberg, who apparently was in charge of the Sesame licence for Loblaws. http://www.janethingsberg.com/brand-development-sesame-street/ Her blog page has a photo of the collection, but statues of Ernie and Zoe are not shown. However, I think it's safe to assume that an Ernie statue was included in the set, as I saw the Zoe statue with my own eyes yet it's not shown either.
 
In addition to the garden statues, Loblaws Inc. also produced Sesame Street bubble bath. The liquid soap was sold in a vinyl pouch in the shape of Big Bird or Cookie Monster, and was either yellow or blue depending on the character. I haven't seen any other characters for this set. The back view of the soap pouches are shown below. You can see they have a plug on them that is the same type used on inflatable beach toys. These bubble bath pouches have a very strong perfume smell to them.

 
In 2005 Rubbermaid produced a series of Sesame Street storage bins that were available in a wide assortment of colours. Each bin had an illustration of a Sesame character on the side. These bins are awesome for storing Muppet collectables. I also use these bins to store the fabric that I make my puppets with. For some reason I didn't buy all of the bins in this series and only ended up with four of the eight that were made (yet I have doubles of each of these except for the Ernie and Bert bin... not sure what I was thinking). Considering all the stuff I collect, these Sesame bins are quite handy to have!

This is the sticker label that is on one side of the bin, under the handle. Below are closer views of the Sesame characters on the bins that I have.




In addition to Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, Grover and Zoe, Rubbermaid also made these Sesame bins:
 
Big Bird on a red medium size bin
Elmo on a yellow medium size bin
The Count on a black large size bin, released near Halloween of 2005
I suspect there was an Oscar bin, though I don't recall what size or colour.
 
 
This is a package of Sesame Street party invitations produced in 2005 by Sterling Greetings
 
Here is an Ernie sun visor from 2005 that was made out of thin sheets of condensed foam. Ernie's nose is made from a rubber ball. This visor was produced by Darmos Toy Limited which is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia (but made in China). A better view of the hang tag and the top of the hat is shown below. The strap on the back of the hat has the Sesame Street sign on it. The figure of Ernie is a really interesting design and well made given the materials. As the hat is made if foam it is easily damaged or torn. I doubt these would last very long once given to a young child and suspect the hats would be quite rare in mint condition.

 
 
Here are some really well made plush Bert and Ernie walking finger puppets made by Gund. The copyright date on the back of the card packaging is 2007. Big Bird, Elmo, Grover and Cookie Monster were also available in this series. The puppets are operated by placing your fingers inside the legs.

In 2010 Hasbro/Playskool made this plush toy of the new Sesame Street character, Murray. The toy is 9.5 inches tall and is the first Murray plush toy to be made. I've seen this character on Sesame Street a few times now and, no disrespect to the puppeteers or Muppet folks who created him, but I really find Murray to be quite annoying. Quite possibly the most annoying puppet on TV. He is basically just a big flapping puppet mouth that is actually shoved into the TV screen. Additionally, his voice is annoying and it doesn't seem like the Sesame folks are trying to make him a genuine, interesting character. He is just the basic "Hi Kids, I'm a happy puppet, look at me" type. "Oh boy! I'm such a happy puppet. Isn't my voice weird? I can talk this way cause I'm a puppet." That's basically Murray.
 
In 2015 the Funko toy company produced a series of ten Sesame Street collectable figures as part of their extremely popular "Pop!" series. Just a few years earlier in 2012 a series of ten Muppet characters was produced based on the new films "The Muppets" and "Muppets Most Wanted". The Kermit figure from that collection is shown above along with the Sesame figures of Count, Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus. Below are the figures out of the boxes.

More info about Funko toys that have to do with Henson characters has been posed on this blog here:
 
Here are 9 of the 11 figures from the Funko Pop Sesame Street collection: Super Grover, Oscar the Grouch, Bert, Ernie, Snuffleupagus, Count, Grover, Big Bird, and the Exclusive Herry Monster released in March 2017. I'm just missing Cookie Monster and Elmo to complete the set. Flocked variants were also made for some of the figures along with an orange Oscar variant (because the original Oscar puppet from the Sesame Street pilot had orange fur).
 
Here is the back of the Big Bird box showing all ten figures in the set at that point.
 
Here is a closer look at the "Funko Specialty Series" Herry Monster figure and the box.
 
 

Photos and Text © Mike Artelle

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