Mikey's Muppet Memorabilia Museum

Mikey's Muppet Memorabilia Museum

Sesame Street: 1969-1979

This page presents Sesame Street collectables that were produced during the first ten years of the shows run on TV. Right out of the gate Sesame Street proved to be a major force in merchandising, resulting with a diverse range of Sesame products that included toys, books, records, clothing and housewares.

This was the decade that established Big Bird, Ernie, Bert, Grover, Cookie Monster, and Oscar the Grouch as household names across North America. On toy store shelves the characters proved to be big competition, even against Disney and other iconic children's characters. For any TV series to last ten years on television is an extremely significant accomplishment. Yet, by the end of the decade Sesame Street merchandising was still in high demand. Without question the popularity of Sesame Street was still traveling at full speed with no signs of slowing down.

The original series of 1970's Sesame Street hand puppets were such a success that they were manufactured for a full decade from the early 1970s to the early 1980s. In order to explain their remarkable history I've featured them on their own page of this blog, here:

Sesame Street Finger Puppets
In addition to making toy hand puppets, the Child Guidance toy company also made soft rubber finger puppets during the1970's. These are among my most favourite Muppet collectables. As with the original Sesame Street hand puppets, these finger puppets were first introduced by Topper/Educational Toys in 1971. Then in 1973 Questor/Child Guidance took over production of the Sesame line of puppets, including the finger puppets.

Originally, Topper/Educational Toys only offered six characters (top row, left to right): Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Grover. These were sold individually on cards and in two different boxed gift sets of five characters each. Oscar and Grover were alternated in the gift sets, with boxes changed to have the correct character's name under the puppet. The set with Oscar was clearly the original boxed version of these puppets as there is an illustration of Oscar's trash can on the box insert behind the character. This was not removed from the packages when the sets with Grover were produced. The other four characters remained the same, and in the same position, for both boxed sets.

Child Guidance offered five additional Sesame Street characters that Topper/Educational Toys did not make. These are (bottom row, left to right) Roosevelt Franklin, Lefty the Salesman (marketed simply as "The Salesman"), Sherlock Hemlock, The Count, and Herry Monster. That being said, I wouldn't be surprized if the Topper/Educational Toys finger puppet set had included Roosevelt Franklin as well, as they did make a hand puppet of the character. So far however, I have yet to see a Topper/Educational Toys carded Roosevelt finger puppet. Child Guidance introduce a Roosevelt finger puppet into their collection in 1974 along with Lefty the Salesman and Sherlock Hemlock. The Count and Herry Monster finger puppets were not introduced until 1978, by which time the Roosevelt, Lefty and Sherlock finger puppets had all been discontinued. 

Although the Child Guidance 1974 product catalogue introduced the three characters "Roosevelt Franklin, The Salesman, Sherlock Hemlock" as being "new", they had already been offered in the 1973 Eaton's Christmas catalogue (shown above as seen on page 460). As such these toys may have been available as early as September 1973 in order for them to be included in the catalogue, which would have been distributed in October 1973. Here is a link to a website about vintage department store catalogues that explains the release dates of these catalogues in more detail: http://www.collectorville.net/index.php/ct-menu-item-3 

That being said, a picture of  the Sesame Street toy hand puppet "Anything Muppet" shown on the same page just below the finger puppets is clearly a prototype, as it is nothing like the actual toy that was produced. This brings into question weather or not toys pictured in this Eaton's Christmas catalogue had been available in stores prior to the catalogue being created. In any case, it's clear that the toys would have had to be available at some point in late 1973 if they were being ordered for Christmas 1973!

The Eaton's catalogue also offered the finger puppet characters in sets of three, however these would have been the individual carded figures as they were never packaged by Child Guidance in sets of three. Department stores often grouped small individually carded toys into sets, such action figures, toy cars, or these Sesame finger puppets, as this simplified selling such toys through a catalogue.

Here is a link to a site that has the entire Eatons 1973 Christmas catalogue available for viewing:

Unfortunately, the hats for Lefty the Salesman and Sherlock Hemlock brake off easily which makes them hard to find complete. Today, carded Roosevelt, Lefty and Sherlock examples are quite hard to find. However of all these Sesame finger puppets, the Count and Herry Monster are the most difficult characters to find as they were added to the collection in 1978 and discontinued in 1979. Yet, even though they are both rare, in my experience Herry seems to show up on e-bay more often than the Count. As such, I find the Count finger puppet is super rare and very hard to find in any condition.

Update Nov 2016: I'm very happy to finally add the Child Guidance Count finger puppet to my collection! Talk about being late to the party! Even though he has some issues with the paint flaking off and his purple is a tad faded, I'm very glad to have him and to at last complete the set...Yayyy!!! :)

The Count finger puppet for the 1970's Child Guidance set is holding the numbers 1, 2, 3, not to be mistaken with the 1980s Applause finger puppet of the Count, which has one arm raised up and no numbers! The Child Guidance Count finger puppet is quite rare, while the Applause Count finger puppet is not rare at all and can be found quite easily. I've seen e-bay auctions for the Applause Count finger puppet asking crazy amounts. Don't get tricked! The Applause Count, as awesome as it is, is not worth more than $5, and even that is generous!

When Questor/Child Guidance took over the Sesame Street finger puppet line, they sold the puppets on cards and, according to their product catalogues, offered two different boxed gift sets. However, I have never seen either of the Child Guidance boxed gift sets on e-bay or in photos of people's collections, which makes me wonder if they were actually produced. The first Child Guidance gift set was from 1973 and had the same characters as the Topper/Educational Toys set, with Grover as the fifth character. The characters were even packaged in the same order as the Topper gift set in the same style of box, but the box graphics were completely different. The second Child Guidance gift set is quite bizarre as it replaced Bert and Grover with two less popular characters, Sherlock Hemlock and Lefty the Salesman.

There are a number of variations for most of these finger puppets, including the colour of plastic used, paint colour, and even a moulding variations that makes differences in sculpting details and size. They can also be found with no markings on the bottom, or "Made in Hong Kong" marked in small letters or in larger letters, or "Made in Taiwan" in large letters. Here are a just few examples of the variations from my collection:

Ernie and Bert are both available with rooted hair (as shown above and below), with fake fur hair or with sculpted hair. The last two variations are less common. Ernie was originally sold with his nose painted burgundy (above left), which was later changed to red (center and right). His shirt was also later changed to light blue (right) instead of dark blue. Even the orange plastic of his face can be lighter or darker.

Here is an example of the size difference for the Bert finger puppet. I believe the larger one is the Topper/Educational Toys version.

All of these Cookie Monster finger puppets are different! The first one on the left has separate eyes that were attached with just the iris painted, while all others have the eyes sculpted as part of the mould and are completely painted (both the white and black). The "attached eyes" Cookie Monster is the Topper/Educational Toys version from 1971. The next three each have different sized pupils and use different thicknesses of plastic making some softer than others. The last one is light blue instead of dark blue plastic, and is quite solid.
Here is the Topper/Educational Toys Big Bird finger puppet on the left, next to a Child Guidance Big Bird finger puppet, second from left. Notice the detail in the feathers for the Topper/Educational Toys version is more pronounced than the Child Guidance copy. It is also made out of softer plastic. Unfortunately the tip of the beak is damaged. The other three Big Bird puppets are also each different. The middle one is slightly smaller than the Child Guidance puppet, the second last Big Bird on the right has a black trim on the eyelids, and the far right Big Bird has light blue trim on the eyelids with light blue irises.

 All of these Oscar the Grouch finger puppets are different! The first one is very soft plastic with the irises painted closer to the top of his eyes, making him look grouchier. All of the others have the irises more to the centre of the eye. The second one from the left is a very dark green plastic, and the third one, in the middle, is a larger sized copy than the others. Then next one is a slightly different colour green from the others, and the last one is very bright green. They also have different coloured eyebrows, alternating between dark or light brown paint. The thicknesses of plastic are also different.

I only have two examples of Grover, very dark blue and a lighter dark blue. I've seen an even lighter blue version as well.

Variations for the Child Guidance Roosevelt Franklin finger puppet: The one on the left has an unpainted yellow shirt (it is yellow plastic), while the one on the right has an orange painted shirt over top of the yellow plastic, while the yellow collar is left unpainted. Why they bothered to paint the shirt is beyond me!?

I have two different Lefty the Salesman examples, though this may just be the plastic greying over time. The puppet on the left is made with a darker, greyer tinted plastic than the one on the right (as seen with the trench coat which is unpainted). The green paint for the puppet on the left is also slightly darker, more of a mossy green, while the one on the right is bright green. Unfortunately Lefty's hat breaks off easily so it is often missing from loose copies, as is the case with the puppet on the right.

Sherlock Hemlock variations include very dark green paint for his outfit, on the left, and a brighter dark green (if that makes sense!) on the right. The face paint is also slightly darker for the puppet on the left.  As with Lefty the Salesman, Sherlock Hemlock's hat breaks off easily so it is often missing from loose copies, as is the case with the puppet on the right.

I'm not aware of any variations for the Count or Herry Monster, though I doubt there would be any as they weren't made for very long.

The Sesame Street finger puppets also have a wide variety of packaging variations which is fun for collectors! I have yet to start down that road however! The packaging and puppet variations get even more diverse if the internationally produced toys are taken into consideration. As with the larger hand puppets, Vicma produced variations of these finger puppets in Spain and other markets, however Herry and the Count seem to only have been available in North America.

In Mexico, the toy company Lily Ledy produced Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster and Oscar, as well as Abelardo (an orange crocodile) and Paco (a green parrot) from "Plaza Sesemo" as finger puppets, adding two more characters to the collection! They're on my wish list to own someday!!!

More Sesame Street Toys

Child Guidance also made these nifty "Stack Up" 3D puzzles in the mid 1970s of Big Bird, Ernie, Bert and Oscar. I had all four of them when I was three or four years old but I lost the Big Bird one.  A few years ago, I replaced it with one I bought on e-bay. The other three shown above are the same ones I had since I was three! That explains why the bottom of Ernie's mouth is missing. I had also peeled off the stickers for each of their eyes, so I hand drew some replacements. Bert's nose also came off and was lost at one point! I've seen a Bert stack up puzzle on e-bay that had a blue shoulder piece instead of an orange one, which changed the order of the stripes.

Here is the Fisher-Price Little People Playset that was made in 1974. Eight figures were included with the playset. Above are Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster, Big Bird and Oscar. I'm missing the three human characters: Mr. Hooper, Susan and Gordon. Other than the street sign I'm missing all the accessories too. That being said, I'm glad to have this set as I found them all one piece at a time over a few years! Fisher-Price also made a boxed set of the original eight figures that came with this playset, as well as a clubhouse playset that included figures of Roosevelt Franklin, the Count, and Grover. A second and final boxed set of figures included Snuffleupagus, Prairie Dawn and Herry Monster. It's very rare to find. Below is a closer view of the figures.

Here is the Fisher-Price Movie Viewer which was very popular in its day. Kids would insert a cassette and then look through the end of the toy while turning the red crank shown above. You could make the movie go very fast or very slow, backward or forwards. It sounds simple by todays standards, but this toy was honestly hours of fun! 

Fisher-Price produced a wide rage of licenced cassette tapes for this toy including several Sesame Street films. The toy was introduced in 1973 and the first of several Sesame Street cassettes were sold in 1974. I have the Sesame Street cassette "Cookie Monster in the Kitchen" which has a copyright date 1977. Below is a view of the other side of the toy.

Here are the three film cassettes that I have: Sesame Street, Disney's "Lonesome Ghosts" and Charlie Brown. Here is a remarkable web site that documents all of these Fisher-Price cassettes: http://www.thisoldtoy.com/fisher-price/dept-1-audio-vis-mus/f-movie-viewer/a-index.html#4

Here is the Fisher-Price Oscar the Grouch pull toy from 1977. This toy originally had a yellow plastic cord on the front with a squeeze pump at the end that made Oscar pop out of his can. I stuck a pencil in the back to keep the lid open for the photo, to show what Oscar looks like.

Knickerbocker produced the very first plush toys of Sesame Street characters in the 1970s. Shown here is the first series of smaller sized plush toys: Big Bird is 11", Cookie Monster is 8.5", and Oscar the Grouch is 10". These plush toys were very popular and common in their day and definitely have a vintage look to them. These days they're becoming a little harder to find, but are certainly not rare collectables. They pop up on e-bay or at thrift shops from time to time. Knickerbocker would later produce two more "smaller-sized" series of plush toys based on this initial set. This was in addition to a "large-sized" series of plush toys. In my opinion, all of these early Knickerbocker toys are must have pieces for serious Muppet memorabilia collectors. A beanie sized plush toy of Grover (without his Super Grover costume) was later added to this set, but he's much harder to find than the others which is why he's not in this photo!

Here is a very odd set of the first series Knickerbocker plush toys with very noticeable variations. I bought this set on e-bay from a seller in the USA around 2005. In my experience these variation plush toys are much less common than those shown in the first picture above. Big Bird is made with a brighter yellow and his beak is longer and squared at the end, Cookie Monster is light blue instead of dark blue, and Oscar is shaped somewhat differently, especially his head, and is made in a brighter green. I haven't yet seen a variation for the Grover doll.

The second series of smaller sized plush toys made by Knickerbocker has the characters dressed up in different career outfits. Big Bird is a Firefighter (I'm missing the red jacket that he originally came with), Cookie Monster is a Baker (with removable apron), and Oscar seems to be a train conductor or a garbage man. In any case he's wearing overalls and is ready to work...somewhere. Unfortunately this Oscar's eyes have yellowed over time, but I've seen other copies of this toy that still have white eyes. The red bandana around his neck is removable.

The second series also included Super Grover. This plush toy was very popular and is very easily found today compared to the Grover plush toy from series one. Shown next to Grover is Herry Monster, also by Knickerbocker. This Herry plush toy is super-ultra-rip-my-hair-out-rare to find...and thanks to e-bay I finally got one! Bask in his shaggy blue awesomeness!!! The Grover and Herry plush toys are about 15 inches tall. It's my understanding that Knickerbocker also made a larger size plush toy of Herry to go with the large plush series. Both small and large Herry toys are rare finds.

The third series of smaller-sized (9 inches seated) plush toys to be produced by Knickerbocker are musical dolls with a wind up key on their bums. They both play "Pop Goes the Weasel". Above are Cookie Monster and Big Bird. Oscar was also made for this set. The back view is shown below. All of the smaller sized cookie monster plush toys have the same sized eyes except for this one, which has even smaller sized eyes and a smaller head.

In Nov 2018 I was contacted by a Muppet fan, Adam, who submitted these pictures of a musical Big Bird plush toy, made by Knickerbocker during the mid to late 1970s or early 1980's. There appeared to have been two variations of the toy, one with short fur (shown on the left) and one with longer fur (on the right). The Muppet wiki website says that this plush toy is supposed to play the Sesame Street theme song, however these two specific toys play a music box version of the popular Joe Rasopo song "Sing". Below is the back view showing the wind up keys which are on opposite sides, making for two very distinct variations. Thank you for the photos Adam!


Here are four different sizes of the large-sized Knickerbocker Cookie Monster plush toys from the 1970s, along with the smaller 8 inch plush toy for size comparison. This series also included Grover, Oscar and Snuffleupagus (all shown below). A plush toy of Herry Monster was also offered in this series for a very short time and therefore is harder to find. This was a very popular series of plush toys in its time and was made through to the early 1980s. The toys are quite crude looking and shaggy, however taking a moment to gently comb the fur will improve the look of them. (I have a plastic brush set aside that I use only for puppets and plush toys.) Shown here, left to right, are 20 inch, 17 inch, 15.5 inch, 12.5 inch plush toys of Cookie Monster, with the 8 inch toy in front. The 20 inch Cookie plush toy is a bit creepy to have around, so I keep it packed away in a bag! :)

Here is the hang tag from the 20 inch Cookie Monster. It has a price tag sticker that says "RED'S $14.99". I bought this one with the 17 inch Cookie plush toy on e-bay around 2005. The back view of the hang tag is shown below. The copyright date is 1975. Click on the photo to see a larger view.

Here is the tag from the 17" Cookie Monster. The back view is shown below and is slightly different from the 20 inch tag. Once again, the copyright date is 1975.

I've noticed a variation for the 12.5 inch Cookie Monster's eyes. The toy shown here on the left has smaller sized irises painted more to the front of the eye, while the toy shown on the right has larger irises painted more towards the top of the eyes. This second version has a manufacturers tag that says "GANZ BROS TOYS LTD. Toronto, Canada". This was the Canadian distributer for Knickerbocker.

Talking versions (with pull string) of these toys were also made. I have a talking 16 inch Oscar in my collection (shown below). After posting this Muppet Memorabilia Museum page, I've received comments and e-mails from folks who had the talking Cookie Monster and Grover. No word yet if there was a talking Snuffleupagus.

Here are four different Knickerbocker large sized Grover plush toys. Shown here , left to right, are 28 inch (top of head to toes, 17 inch sitting), 19 inch (with legs), 17 inch (with legs), 20 inch (with legs.

Grover was made in two styles, with an open mouth or a closed mouth. It is my understanding that the open mouth version was the original style available in the early or mid 1970s, and the toy was later modified to be the closed mouth version offered in the mid to late 1970s and early 1980s. My reasoning has to do with Grover's eyes....

The earlier version of these Grover plush toys had eyes that were made out of two oval pieces of thin plastic (or vinyl), one black and one white, that were attached with a black button fastener as the iris. This is shown above on the light blue Grover, which has an open mouth. The eyes are rather cheep looking and break easily. This style of eye was very common on toys that were given out as prizes at carnivals or fairs in the 1970s.

Later versions of Grover plush toys have eyes that are each one plastic piece and painted with the white and black parts of the eye, as shown above on the dark blue Grover toys, which have a closed mouth. This is likely an improvement that was added to the toys at some point to phase out the cheaper two piece eyes. Note however that the black iris for each of these was painted differently, with the one on the left more rounded that the one on the right. The Grover on the right is the shortest one that I have. For some reason, it's filled with Styrofoam pellets (again, like the plush toy prizes from carnivals) rather than soft polyester stuffing.

In the mid 1970s Grover's eyes were modified again to have a full circle iris painted, which is what Grover's eyes should have had all along.

Fuzzy and Blue: I've also noticed that light blue Knickerbocker Grover plush toys are not as common as the dark blue version. The light blue Grover shown above is the only one I've ever seen. Usually the open mouth Grover toys have dark blue fur. As this is an earlier version it is possible that the company was still trying out the colours for each character to see if dark blue or light blue fur looked better, or if one sold more than the other. Note that the large Cookie Monster toys shown above are all light blue, but the character is actually supposed to be dark blue. Yet, Knickerbocker only made the smaller 8 inch sized plush toy of Cookie Monster dark blue (shown above). The Child Guidance Cookie Monster puppet is also dark blue. As these were the first ever plush toys of these characters, Knickerbocker had to figure out how to sell them and the colour choice seems to have been an important piece of the puzzle. Cookie Monster plush toys have been light blue, or bright blue, ever since with only a few exceptions while Grover has always been dark blue.

Here is the hang tag from the 28 inch Grover. It has a price sticker that says "RED'S $15.78". I bought this from the same e-bay seller that sold me the two Cookie Monster toys with hang tags. The back of the tag is shown below. The copyright date is 1976 (instead of 1975, as noted on the Cookie Monster tags).

Here are the large Knickerbocker plush toys of Oscar, in two different sizes along with the two 8 inch toys for size comparison. Shown here, left to right, are 19 inch (with legs), 16 inch (with legs), and the 16 inch talking version. For some odd reason, Knickerbocker made Oscar with a red felt tongue even though Oscar doesn't have a tongue. The 19 inch version shown here has a tag on the back that has the GANZ BROS TOYS info. Notice the different colours and thicknesses of brown fur used for the eyebrows for each of these. The third Oscar (the non-talking 16 inch toy) is missing the plastic eyes as they would break easily, so I have Styrofoam ball halves in place to hold the shape. This plush toy is also a lighter green than the others. I got this one for my ninth birthday in the early 1980s from my Aunt, who took me to Toy City at Westgate mall to pick out a toy. I was allowed to spend nine dollars, and even though Oscar was $9.99 my aunt bought him for me anyways! :) 

Here is a closer look at the 16 inch talking Oscar. The front and back view are shown. He has a metal ring attached to his pull string. I'm quite lucky that this talking Oscar toy still works, as these talking toys are often broken. Oscar has six different sayings:

"Have a yucky day!"
"I live in a trash can"
"Be a Grouch like me!"
"Don't pull my string!"
"I love trash"
"Want a Sardine Sundae?"

Here are the larger Knickerbocker plush toys of Snuffleupagus. Shown here are 15 inch (with hang tag, USA version), 15 inch (Canadian version), and 12 inch (Canadian). The Canadian versions have a tag sewn at the back with the GANZ info. It's interesting that Snuffy was included in the original line of plush toys as he was rarely marketed. Snuffy was only made during the 1970s as by the 1980s this toy was dropped from production. However, this is in no way a rare toy as it is easily found on e-bay, which is where I bought the one with the hang tag.

Here is a side view to show the shape of the toys (though it looks like this could be "The Great Migration of the Snuffleupagus"). Snuffy is made in a sitting position. The USA 15 inch version of the toy (with hang tag) is much slimmer than the Canadian/Ganz 15 inch version. Below is a top view to show the different sizes of the tails.

The Canadian/Ganz Bro Snuffy (right) has much smaller irises that the USA version (left).

This photo seems kind-a rude! :) Snuffy has a mouth/lip attached under his trunk. The mouth for the 15 inch Canadian/Ganz version (center) is larger than the USA version (left). 

The USA version of Snuffy also has a different tail, which is made and stuffed as part of the body of the toy, while the tail on both sizes of the Canadian/Ganz version is much smaller and is sewn in at the seam (which allows it to wag side to side). 

Here is the hang tag for Snuffy. The back view is shown below. It has a copyright date of 1976. Click the photo to see a larger version.

Here are the many different sizes of Ernie and Bert rag dolls made by Knickerbocker in the 1970s. I'm missing the 15 inch Ernie doll. The clothes (shirt and pants) are removable from all of these dolls except for the smallest size. I once saw a giant sized version of the Bert rag doll that was about five feet tall sitting down! Likely there would have also been a matching Ernie. Needless to say, those giant sized dolls are quite rare. Toy vechicles such as a truck or bicycle were made for the smallest size rag dolls. The smallest size also had other characters in the set, including Oscar, Cookie Monster, Big Bird and the Count. A plush car was made for either the 6 inch or 9 inch dolls (I'm not sure which). Talking versions were also made, likely for the 15 inch dolls. The Count (shown below) and Betty Lou were also made as rag dolls in this series. Here are the sizes: Bert came in 27", 15", 10", 7" and 4.5". Ernie came in 25", likely 14" (to match with 15" Bert), 9", 6", and 4".

I've found some variations for the 10" Bert and 9" Ernie dolls. Bert has variations for both his shirt and pants while Ernie has a variation for his pants. This 9 inch set of Ernie and Bert dolls were available in the 1975 Sears Christmas catalogue.

Here is a 7" Bert with removable shirt and pants next to a 6" Ernie with removable shirt only. The pants are sewn on as part of the doll. The last 6" Ernie (on the far right) has the clothes printed. A plush car with plastic wheels and a working horn was made for these 6 inch dolls, though I have never seen it in the original box. Knickerbocker was also making Disney rag dolls at the time and made a similar plush car for their Mickey Mouse Club series. It came with 6 inch dolls of Mickey and Pluto. I found a picture of the Disney car in the original box and assume the Sesame car came in similar packaging.

Here is the smallest sized rag dolls. Bert and Ernie have printed clothes but I've noticed there are variations to the illustration for Bert's collar and the length of this shirt, while the stripes on Ernie's shirt are wider on the second Ernie (on the right). This smallest set also had other characters, including Oscar, Big Bird, the Count and the 3" Cookie Monster shown here.

These miniature rag dolls were sold with playsets and vehicles in 1976 as part of a series called "People in the Neighborhood". Here is a list of items:

Carded sets:
Ernie cowboy set with plastic horse, saddle, and cowboy hat
Cookie monster airplane set with plastic red plane, suitcase and back pack
Big Bird and playset with tire swing and slide

Small boxed sets:
Ernie with an ice cream truck
Bert with a fire truck
Bert with a police car
Oscar with a garbage truck
Cookie Monster with a yellow truck (not sure what type of truck)
Big Bird with a mail truck
The Count with a taxi

Large boxed set:
Ernie and Oscar Motorbike: a motorcycle that has a trash can sidecar, a gas station with gas pump, and a traffic light
Camping set: with Ernie, Oscar and Big Bird, a plastic red truck, canoe, and tent. The Big Bird that comes with this camping set has plastic legs and printed, illustrated feathers, which is quite different from the carded Bid Bird.
Sesame Express train set: comes with at least four train cars, tracks, Big Bird and Cookie Monster

Knickerbocker also made tote bags with a pocket on the side that held a miniature rag doll, though I'm not certain if it was the 4 inch or 6 inch doll. I recall seeing one with either a Cookie Monster or Oscar doll in the pocket. Today the tote bag is not as common as the playsets, but they were quite popular back in the 70s. The Muppet Wiki website has a few images:

This is the 14" Talking Count rag doll by Knickerbocker. I've shown it below next to the 15" Bert for size comparison. This doll is broken and no longer "talks", but originally it had a pull string on the back. The 15 inch Ernie and Bert rag dolls were available in the 1975 Wards Christmas catalogue. I'm not certain specifically when the Count doll was made, likely the mid to late 1970s.

That's one! One missing pair of pants! Ah! Ah! Ah!

In addition to the rag dolls, kickerbocker produced stufed toys of Bert and Ernie in two different sizes. Bert came in 15" and 12" (though I also have a 13" version of the smaller doll), and Ernie came in 13" and 11". The smaller sized dolls were very popular and are more commonly found than the larger versions. Hasbro later continued to produce the smaller sized dolls well into the late 1980s.

The many eyes of Bert.

Here are some variations that I've found for Bert's eyes. On the left is the original version with felt eyes (with a ripped off unibrow, ouch!), then the thinner fabric eyes, then the last two have progressively larger irises.

This is the portable Big Bird Radio made in the mid to late 1970s. I found this one at a thrift store with the radio section missing, so now it's just a hollow figure. The nest section is where the radio was installed. The Big Bird figure is made from soft rubber similar to the Child Guidance finger puppets that were popular at the time. The same company that made this radio also made one with Ernie and Bert attached to the top. Below is the back view.

This is the Missing Match-Ups game by Milton Bradley, made in 1976. I had this game when I was very young but didn't keep it for my collection. Some time ago I found this one at a thrift store and was glad to see that it was complete and in good condition. What's so awesome about this game is that it features many of the early Sesame Street characters that are unfortunately no longer on the program. On the cover of the box is Sherlock Hemlock the detective, who was a popular character at the time, along with Ernie and Rubber Duckie.

Sherlock Hemlock was featured on the game board as well. Of course, the idea of the game is to find the matching pictures, numbers or letters.

The game came with two large cards that were printed on both sides. These went under the game board to allow for different matching games. The card shown at the top (Slide B) has pictures of Ernie, Bert, and Rubber Duckie, which I've also shown below.

The other card shown above (Slide D) has pictures of Grover, Roosevelt Franklin, Magic Mumford, Oscar the Grouch and an Anything Muppet boy on a TV set.


The reverse of the Slide D card shows Slide A with Big Bird, Sherlock Hemlock, Betty Lou, Frazzle and Sam the Robot. This is one of the few items of Sesame merchandize that featured Sam the Robot as the character was written off the show. Frazzle, who is also rarley marketed, is also seen on the cover of the Sesame Street Monsters record which includes a song about him.


The reverse of the Slide B card has Slide C with Cookie Monster, the Count, and Prairie Dawn.


In the late 1970s Milton Bradley (Hasbro) produced at least 20 puzzles featuring Sesame Street characters. These puzzles had rather oddly shaped pieces. This puzzle shows Magic Mumford with Grover and was made in 1976. The company continued making more Sesame puzzles in the 1980's, so I've shown a few more on the next page of this blog.

 Here is the completed puzzle, shown above, and the unique puzzle pieces shown below.

 This puzzle is also from 1976 and shows Herry Monster with Oscar the Grouch.

This Big Bird puzzle is from 1978.

Here is a Cookie Monster shaped place mat from 1978.
Here is a picture of a picture! This is a large (18.5" X 24") framed poster of Ernie and Bert from 1978, produced by American Publishing Corp.

This is an even larger (35" X 23") framed poster of Super Grover dated 1979, produced by American Publishing Corp. Sherlock Hemlock (left), Guy Smiley (centre) and Betty Lou (right) are looking up at Super Grover. It's not noticeable at first, but Betty Lou is actually to high up in this photo compared with Guy Smiley. Her head should be closer to his chin level rather than his forehead, unless she's standing on a stepladder! It's a great rare photo none the less, and one of the rare occasions that Guy Smiley was marketed. Speaking of which, all three of the supporting characters looking up at Grover were marketed in Spain by Vicma as toy hand puppets, all of which are hard to find today.

This is a Birthday cake candle made by Wilson in 1979. It's 3 3/8 inches tall. The Wilson company also made Star Wars candles in this same style that were sold at the same time. I used to have Chewbacca and R2-D2 from that set.

This is a complete set of Wilson cake topper figures from the late 1970's or early 1980's. They are often called PVC figures on e-bay but they are made out of hard plastic. Oscar is hollow with no bottom to his trash can. Ernie and Bert are somewhat fragile and can break off of their base easily, which has happened to my Ernie figure. I managed to balanced him on the base for the photo! The tip of Big Bird's hat has also broken off. I was very happy to find these on my birthday cake when I was a kid, and saved them in my Muppet collection!

These are paper Christmas tree decorations of Betty Lou and Bert as angels from the late 1970's (1977 or 1978) that I made when I was a kid. They are from a Sesame Street Christmas decoration craft book that had punch out pieces. It was similar to a colouring book and was likely made by Golden books or Whitman. I have never seen another copy of this book and would love to have a brand new, un-punched copy of it. Somehow these two paper decorations survived when my family moved from Ottawa to Milton and back again, before I became obsessed about collecting Muppets and put them away for safe keeping in my collection.

Some of the other decorations from the book can be seen on our Christmas tree in the photo below...

That's me in 1979 on Christmas morning in Milton, ON, wearing Winnie the Pooh onesie pyjamas while playing with my new Kermit the Frog Muppet Movie puzzle. Santa also brought me a Child Guidance Big Bird puppet for Christmas that year! (I was a very quiet and reserved kid and am actually very excited in this photo, though it doesn't look that way at all! LOL) On the tree in the background above my head is the paper Oscar the Grouch decoration, the bottom branch on the right has Cookie Monster in a wreath. The back of another paper figure is on the left bottom. Presumably the Betty Lou and Bert decorations would have also been on that tree... somewhere. Unless of course that's why they survived, because they weren't on the tree!

I still have the Kermit puzzle and posted a photo of it on "The Muppet Show 1976 -1981" page of this blog, here: http://mikeysmuppetmemorabiliamuseum.blogspot.ca/p/muppet-show-1976-1980.html

 Here are some patterns from a vintage children's bed sheet. There's no date on the tag but it looks like it would be from the late 1970s or early 1980s.  Bert, Grover and Big Bird are shown above, while Ernie and Cookie Monster are shown below.

This is the tag which says "The Sesame Sheet", which I thought was a funny play on words.

This is an Oscar the Grouch baby squeeze toy made by Tommee Tippee in the 1970's or early 1980's. It's three inches tall and a very nice looking figure of Oscar. He has black eyebrows instead of brown.

Photos and Text © Mike Artelle


  1. Hi Mike! Just wanted to let you know that these puppets were also sold in Spain in the 70s by the brand Vicma, I had a few of them. They also made other models, like these:




  2. Hi Koldo, thanks for the info. I had seen the Vicma puppets online but was too lazy to add all the info about them here. However, I've now updated this page. Too bad those Vicma puppets are so costly, they are awesome! I'd love to add Guy Smiley to my collection... someday maybe? Thanks again.

  3. The 1970s and early 1980s Dark Blue Grover had came in plush and had a pull string that plaed some of his favorite phrases as well.

  4. I've been looking for my favorite childhood toy. It was a cookie monster with a pull string that sang "c is for cookie". It was the early 70s. Ever seen one?

    1. Hi Lori
      Regretfully I haven't seen one. That sounds like an awesome Cookie Monster toy! Hope you find one again someday.

  5. Hello, i am a collector of these old puppets and only need to find the count.. the hard vinyl head version. I hope you can help me somehow since it rarely appears on ebay and when it does not complete. I have the head and body already but he original hands are missing. I hope you can help me with this? Greetings Paul

    1. Not sure of you are still looking. I have several of the count hard vinyl. I think one may have the box. I have a gigantic count collection. I am going to my aunts june 9th to get the entire collection. Long story short i need to downsize. So if you are interested in that count or others, let me know. I have all counts on these pages. I collected from childhood until i was in my late30s.

    2. I have a count puppet if you are still looking

  6. Hi Paul
    The vinyl head Count puppet is very, very rare item, so it will be difficult to find one. When it does turn up it will likely be pricey as this is an item many Sesame collectors are interested in. All you can do is keep searching. Hope you find one soon. All the best.

  7. Hi there...doing some cleaning out of my parents' home and found my 17" Plush Cookie Monster with rattle eyes. (I probably received it in or close to 1975.) After looking around on the internet to see if it was worth something, I saw that the tags listed looked the same as mine EXCEPT mine has a #3 on it, above the Reg. No.. I didn't notice that on any other tag. Does this indicate anything? Thanks so much! ~Carol

    1. Hi Carol
      That's a good question, unfortunately I haven't got a clue! I'm also not sure what tag you mean (the hang tag or the tag sewn onto the toy?). In any case, having a number 3 on the tag doesn't sound like it would be that important, at least not that I know of. I think the fact that it's the 17 inch version is more important. In my experience the larger Knickerbocker plush toys tend to be the more difficult ones to find because they are so big, and take up space, people tended not to hold onto them as long as they would with the smaller plush toys. Meaning that the larger toys were the first to end up in flea markets and thrift shops back in the late 70's and throughout the 1980s. As such they were simply discarded if a new owner couldn't be found. They weren't considered to be collectors items, unlike today. Truth be told, I find those larger plush toys can be kinda creepy looking, especially when the fur gets messy! :)

  8. I've recently come across a 12" cookie monster that has the wind-up music box key and plays what I believe is the C is for cookie song. This version doesn't have the band uniform. Any info on him? Thanks

    1. Hey that's cool! Without a photo it's hard to confirm, but if it's similar to the other Knickerbocker plush toys it's likely also made by Knickerbocker and from the mid to late 1970's or early 80's. They made quite a few different Cookie Monster plush toys. Yours doesn't seem to be listed on the Muppet wiki site: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Sesame_Street_plush_(Knickerbocker)

  9. Hi Mike! Thanks so much for this blog, as a child of the 80's its so nice to see the vintage Sesame Street items and have fond memories scrolling through the pages! I have a question I'm hoping you'd be able to answer. I'm trying to pin point the correct version of a plush Super Grover in order to begin a search to buy one for my boyfriend. He had a rather unfortunate upbringing and has absolutely zero mementos from his childhood. Super Grover was his absolute favorite and I'd love to be able to find him the version he most likely had as a kid in the 80's. We are both 36 so I'm assuming the right version might be from 82-90. Could it possibly be the Knickerbocker version pictured above with Herry? Your website has gotten me the furthest with finding the answer, any info you could give would be so greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    1. Hi Rachel, I'm glad my blog has been helpful. To my knowledge the Knickerbocker Super Grover plush toy from the 1980s was the very first super Grover plush toy to be manufactured, and the only one that was available during that time period. Therefore I think it's safe to say that the knickerbocker toy is the one your boyfriend had as a kid. It was a very popular toy in its day (I had one as a kid too!), so it shouldn't be too hard to track one down if you check sites that allow folks to sell collectables such as eBay or kijiji. Best of luck!!!

    2. Hello again! The Muppet wiki site has a page of all the different super Grover plush toys with their dates: https://muppet.fandom.com/wiki/Super_Grover_plush The Knickerbocker doll is from the late 1970s and was available until at least the mid 80s. There are images showing a slight variation with the length of fur used during the production run, but it's not a major difference. The next company to make a super Grover after Knickerbocker was Applause in 1990, so your boyfriend would have been about seven years old at that point which makes me wonder if it could have been that one too? So if your boyfriend had the super Grover toy before he was seven, then it was definitely the knickerbocker one, but from age seven onward it could have been the applause one as well. They two toys look quite different from each other, so I'm sure your boyfriend would be able to identify which one it was. He is another page from the Muppet wiki site about Applause Sesame plush toys showing two different super Grover toys: https://muppet.fandom.com/wiki/Sesame_Street_plush_(Applause)

    3. Thanks so much for your input Mike! I was teetering between those two and they are quite different! I'm sure he'd know exactly which one he had if he saw them, but I'm going to try to be sneaky and get the info I need in order to know which one it is without him getting too suspicious, I'm trying very hard to surprise him. Thanks again, your knowledge is awesome and I appreciate you sharing it freely! :) ♥

  10. Hey mike, I was wondering if you could help me with something, I have an unidentified Sesame Street collectible. It's a kids bed sheet (I could be wrong it might be a curtain) with sesame street characters on it. I'm guessing it's from the late 80's or early 90's since it has Elmo on it

    1. Hi! Unfortunately I don't have any info to add. Sounds like a very cool vintage sheet though! :)

  11. Hey there, I have a wind up Oscar the grouch that goes with cookie monster and big bird playing pop goes the weasel... Slight wear on fur, very minor. Slightly yellowed eyes, but music still plays, just wondering the approximate value of this toy, should I give to my 2 ur old or box it up. Thanks

    1. In my experience the Oscar plush that goes with this set is harder to find than the other two characters in the collection. As for giving it to your 2 year old, I'll leave that up to you. :)