Here is a very nifty five inch doll of Ernie made by Knickerbocker in 1981. The shoes are attached as the doll's feet but the shirt and pants are removable. These dolls don't seem to be as common as the Ernie and Bert rag dolls Knickerbocker made (shown on the "Sesame Street 1969-1979" page). The box has a copyright date of 1981. An original price tag sticker on the front of the box says $6.79.
This is the back of the box for the above Ernie doll. It shows the other dolls available in the set, Big Bird, Cookie Monster (with chef hat), Bert and Ernie. A closer view is shown below.
It's too bad more characters weren't included in this series. It would have been awesome to have Super Grover, The Count, Roosevelt Franklin, Sherlock Hemlock, and others in this style.
Here is a closer look at the Ernie 5 inch doll. The matching Bert doll is on my "to find" list.
In 1981 Knickerbocker/Ganz Bros. made variations of their popular Bert and Ernie dolls in which the characters are wearing pyjamas. I only have the Bert doll, shown above. These pyjama version dolls are far less common than the original dolls. Unfortunately this doll has a seam on his left arm that has come undone.
Hasbro first began to make Sesame Street toys in the early 1980s under their Playskool brand. One of my favourite collections from Hasbro are the Sesame Street metal cars. Here is a photo showing 21 different vehicles. I've found three more since taking this picture for a total of 24 cars. There are 28 vehicles in the collection that I know of, so I'm only missing four of them: Grover's Helicopter, Ernie's Helicopter, Oscar's Trash Can Roadster (a trash can shaped car), and Bert's Snowplough. A yellow, plastic, flat carrying case in the shape of a school bus was also made for this collection.
These toy cars were quite popular and were sold throughout the 80's. In the early 1990's the series went through a transition, as shown on Muppet Wiki, when the toys were re-issued under the Kid Dimensions brand instead of Playskool. At this point four of the vehicles were reissued with Elmo in the drivers seat, and one was reissued with Zoe. Elmo's vehicles include a blue airplane (replacing Grover), a school bus (replacing Bert), a yellow taxi (again replacing Bert), and a dark green "Melody Mobile" (replacing Big Bird in the Musical Instruments Car). Zoe was released in a light green Melody Mobile. This brings the total up to 33 vehicles!
In 1998 Fisher-Price produced a similar series of Sesame Street toy cars which may cause confusion for collectors trying to identify specific cars. I discuss the Fisher-Price series on the "Sesame Street: 1990-1999" page of this blog. Muppet Wiki also shows a third set of die-cast Sesame vehicles that was later produced by Learning Curve in 2008-2009, and included Abby Cadabby. (I've seen a light brown version of Big Bird's Monster Truck from that set which isn't presently shown on Muppet Wiki.) A closer view of the Hasbro cars are shown below.
Update March 2018: I've finally added Oscar's Trash Can Roadster to the collection! A picture of it is included below.
Big Bird's green car, Popcorn Truck, and Dump Truck (missing the back section).
Big Bird's Mail Truck and Musical Instrument Car.
Ernie's Fire Truck, Race Car, and Bath Tub vechicle.
Bert's Taxi Cab, Pigeon Patrol Truck, and School Bus
Oscar's Garbage Truck, Jalopy Car, and Bulldozer
Oscar's Trash Can Roadster
(the license plate sticker says "TRASH")
Grover's Western Wagon, Speedster (silver spaceship), and Airplane
Snuffy in a row boat, the Count's Countmobile, and Herry Monster's Gym Mobile.
That's 25! 25 awesome Sesame Cars! Ah! Ah! Ah!
Here are two Sesame Street place mats from a set that was produced in 1981. I'm not sure how many different ones there were in this set, but I assume there were at least four, as was the case in 1982, shown below. I only have these two from the 1981 set. The back of the place mats have activities to do. The manufacturer info says "Playtime Placemats, B of A Inc." and "made in the USA".
Shown above and below are a set of four Sesame Street place mats that were made in 1982. Once again, the back of the place mats have activities to do. These were made by the same company as the 1981 set.
Here is a larger sized, hard plastic Cookie Monster pull toy made by Hasbro/Playskool in 1982. As the toy is pulled forward Cookie Monster's arm moves up and down to eat his cookie, and his legs peddle the bike. Below is a view showing the back of the toy with the sticker that says Cookie Monster.
This is an 11 inch plush Baby Ernie made by Hasbro/Playskool in 1983. It's made in the same style as the popular Knickerbocker Bert and Ernie plush toys from the 1970s, which Hasbro continued to produce in the 1980s.
Here are the Hasbro Sesame Babies from 1984. The series included Big Bird (if he's a baby wouldn't that be Little Bird?), Grover, Oscar the Grouch, and missing from my photo, Cookie Monster. The bonnets and diapers for these dolls were separate removable clothes which are often missing. This Big Bird is missing the bonnet. Each of the diapers has the character's name printed on it.
The Sesame Babies came into existence after the 1983 Muppets Take Manhattan movie spawned the Muppet Babies craze that lasted through to the early 1990's. The film portrayed the Muppet Show characters as babies for the first time, followed by a Muppet Babies animated series. See the Muppet Babies page of this blog for more info.
Since the Muppet Babies became so popular, the Sesame Street characters were quickly marketed in baby form, as seen with these plush toys. Disney's Mickey Mouse characters were also quick to follow the babies trend and competed with the Muppets for a share of the "baby" market in retail stores during the 1980's.
This is a music box made by Fisher-Price. There is no date on it however according to Muppet Wiki it was made in 1984. When the larger knob on the TV set is wound the music box plays the popular Sesame Street song "People in Your Neighborhood", as the illustrated paper scenery scrolls to the left.
The back of the toy is just plain green, with a Big Bird illustrated decal on the right side.
The left side of the toy has the lyrics of the song in English and French. Below I've shown the complete illustrated scenery cycle.
Here is the "Sesame Street Get Ready: Words" card game with a set of 30 large illustrated cards. Each card is dated 1978 but this set was made in 1986, produced by Golden. The cover of the box was illustrated by Tom Brandon and the cards were illustrated by Tom Cooke. Unfortunately this box is torn at the top.
Here is another item produced by Golden in 1986, a Sesame Street puzzle made out of thick card board. It's titled "The Shapes on Sesame Street" and has eight puzzle shapes that can be removed to reveal the name of the shape underneath. This one is missing the square piece above Oscar.
Here is the jumbo sized (or giant sized) plush Big Bird made by Hasbro/Playskool in 1986. It is 30 inches tall, head to foot, or 18 inches sitting.
This, without questions, is my favourite Big Bird plush toy. There will never be another Big Bird plush toy better than this one! I bought this in the mid to late 1980s at Toy City, Westgate Mall here in Ottawa. I recall that, as a kid, I had wanted this very, very badly and saved up my money forever to buy it. Eventually when I had enough I went with my Mom to the store to buy it. It was the happiest day of my life! :) As a kid, I used to ride around on my BMX bicycle with Big Bird sitting on the handlebars. People thought I was a bit nuts, and they were right. :)
Here is the side view to show the shape of the toy and his tail.
What I especially liked about this Big Bird was how Hasbro made the mouth. It looks just like a Muppet style mouth, which is awesome! Unfortunately, Sesame Street plush toys often don't have this type of detail. While this toy was in stores, Hasbro also had the license for Muppet Babies toys. I recall that the jumbo sized Baby Kermit plush toy was displayed next to this Big Bird on the toy store shelf. Many years later after I bought this Big Bird I found the Baby Kermit at a thrift store. A picture of it is on the Muppet Babies page of this blog, at this link:
Also in 1986, Hasbro/Playskool produced a series of plush Sesame Street mouth puppets that were more or less the right scale for the jumbo plush Big Bird toy, shown above. These puppets were sold in boxes. Two styles of box were made, some boxes say "Sesame Pals" on them, while others simply say that the toy is a puppet. The original four puppets to be released were Ernie, Oscar (shown above), Bert and Cookie Monster which all have the opening for controlling the puppets at the waist area on the back of the puppet, as shown below. Ernie's puppet opening is under the back of his shirt, Oscar's is where his fur meets the trash can. Big Bird and Grover (shown below) were added to the series later on and are controlled through the back of the head. These were all very well made and popular toys in their time. Unfortunately my examples of Ernie and Oscar are in very rough shape. Ernie's pants show fading from light damage.
Here are the Big Bird and Grover puppets made by Hasbro/Playskool in the late 1980's. These puppets were controlled through an opening in the back of the head. A version of this Grover puppet with darker blue fur was also made, but I find that this one looks better.
Here is a rare Sesame Park 50 piece puzzle with the Canadian Sesame Street Muppets, Dodie (a green skinned elderly woman who likes flying around in her airplane), Louie the Otter (a French and English speaking character), and Basil Bear (who learns how to speak French from his friend Louie). The copyright info on the side of the box says "© 1988 Children's Television Workshop, Sesame Street Muppet Characters © 1988 Muppets Inc." The longer side of the box has the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) logo next to English and French text "Les Entreprises Radio-Canada, CBC Enterprises, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 3A8". Therefore, when this puzzle was made the program was simply called "Canadian Sesame Street", and later in the 1990s it changed to "Sesame Park". There is a maple leaf logo on the front of the box in the top left corner that says "Sesame Street Canada".
The picture of this puzzle is a rather crudely rendered illustration and I find it to be a very bizarre choice for a puzzle. The characters and scenery are drawn with a black marker and then the picture is painted. In my opinion the arrangement of the characters is also poorly done as they are all bunched together in the middle of the picture, and their poses aren't very interesting. Basil the Bear is the only one whose face can be seen as the other two are looking away, which doesn't do much to promote the characters. This leaves me wondering if the CBC actually got a kid to do the drawing, or if they were just too cheap to license an actual photograph of the puppets from one of their own shows! How nice it would have been to have a Sesame Park puzzle showing the actual puppets. However, in a way the illustration sort of adds to the uniqueness of this hard to find Muppet collectable. Below is a view of the puzzle pieces, which are large-sized.
In the mid to late 1980's Tara Toy produced a series of "Tricky Trike" toys of Sesame characters on tricycles. When the toy is pushed forwards the character peddles the bike. Above is Bert on the original bubble card, which has been opened. Usually the back of Tara Toy cards show an assortment of other toys that are available, but this one is just solid yellow on the back. I purchased this toy at a BiWay discount store in the 1980's. As you can see by the price tag it was .66 cents! Not a bad deal.
Here is another view of Bert on the Tricky Trike. Big Bird was also made in this series, and the tricycles were made using different colours of plastic creating two versions for each character. Bert is available on a blue bike with red wheels, shown above, as well as a red bike with yellow wheels. Big Bird can be found on a red bike with yellow wheels, and a yellow bike with blue wheels. Aside from Bert and Big Bird there doesn't seem to be any other characters in this collection. I find it odd that Bert was made and Ernie wasn't as usually it's the other way around.
I've also shown the Tricky Trike toy next to the Tara Toy PVC Big Bird for size comparison. All of the Tara Toy PVC figures are on the "Sesame Street PVC Figures" page of this blog, here:
There are also at least three finger puppets based on a baseball theme, in which Big Bird is wearing a catchers outfit, Elmo is holding some baseball bats, and Bert has a ball and glove. Muppet Wiki lists these as being made by Applause, but the same page also shown the Tara Toys Bert finger puppet as being made by Applause, so I haven't yet confirmed what company made this baseball set. As there is a Bert baseball finger puppet, there is also likely to be one of Ernie to complete the set of four.
Big Bird with and orange life jacket
Elmo with tire tube around his waist
Ernie wearing a striped bathing suit
Bert with swimming flippers
In the late 1980s and early 1990s the Applause toy company held the license to produce Sesame Street toys, many of which were sold through the franchise of Muppet Stuff stores. Along with the above finger puppets they made plush toys, a VERY extensive series of PVC figures, hand puppets, and mouth puppets. Here is the Elmo puppet that I bought in 1990. The tag has a 20th anniversary logo on it and a copyright date of 1988. With this series of puppets, Applause was essentially continuing the series begun by Hasbro/Playskool. The entrance for controlling the Elmo puppet is through the back of the head (shown below) and the body is stuffed, which is the same as Hasbro's Big Bird and Grover puppets. I believe this is the very first Elmo puppet to be marketed, as the character was still relatively new around this time.
While they were offering their Sesame Street puppets, Applause also offered a wide selection of Sesame plush toys. This is a plush toy of Snuffleupagus which has a doll joint at the neck so that his head can be turned. An identical looking hand puppet of Snuffleupagus was also made. A variation of this plush toy was made with light brown fur which I think looks quite odd as the character is supposed to have dark brown fur.
Here is a closer look at the hag tags for the Count puppet and Elmo puppet.
In addition to the awesome series of Sesame Street mouth puppets, shown above, Applause also made a not-so-awesome series of hand puppets with stuffed heads (non-moving mouths). Here is the ugly Big Bird puppet from this collection. The other characters don't look as bad as this one. I've seen puppets of Bert, Ernie, Oscar and Grover for this series.
Here is a very soft and squishy 11 inch Cookie Monster plush toy that was made by Applause. Unfortunately the tag attached on the bottom of the toy doesn't have a date, but it's likely from the late 1988s or early 1990s. The apron is removable and says "Cookies make me happy". As if we didn't know that already! :)
This is a 13 inch plush Big Bird plush (9 inches sitting) with the original hang tag and plastic candy cane. It was made by Hasbro/Playskool in 1988. His hat is tacked on at the sides of his head but is otherwise removable. A similar plush Big Bird without the Santa suit was also produced at the same time.
I suspect that nobody will be surprised to see this in my collection. This is a very, very, very, very commonly found Ernie cookie jar. It doesn't have a date, makers marks, or any copyright info on it. During the 1980s this cookie jar was available through craft supply shops or pottery supply shops as a craft kit that you could bake in a kiln and paint yourself. Therefore, every one of these is hand painted by novice or semi-professional painters, which is why every time you see one it is painted differently from the last one you saw. There is a general colour scheme to follow, but in many cases people used their imaginations to paint Ernie however they wished, which accounts for some of the bizarre variations you might come across. It's also very likely that due to the popularity of the character, some folks painted these by the dozen on a home-made production line for sale at craft fairs, and so on, using more or less the same colours. In any case, the true origin of this cookie jar is a mystery to me! Regardless of how common they are, if you can find one that is painted well it makes for a nice (and inexpensive) addition to a Muppet collection. Personally, I think these cookie jars are awesome. I keep this one on the counter in the kitchen! Below, I've shown the cookie jar with the lid off.
Here is a hard plastic Big Bird friction toy by Illco. When you press Big Bird down, his nest drives forward as Little Bird bobs back and forth. Below is a view of the wheels on the bottom of the toy.
Here is an 8 inch tall Oscar the Grouch Weeble Wobble style toy made by Lewco in 1988. It's from a game called" Don't tip the trash can" in which plastic pieces are placed on the lid of Oscar's can. Here is the Muppet Wiki page about the toy which includes an image of the original box: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Don%27t_Tip_the_Trash_Can
Here is an Ernie pillow doll that I found second hand in the 1990's. I don't have any manufacturing information, though the sewing and filling of the doll was a home made project. These types of pillow-style dolls have long been sold at fabric stores, which often carry bolts of fabric with illustrations of characters (licenced characters, Santa Claus, manger scene characters, etc.) printed on sheets of fabric that is sold by the meter. You would then cut out the shapes along the guidelines, sew the pillow together and then stuff it to make your own doll. Other than Ernie's pal Bert, I've never seen any other Sesame Street characters in this style so I don't know how many dolls were included in the series. I suspect the fabric for these pillow dolls was made in the 1980's, though it's possible that it's from the late 1970's or very early 1990's.
Here is a pack of Sesame Street invitations made by Party Plus/Granger Balloons Inc. Unfortunately there is no date anywhere on the package. I suspect they're from the mid to late 1980's but they could also be from the very early 1990's. As Elmo is not featured it seems more likely to be from the 1980s.
Photos and text © Mike Artelle, 1997, 2016