Sesame Street (partially lost children's educational TV series; 1969-present)

From The Lost Media Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Cast photo from Sesame Street's first season.

Status: Partially Lost

Sesame Street is a children’s television series that started on November 10th, 1969, on National Educational Television (NET) before moving to PBS in 1970. The series is one of the most well-known and longest-running children’s television series of all time. Since its inception in 1969, the show has earned 159 Emmy Awards and 8 Grammy Awards, and an estimated 77 million Americans watched the series as children as of 2008.

Despite its massive multi-decade running time, it’s become an interest of avid fans of the series to document the series in its entirety, including descriptions for shorts in episodes ranging from the first season to the present.

While episode listings adapted from Children’s Television Workshop archives are complete in writing (especially on Muppet Wiki, whose majority of Sesame Street episode guides are complete), many of the segments in the listings or guides are not available for audiences on any home video releases or (authorized) digital releases. A complete listing of these is not available, largely due to the vast number of episodes of the series produced, but while many of the popular segments have been found since the genesis of the Internet, some segments still remain lost (or elusive) as listed below.

As of 2022, the majority of the show's seasons have been donated to the AAPB (American Archive of Public Broadcasting) and the Library of Congress (however, episodes are available for viewing at the latter but on-location only), rendering the majority of episodes (along with many segments that were unavailable to the general populace) no longer lost or elusive, with the exception of at least fifty-three episodes that are missing from Sesame Workshop's archive. Additionally, the latter four test pilot shows from 1969, the notorious "Snuffy's Parents Divorce" episode, and several Sesame Street specials were not donated to the AAPB and still remain lost or elusive (more on that below in the Noteworthy Episodes list), and there are also many unaired segments that still remain lost or elusive (which the Skit List will mainly cover below).

Lost Episodes

When Sesame Workshop was preparing to donate the past 4,000 episodes of Sesame Street to the AAPB in 2019, they discovered that a select number of older Sesame Street episodes have gone missing from their archives over the years. The reasons these episodes have gone missing are due to either the source materials being misplaced, an accident that caused irreparable damage (i.e. fires, floods), or the BBC practices that reportedly interfered with CTW during Sesame Street's conflict with BBC in the 1970s.

The episodes that have gone missing from Sesame Workshop's archives mostly include those from Seasons 1 (2 episodes), 2 (23 episodes), 3 (25 episodes), 5 (2 episodes) and 8 (1 episode). (One Season 11 episode and one Season 14 episode were previously lost until now.) Initially, 60 episodes of Sesame Street were missing from the archives. This figure later dropped to 53 as of now, as some episodes have been recovered from outlets and donated to the AAPB. Episodes 0108, 0237, 0291, 0294, 0297, 0298, 0385, 0389, 0397, 0401, 1444 and 1814 have been recovered so far; all said previously-lost episodes from Seasons 2 and 3 survive only in black-and-white, while the other three episodes from Season 1, 11 and 14 respectively have been recovered in their original color format. (A few episodes from Seasons 2 and 3 which are not lost, including 0199, 0305 and 0380 also survive only in black-and-white.) However, the Season 3 episodes 0277, 0279, 0283 and 0285 and another Season 5 episode 0563 were initially assumed to have been archived but later it was discovered that those 5 episodes have gone missing from Sesame Workshop's archives as well, bringing the toll of lost episodes to have been originally 65 before the above 12 episodes were eventually recovered.

Some international versions of Sesame Street in the 1970s, such as Sesamo Apriti and Sesamstrasse, often repurposed material from the American episodes with a foreign language dub track. This mostly includes the street scenes from the domestic show's second season, which notably aired (dubbed) for German co-production Sesamstrasse's first 247 episodes from 1973 through 1975. Select street scenes from most of the lost second season episodes survive dubbed in German from Sesamstrasse (minus 0146, 0231, 0233, 0234, 0235, 0238, 0240, 0241, 0243, 0248, and 0262 which never appeared on Sesamstrasse, rendering the video footage for those 11 episodes of the second season entirely lost); Sesamstrasse however often cuts or swaps the street scenes in random episodes, making (at least) two or more street scenes for these episodes have no trace of any surviving footage.

The lost episodes covered here are (usually) final ready-for-broadcast edits including Street Scenes with segments. In the case of Episode 0402 (which is lost), the song "I Am Somebody" from that episode was released on the Old School: Volume 1 DVD set. That Street Scene was sourced from raw footage, suggesting that raw footage for the Street Scenes of other lost episodes may still exist in the archives somewhere, waiting to be discovered.

Skit List

The sketches that are lost mostly include segments that either have not aired on the domestic show or were unaired in any form. Half of these sketches have made their way onto home video releases, official online releases (such as, for a period of time,, and also streaming rereleases of some episodes that were edited for that specific release. They have also appeared in international co-productions, as well as Sesame Street's Noggin spin-off Play with Me Sesame.

Assorted Lost Skits

So far, the following assorted clips that haven't aired on the domestic show currently have not resurfaced in English or in any form:

  • Cookie Monster demonstrates "Away From": A short bit from Season 2 where Cookie Monster places a cookie on a plate and walks away from it to show "away from".
    • So far, this clip is known to have appeared on Vila Sésamo, Sesamstraat, Iftah Ya Simsim, and Svenska Sesam.
A sketch where Grover pulls on five bell-sounding ropes is one such segment that did not air on the domestic show.
  • Grover's Ropes and Bells: A sketch from Season 3 where Grover stumbles upon five ropes and pulls each rope that makes the sound of a bell, minus the last rope that sounds a yell coming from a Muppet Tarzan.
    • So far, this clip is known to have appeared on Sesamstrasse, Iftah Ya Simsim, and Rechov Sumsum (that one having an alternate ending where Tarzan flies back up on the rope and Grover faints).
A behind-the-scenes photo of an unaired version of Ernie and Bert's song "Imagination". This version was referred to internally by Children's Television Workshop as "Monster Opera."
  • Monster Opera: An unaired version of Ernie and Bert's song "Imagination" that was taped for Season 4. In the extended, ten-minute segment, Ernie's good night sleep is roused by the sounds of a cat and a dog nearby and wakes up Bert as a result, who tries to quell Ernie's fears. Ernie's imagination begins to run away with him, as he imagines the street populated with scary monsters (who are depicted as transparent to convey being imaginary) that sing a brief, chilling song. Frightened, Ernie wakes up Bert again and sings a song about his fear (howling "Go away, bad things, go away!") as he imagines the monsters invading their bedroom. Bert convinces him to imagine pleasant things instead as he launches into "Imagination." Tests with child audiences showed that children paid more attention to Ernie's fear than to the song itself, so the intended message was not fully comprehended. The prologue was subsequently omitted and the entire segment reworked. A new, shorter prologue was produced and woven into footage of the original version in the final.
    • While the video footage for this unaired version is unavailable to the public, behind the scenes photos of the unaired "Monster Opera" version can be seen in issue #20 of the magazine KIDS.
"Starship Surprise" is an unaired sketch from season 12 that spoofed the sci-fi TV series Star Trek.
  • "Starship Surprise": A sketch from Season 12 that spoofed the sci-fi TV series Star Trek where two Anything Muppets named Captain Jane and Dr. McToy land on the Moon. This is a predecessor to the recurring series of "Spaceship Surprise" sketches from Season 19.
    • According to script highlights at the CTW archives, "Starship Surprise" was originally planned to air in Episode 1505, but did not appear in the final. The sketch was unaired by all means and it is unknown if it appeared in any international co-productions, but its existence is confirmed by at least a couple of behind-the-scenes photos.
  • "Carrot Time When It's Time for a Snack": A song from Season 13 where Biff walks into a dull restaurant that livens up when Grover serves them carrots.
    • So far, this clip is known to have appeared on Rua Sésamo.
  • “That Makes Three”: A song from Season 16 sung by three Anything Muppet children in a winter scene.
    • So far, this clip is known to have appeared on Plaza Sésamo, Sesamstraat and Sesamstrasse.
  • "NO" Sign: Zoe sees Cookie Monster next to a plate of cookies, holding a sign that says "NO" since he "no eat cookies". Zoe asks if he's serious, to which Cookie replies "NO!" and devours the cookies.
    • It is unknown which international co-production this appears in.
  • What Makes Me Happy?: Ernie, Telly, Rosita, the Count, and Cookie Monster show the things that make them happy.
    • It is unknown which international co-production this appears in.
  • Triangle Intro: A sketch from Season 31 where Grover introduces a segment featuring a "three-sided-mabob" until he is told that it's actually called a triangle.
    • It is unknown which international co-production this appears in.
  • What Makes Me Happy?: A Season 32 sketch where Ernie, Telly, Rosita, The Count and Cookie Monster show the things that make them happy.
    • It is unknown which international co-production this appears in. An English version was once released on
  • Bert's Portrait: Ernie draws a picture of Bert, but with two noses. Ernie becomes sad, as he thinks Bert doesn't like his picture. Bert overlooks the noses and claims he likes Ernie's picture very much, so Ernie gives Bert his Picasso-esque picture of Bert with seven unibrows.
    • It is unknown which international co-production this appears in.
  • Ernie and Bert's Healthy Life Tips: A Season 37 sketch where Bert tries to inform the viewer about ways to stay healthy, while Ernie interrupts running, munching on a carrot and brushing his teeth. He points out to Bert that they are all ways to be healthy and a bewildered Bert accepts the crowd's applause anyhow.
    • It is unknown which international co-production this appears in.
  • Ernie and Bert's Ice Cream Experiment: Just as the duo is about to dig into their ice cream, Ernie announces today they will be performing an experiment (which is news to Bert). Ernie tests to see what will happen if Bert eats slowly and Ernie eats fast. He makes Bert eat so slowly that before Bert can even try his first bite, Ernie eats his serving before it melts.
    • It is unknown which international co-production this appears in.
  • Ernie and Bert on Music and Reading: As Bert tries to read his book, Ernie walks near him with a radio and plays a song loudly. Bert can't read with the music going, so Ernie puts in headphones, but his singing along is just as loud. Ernie suggests they both do something together - dance to the music!
    • So far, this clip is known to have appeared on Sesamstraat.
  • Bert's Newspaper: Ernie sees that Bert has a newspaper and encourages him to be environmental by reusing it instead of throwing it away. Ernie takes it and turns it into a pirate hat and some pom poms, only Bert hasn't had a chance to read it yet.
    • So far, this clip is known to have appeared on Rechov Sumsum. Not to be confused with a 1969 sketch.
  • Ernie and Bert's Imaginary Car Ride: Ernie and Bert are going on a pretend car ride, but Ernie keeps making them stop to cater to Rubber Duckie's various needs.
    • It is unknown which international co-production this appears in.
  • Ernie and Bert on Reading and Exercise: Bert reads his book, while Ernie tries to get him to exercise with him. By the time Bert's finished, Ernie's too exhausted.
    • It is unknown which international co-production this appears in.
  • Bert's Paperclip Collection: Bert spends some quiet quality time with his paperclip collection when Ernie disrupts it with his pretending. Bert shows him some particular parts of his collection, including the big, bigger and biggest paperclips.
    • It is unknown which international co-production this appears in.
  • Ernie and Bert show Up and Down: Ernie hastily has Bert look up and down several times, which Bert then learns is just to demonstrate the opposites. He ignores Ernie's suggestion to look up once more and is struck by a falling bird.
    • It is unknown which international co-production this appears in.
  • "Cookie Monster, Food Investigator": a spoof of Dragnet from Season 36.
    • This sketch is not available in any form and is only mentioned in a Season 36 press release that was posted on Muppet Central.[1]
  • There is another Alec Baldwin sketch from Season 38 where Alec Baldwin describes himself as a "closer" and closes things such as a door.
  • A Season 40 segment features a pair of Anything Muppet cheerleaders (resembling Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri as the Spartan Cheerleaders from Saturday Night Live) who cheer for the letter H.
  • Two Muppet & Kid Moment segments with Grover are lost: One sketch featured Grover interacting with Hunter Vogel (son of Matt Vogel), and another sketch featured Grover interacting with a girl who tells him she knows all the planets, listing a few and then saying there's one that she can't say, which turns out to be Uranus.
    • Both sketches never aired on television and were only mentioned in social media posts and panel interviews, respectively. Matt Vogel posted on FaceBook about the Grover & Hunter moment, with two photos attached.[2] ToughPigs also compiled info from the Museum of the Moving Image’s An Evening with Frank Oz event where Frank Oz discussed about the little girl & Grover moment.[3]

Assorted Existence Unconfirmed Skits

Due to the vague nature of some of the descriptions provided by interested users, lack of available documentation online, or CTW documentation errors, some of these segments from this series have remained unidentified, been marked “Existence Unconfirmed,” and are listed below.

  • “A” Cheers: One of the Letter Cheers sketches from Season 1. The sketch was listed in the First Season Show Content CTW documents and is one of several unused segments. However, the sketch was crossed out on the documents with a strikethrough unlike the other unused Season 1 segments, and there are no video footage stills or set photos of this sketch to confirm its existence, so it's unknown if the "A" Cheer sketch was ever taped.
  • A.M. "K" Cheer Version #3: One of the different versions of the Anything Muppet "K" cheer sketch from Season 1. Only three different versions of this sketch are known to exist as they have been aired on the show domestically, but due to the CTW documents labeling them as #1, #2, and #4, there is confusion about there being a version #3 of the "K Cheer" sketch, reportedly due to version "#4" being a possible documentation error with the third version that aired in Episode 0102.
  • A.M. mother and daughter at the zoo: A Season 2 sketch where a Large Lavender Anything Muppet mother and a Lavender Anything Muppet daughter visit a zoo and switch personalities. The mother pretends to be the daughter, and the daughter pretends to be the mother. The two Anything Muppets walk through a live-action zoo (this was done on a chroma-key background). We see a close up of a real live tiger in its cage, and the mother pretends she's afraid, and daughter tells her there's nothing to be afraid of. The daughter buys the mother a balloon from an off-screen vendor (only a live human hand is seen). The mother cries when she loses the balloon, and the daughter gets her another one.
    • This sketch is rumored to have only aired on Sesamstrasse or Sesamstraat, and the sketch's rumored existence was described in detail by SkyeFan from memory.[4]
  • The Drama of the Poor Little Milkmaid: A sketch from Season 3 where an Anything Muppet milkmaid brings her cow (played by Bert) to a grassy field, where he can eat the grass he needs to give milk. But the villain owner of the field (played by Oscar) threatens to shovel up all the grass. At last, the hero (played by Ernie) arrives to buy the field with a rusty tin can.
    • This sketch was documented in a CTW archives guide for Episode 0343, but it does not appear in the script nor final cut of the episode.
  • Post office song: A hip song about the post office and mail delivery featuring the line ' the post office where it will stay, for just one day...' (live-action)
  • Figure skater: A clip featuring a figure skater skating to the tune of "Don't You Know You're Beautiful?" (live-action)
  • Riding on the Train: A song about train rides, with one of the lines going '...the A Train, B Train, Double C, takes you where to want to be...' (live-action)

Sesame Place Muppet skits

In addition to the aforementioned unaired sketches, there are also a series of Muppet skits that were produced exclusively for use at Sesame Place, a Sesame Street theme park, during its opening in 1980. A series of sketches played on monitors throughout the park at the time, but are no longer featured at the park today as the park has been revamped over the years. Additionally, according to a 1980 Sesame Place pamphlet, Bert and Ernie starred in over 2 hours of Sesame Place video content. Most of this content is considered lost to some degree.

The sketches also oddly aired on international co-productions of Sesame Street, making (most of) these sketches only found in different languages, rendering them partially lost.

  • There is a series of sketches featuring a group of AM Monsters (including the monster that would later become Elmo), as well as Grover and Ernie, playing a variety of instrumental music pieces.
    • Six different versions (each having characters added or replaced per version) are known to exist and have been found in Susam Sokağı and Barrio Sésamo. These sketches count as found due to them having no dialogue, although the first sketch was taken from an episode of Susam Sokağı that had inferior VHS quality.
  • Grover slides in to talk about the difference between here and there.
    • This sketch can only be found in Arabic, taken from Iftah Ya Simsim.
  • Grover talks about how important it is to rest once in a while, but falls down when he forgets that one has to first sit down before resting their feet.
    • This sketch can only be found in Arabic, taken from Iftah Ya Simsim.
  • Bert tells the viewer to watch and listen for Ernie, unaware that Ernie's sneaking behind him.
    • This sketch can only be found in Arabic, taken from Iftah Ya Simsim.
  • A group of Muppets (Bert, Ernie, Grover, Elmo, and Maurice Monster) get tossed in the air.
  • A sketch which shows Ernie talking to Bert while he reads a book inside a ball pit.
    • A brief clip of this can be seen on one of the TV monitors at the 1:38 timemark of the Sesame Place Orientation YouTube upload.

See Also

Noteworthy Episodes

Noteworthy Sketches


The Muppets and Jim Henson


External Links