Jim Henson

Toy Box Tales, Trois


Welcome to our continued exploration of the stuffed characters on display in the open toy box displayed prominently in our Toy Box. Today, we go into the depths of the box, where Oscar the Grouch has taken up his headquarters.  An iconic member of the Muppets of Sesame Street, Oscar is best defined as a gruff, occasionally mean, guy with a heart of gold. Sure, he’s rude, but don’t think of ‘grouch’ as a description of him, so much as his species, as revealed in the 1999 theatrical musical-comedy adventure film The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. 


Oscar debuted in the first season of Sesame Street, back in 1969! Back then, he was yellow. He turned orange pretty quickly, when his creator – a guy named Jim Henson – decided he shouldn’t be the same color as Big Bird. After a season of being orange, Oscar turned green after a mysterious incident at Swamp Mushy Muddy. He’s been green ever since.  Beloved puppeteer Carol Spinney has voiced and operated Oscar since 1969 and continues to do so today (with the help of a surrogate when necessary).  Spinney is also the man behind Big Bird.  A few notable pieces of trivia about Oscar: he was born in Canada, in Minto, New Brunswick. He has a pet elephant and a pet worm living with him in his trashcan, which is big enough to also hold a farm, a swimming pool, and a bowling alley.

Big Bird - July 10, 2014

On shelves, and fences, in cars and riding motor cycles, you will find stuffed animals - many representing beloved characters and others just friendly faces straight out of the carnival.  The American Treasure Tour is happy to highlight some of our favorites, including today's:  Big Bird.

The creation of puppeteers Jim Henson and Kermit Love, Big Bird has been most-famously operated by Carol Spinney for the better part of the last 45 years, since 1969.  He is eight feet, two inches tall, and primrose yellow.  A close friend to Snuffaluffagus, a mysterious and endearing elephant-like creature with shaggy brown fur and big black eyelashes, Big Bird has delighted children and adults of all ages, even starring in his own film in 1985:  Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird.

QUESTION:  What is the address of the brownstone in front of Big Bird's nest on Sesame Street?

A)  123

B)  200-1/5


D)  1969

Answer Below


We celebrate the admission of yet another state into the United States today!  In 1890, Wyoming became the 44th member of the union!  Early on, Wyoming compensated for having one of the smallest populations in the country by giving women the right to vote in regional elections.  This may sound common sense today, but elsewhere in the country, women were denied this right based solely on their gender.  Fortunately, it has become a non-issue since then.

Howard Hughes was a wealthy eccentric whose fame arose because of his many personal quirks and obsessions.  One obsession that put him on the map was that of flying.  On this day in 1938, he broke the record for around-the-world journeys.  In only 91 hours, he flew the entire circumference of the planet, arriving at the site of his departure on this day.


The ATT blog tries to offer birthday salutations to the American Presidents, their First Ladies, and other prominent politicians when we can.  Just two days ago, we honored our 41st Vice President, so it stands to reason that we acknowledge our 11th VP today:  George M. Dallas was born in 1792 and lived to see the start of the Civil War.  The Philadelphian served as veep under James K. Polk, and got to see a major city named after him in the new state of Texas.

There is one little-sung hero that the American Treasure Tour blog wants to make a call-out to, and today is his birthday.  His name was Nikola Tesla, and he was born in Serbia in 1856, before coming to the United States.  Although a bit quirky, Tesla was unquestionably brilliant. He did many things during his long life that are worth noting.  Unfortunately, there is simply not enough space here to honor him justly, so we encourage you to learn more about him. Seriously, he was a fascinating person, and what he did has impacted all of us ever since.  Tesla.  Nikola.  Cool guy.

QUOTE:  Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his works and accomplishments.  The present is theirs; the future, for which I have worked, is really mine. - Nikola Tesla

ANSWER:  A)  123 Sesame Street