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Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake is a Sesame Street special which aired during the show's usual time slot on March 15, 1991, in most markets and in prime time during the week of March 9. The special was produced for the PBS pledge drive season, and stars Big Bird and Snuffy, as they go to the roller skating rink for Big Bird's birthday. Meanwhile, Cookie Monster is tempted to eat Big Bird's cake, but staves off his desire by eating everything else on the street. Celebrity guests included Bo Jackson, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, and Ray Charles.

When the episode aired on March 15, it was presented as a regular episode, featuring an episode number (2835) and added inserts to make it a complete sixty-minute episode. The theme and extra inserts were removed from the pledge drive version, which also featured an extra scene segueing to the pledge break featuring Telly Monster and Count von Count.

Picture Segment Description
SCENE 1 Snuffy wanders into Big Bird's nest area in the morning to make sure he's the first to wish Big Bird "Happy Birthday". The two head out down the street (as the opening credits roll), where all of Big Bird's friends wish him a "Happy Birthday" as well.
SCENE 1 cont'd In the arbor, everyone sings about "Big Bird's Beautiful Birthday Bash".
Muppets Monsterpiece Theater: The King and I
(First: Episode 2727)
Cartoon Shooting stars form the letter I/i.
(First: Episode 2218)
This segment did not appear in the pledge-drive version.
Film A girl narrates a film of herself taking care of her horse, Strawberry.
(First: Episode 2641)
This segment did not appear in the pledge-drive version.
Cartoon Jake the Snake demonstrates body parts.
(First: Episode 2486)
This segment did not appear in the pledge-drive version.
SCENE 2 Big Bird and his friends are ready to go to Central Park for his skating party, with Maria and Susan staying behind to decorate. However, Snuffy wants to stay behind as well because he doesn’t know how to roller skate. Big Bird says he can teach Snuffy how to skate as they make their way to the city.
Muppets / Celebrity Robin Williams shows Elmo the many fun things one can do with a stick.
Cartoon A lizard sings about how she likes to be "Above it All" as well as below.
Artist: Sally Cruikshank
(First: Episode 2559)
This segment did not appear in the pledge-drive version.
SCENE 3 At the Wollman Skating Rink in Central Park, everyone enjoys skating.

SCENE 3 cont'd Snuffy isn’t sure he wants to learn how to skate because of his fear of falling. Big Bird points out that Alice is falling, but Snuffy counters, claiming she’s closer to the ground. Big Bird finally coaxes him into learning and is about to help Snuffy onto the rink to teach him, when they witness someone fall right in front of them, making Snuffy’s fear come back.
Muppets "We Are All Earthlings"
Animation Four genies carry the number 4 into a castle.
Artist: Ishu Patel
(First: Episode 2244)
This segment did not appear in the pledge-drive version.

Muppets Dicky Tick hosts "Lifestyles of the Big and Little."
(First: Episode 2206)
This segment did not appear in the pledge-drive version.
Song "Litter Rap"
(First: Episode 2646)
This segment did not appear in the pledge-drive version.
Cartoon Lillian discusses the adjustments she had to make when her parents had a new baby. She ultimately appreciates her sister.
Artist: Craig Bartlett
(First: Episode 2746)
This segment did not appear in the pledge-drive version.


SCENE 4 Back at the street, Maria and Susan lay out the cake, but find that they need more chairs and go to their apartments to fetch some. Cookie Monster wanders by and smells the cake. He is about to pounce on it, but he reads the cake and discovers it’s Big Bird’s birthday cake. He realizes he can’t eat it and tries finding something else to tide him over. He eats one of the chairs then heads for the table.
Muppets / Celebrity Grover sings "Monster in the Mirror" assisted by several celebrities, including The Simpsons, Whoopi Goldberg, and Ray Charles.
Cartoon A cat desperately tries to open a can of cat food by himself while his mistress is on the phone.
Animation by Dan Haskett
(First: Episode 2151)
This segment did not appear in the pledge-drive version.
Film Fay demonstrates addition by placing 4 balls on a table.
Artist: William Wegman
(First: Episode 2612)
This segment did not appear in the pledge-drive version.
Pledge Break Telly Monster, Monster on the Spot reporter, asks whether The Count is going to support his local public television station. The Count then recites a long list of reasons, followed by a local PBS station pledge break.
This scene was cut from the "episode" version.
SCENE 5 Snuffy tries getting back out of the rink, still afraid of falling.

SCENE 5 cont'd Telly latches onto Luis and asks where Oscar the Grouch is. Much to Bob's and Luis’ shock, Oscar is at the party with Bruno, not to celebrate, but to skate, since Oscar loves the falling-down portion. Bruno begins gracefully skating around the rink without falling (much to Oscar’s dismay). However, Oscar senses it’s not a total loss, since the skating made him dizzy.
Whoopi and hoots.jpg
Muppets Whoopi Goldberg talks with Hoots the Owl about how proud they are of their body parts.
Song Kevin Clash sings "Skin."
(First: Episode 2749)
This segment did not appear in the pledge-drive version.
SCENE 6 Back on the street, Cookie Monster has devoured most of the tables and chairs for the party and finishes off the lamppost and street sign. He then begins eating the mailbox.

SCENE 6 cont'd Big Bird shows off a cool rollerskating routine to Snuffy. He is impressed, but can’t skate like Big Bird. Big Bird and his friends sing “Put One Foot in Front of the Other” to get Snuffy to begin skating. The song works and Snuffy is able to skate around the rink.
SCENE 6 cont'd A pan down the street shows that Cookie Monster has devoured everything around him, from Big Bird’s doors to the stoop steps to the tire swing. Susan and Maria come back, shocked to see what he has done. They take the cake away to keep it safe.
Muppets The Oinker Sisters sing "A New Way to Walk."
(First: Episode 2268)
"MacTV" intro cut


SCENE 7 Everyone comes back to the street and finds that nearly everything has been eaten. Big Bird's friends bring out his cake (still intact), sing "Happy Birthday To You" and watch as Big Bird blows out all the candles (which was his birthday wish). As they cut the cake, the credits begin to roll, but pause when Maria wonders where Cookie Monster went. He appears and eats his slice of cake, then for dessert, the sponsors Gina hands him. Afterwards, the credits resume as the entire cast is shown skating at Central Park.


Big bird's birthday 1.jpg
Big bird's birthday 2.jpg
  • Bert's sole line of dialogue in the special, exclaiming "Ernie!" during the skating montage at the beginning of the third scene, is lifted from a 1970 sketch.
  • The special was taped on September 11-12 (on-location at Central Park), September 21 (scenes 1-2), and December 10, 1990 (remaining scenes).[1]



Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Ernie, Bert, Forgetful Jones, Buster the Horse, Elmo, Telly Monster, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Alice Snuffleupagus, Prairie Dawn, Ruby, Count von Count, Grover, Cookie Monster, Herry Monster, Hoots the Owl, Athena, Wolfgang the Seal, Two-Headed Monster, Bruno the Trashman

Background Characters

AM Monsters, Honkers, Dinger, Duck

Human cast

Alison Bartlett, Linda Bove, Emilio Delgado, Loretta Long, Sonia Manzano, Bill McCutcheon, Bob McGrath, Roscoe Orman, Lisa Boggs, Eugene Byrd, Alexis Cruz, Ward Saxton, David L. Smyrl, Lillias White

Muppet Performers

Caroll Spinney, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Martin P. Robinson, Richard Hunt, Kevin Clash, Judy Sladky, Camille Bonora, Fran Brill, David Rudman, Jim Martin, Pam Arciero, Rick Lyon, Bryant Young, Joey Mazzarino, Carmen Osbahr



  1. Documents provided by trusted source

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