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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 special aired on March 15, it was presented as a regular episode (numbered 2835) with the opening theme 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 Everyone gathers in the yard to sing 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 (wearing a snazzy necktie) and his friends are ready to go to Central Park for his skating party, with Maria and Susan staying behind to decorate. Snuffy would rather stay behind as well to help, but Big Bird figures out that it's really because Snuffy doesn’t know how to roller skate. He offers to teach him and 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. Big Bird leads the Birdketeers, and Mike helps guide Forgetful Jones in skating with the rest of the group.

SCENE 3 cont'd Big Bird joins Snuffy at the skating entrance, where 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: "She is a lot closer to the ground than I am, Bird - everybody'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 a very klutzy skater 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 on Sesame Street, Maria and Susan lay out the cake but find that they need more chairs and go to their apartments to fetch some. A very hungry Cookie Monster wanders by and smells the cake. He is about to pounce on it, but reads the writing on it and discovers it’s Big Bird’s birthday cake. He finds it too special to eat and debates on whether to pass or gobble it down: "Me in deep internal conflict." He settles on finding something else to tide him over, and takes a bite from one of the chairs before heading for the nearby 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 Monster on the Spot reporter Telly asks if the Count is going to support his local public television station. The Count intends to and recites a long list of reasons why, citing some of the great shows the station offers (including 3-2-1 Contact and Square One TV) before more outlandish reasons as an excuse to count even higher. Telly leaves the microphone with him and exits as the show cuts to a PBS station pledge break.
This scene was cut from the "episode" version.
SCENE 5 Snuffy has managed to get his back half and tail out on the rink, still not sure if he wants to learn how to skate.

SCENE 5 cont'd Elsewhere, Telly latches onto Luis for dear life and asks where Oscar is. Much to Bob and Luis’ shock, Oscar is at the party with a roller skate-wearing Bruno - not to celebrate but to enjoy the falling down part. Oscar commands Bruno to start skating, but Bruno proves himself to be an excellent skater, gracefully skating around everyone in the rink without falling (much to Oscar’s dismay). He finishes with a few special tricks and an extra fast spin, but Oscar figures it’s not a total loss since the skating made him dizzy and cross-eyed.
Whoopi and hoots
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 signature (yet stale) street sign. He stops himself from eating the nearby tree upon remembering that they're good for the environment, so he begins eating the mailbox instead.

SCENE 6 cont'd Back at Central Park, Big Bird shows off a brief roller-skating routine to Snuffy encouraging him to give it a try. Snuffy is impressed, but can’t skate as well as his best friend. Big Bird and his other friends gather and sing “Put One Foot in Front of the Other” to encourage Snuffy to begin skating. The song works and Snuffy makes it out onto the rink... where he falls with a crash. He proudly shouts, "I did it!"
SCENE 6 cont'd Miles away, a pan down Sesame Street shows that Cookie Monster has devoured nearly 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, and Cookie compliments their quick reflexes.
Muppets The Oinker Sisters sing "A New Way to Walk."
(First: Episode 2268)
"MacTV" intro cut


SCENE 7 Everyone comes back to the yard and finds that most of Sesame Street has been eaten. (Maria: "He didn't eat all of everything, he... just nibbled.") Big Bird's friends bring out his cake still intact and covered in over 500 candles (courtesy of the Count), sing "Happy Birthday To You," and watch as Big Bird blows out all the candles - which happened to be his birthday wish. As they begin to cut the cake, the credits begin to roll but pause when Maria wonders where Cookie Monster went. He appears and devours his long-awaited slice of cake, then for dessert he has the sponsors Gina hands him. Afterwards, the credits resume as the entire cast is shown skating at Central Park.


Big bird's birthday 1
Big bird's birthday 2
  • 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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