Cerf with the Sesame Street Song Book.


Christopher B. Cerf (born August 19, 1941) originally joined the Children's Television Workshop as the head of Sesame Street’s "non-broadcast" products division, which spun off books, records, and toys. However, Cerf's true forte was composing songs for the show, including parodies of contemporary pop hits.[1]

Among his best known works are "Put Down the Duckie" and "Monster in the Mirror," two collaborations with former Sesame Street head writer Norman Stiles. Both songs have been filmed in versions that feature large numbers of celebrities.

Cerf also contributed vocals for many of his songs. Muppet characters that Cerf has provided voices for include Little Chrissy (who was based on Cerf), Chrissy (of Little Jerry and the Monotones), Bruce Stringbean, Mick Swagger, How Now Brown, the Lead Frazzletone, and the Captain from "Imagine That!". Cerf also sang on the Cecille theme song.

Cerf also composed songs for the short-lived series, Little Muppet Monsters.

He appears in the television documentary Sing! Sesame Street Remembers Joe Raposo and His Music in tribute to his friend and collaborator.

His father, Bennett Cerf, was the co-founder of Random House books and a panelist of What's My Line? and his mother, Phyllis Fraser, co-founded Random House's Beginner Books with Dr. Seuss. His brother, Jonathan Cerf, wrote Big Bird's Red Book.

Sesame Place's The Game Centre was "the creative brain-child of Cerf".[2]

Cerf is also the co-creator and an Executive Producer of Between the Lions. He was a close personal friend of the late Douglas Adams, acclaimed author of the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. He wrote the introduction for the US edition of The Salmon of Doubt, a posthumous release of some of Adams' last works.

Cerf was extensively interviewed for the 2021 documentary Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street.

Composer credits

According to his bio in Encyclopedia Paranoiaca (2012, with Henry Beard), Cerf has written over 300 Sesame Street songs.

Writing credits


Cerf with Ernie and Jim Henson.

  1. Lambert, Craig. "Channel Cerfing." Harvard Magazine, July 2011.
  2. "Correction: Ahl's only part of Sesame Place", InfoWorld, October 31, 1979.

External links

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