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Cliff Roberts, ca. 1950s

A color reprint of a Sesame Street comic strip as seen in Sesame Street Magazine June 1973.

Cliff Roberts (1929-1999) was a cartoonist and animator who worked on inserts for Sesame Street as well as the spin-off comic strip.

Roberts spent much of his early career in New York City as a freelance commercial artist and director. He also worked as a photographer, with work displayed at the 1964 World's Fair, and contributed cartoons to Playboy and The New Yorker. He soon became a popular designer for animation, creating character model sheets for Terrytoons and UPA projects. Roberts' style, reflecting his commercial illustration background, involved flat but appealing forms and a minimal color palette; most of his characters were white blobs with occasional splashes of color.

For the Sesame Street comic strip, Roberts created Jasper and Julius, a comedy duo who would engage in debates over body parts, as well as Christopher Clumsy and Miss Fortune. These characters were eventually brought over to the show in season 4.

Roberts later worked on the Saturday morning cartoons The Smurfs, Scooby-Doo and The Pink Panther, and illustrated the Langston Hughes book The First Book of Jazz. He retired in 1993.


see also: Poverty Pictures segments

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