Muppet Wiki

Kermiteye.png Welcome to Muppet Wiki!

Please visit Special:Community to learn how you can contribute.


Muppet Wiki
Muppet Wiki

The Countdown series was a recurring animated segment during the early years of Sesame Street, starting in the first season and having its final appearance during Season 12.

Each clip began the same: a wide-mouthed launch director (perched atop a podium) stands next to a button, ready to trigger a rocket (proudly displaying the letters "USA" on its side). A group of people closely stand by, awaiting the launch. The director counts backwards, from ten to one, but when he's finished counting, some kind of disaster often occurs. In early episodes, Carol Burnett would appear at the end of one or more of these segments in a filmed tag, where she laments, "Well, back to the ol' drawing board."

The segments were done by former Disney animator Floyd Norman.[1]

The first three Countdown films appeared on the Sesame Street Pitch Reel and This Way to Sesame Street.


Picture Summary / First Appearance Description
#1: Flop
Episode 0018
After the countdown, the rocket flops over. The director nervously chuckles.
#2: Soot
Episode 0018
The rocket lifts early, and showers everyone in soot.
#3: Director Launch
Episode 0018
After countdown, the director himself is launched into space as the rocket stays put.
#4: Water
Episode 0022
After the countdown, water comes out of the rocket and splashes everyone.
#5: Dignitaries
Episode 0022
Minus his podium, the director laughs nervously as he accidentally launches the spectators into space.
#6: Early Launch; Topple
Episode 0022
Rocket takes off at 7. Then it comes down so the man can continue his countdown, but at 1, it falls over with a huge crash.
Countdown launch success.jpg
#7: Successful Launch
Episode 0042
Unlike previous segments, the rocket successfully launches at the right time as everyone celebrates, and the director grins at the camera.
#8: Delayed Launch
Episode 0148
The rocket doesn't go off until a few seconds after the countdown commences.
#9: Hat Launch
Episode 0148
After the countdown, the director's hat blasts off instead.


  1. Behind-the-scenes photo