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Elmo is a 3½ year old[1] furry red Muppet monster with an orange nose. He currently hosts the last full segment on Sesame Street, called "Elmo's World," which is aimed at toddlers. On "Elmo's World," Elmo is accompanied by his goldfish, Dorothy, and the Noodle FamilyMr. Noodle, his brother (known as Mr. Noodle's brother, Mr. Noodle), and his sister (known as Mr. Noodle's sister, Ms. Noodle).

The character is self-described as 3-and-a-half years old, and refers to himself almost entirely in the third person.[2] As with many children of his age, he is seen somewhat infrequently with a favorite toy of his: an orange monster-like doll named David. Elmo lives in an apartment with his mommy, his daddy, and, in some storybooks, a sister named Daisy.

Early years

Elmo

Elmo sings along in Elmopalooza.

Elmo Family

Elmo with his Mom and Dad.

Elmo Loves You
Elmowave

The puppet that would eventually become Elmo has been around since the early 1970s. During this time, he was referred to as Baby Monster, and had a number of performers ranging from Caroll Spinney[3] to Jerry Nelson[4] for background scenes. Elmo first appeared on Sesame Street specifically as "Elmo" in Season 12[5] where he was performed by Brian Muehl. After Muehl's departure in 1984, the character was re-cast to Richard Hunt. After performing Elmo for a couple of episodes,[6] Hunt literally tossed him over to Kevin Clash, since Clash was the only other person in the Muppeteer lounge at the time.[7] Around that time, writer David Korr took a liking to the character, and backed up with the positive research, started using it regularly.[7]

Popularity

A popular doll called the Tickle Me Elmo was manufactured in his likeness, and became the must-have toy during the 1996 Christmas season. A tenth anniversary edition, T.M.X. Elmo, was released in 2006. Other Elmo toys include Hokey Pokey Elmo ("Hokey Cokey Elmo" in the U.K.), Limbo Elmo, Chicken Dance Elmo, Let's Pretend Elmo, and Elmo Live.

Elmo was the star of the full-length, theatrically released motion picture The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. He also made minor appearances in Follow That Bird, the wedding scene in The Muppets Take Manhattan, and A Muppet Family Christmas.

Elmo can be seen in the home videos Elmo's Sing-Along Guessing Game, The Best of Elmo, Elmocize, and Elmo Visits the Doctor, and has also appeared in many other videos, including Play-Along Games and Songs, We All Sing Together and A Celebration of Me, Grover. Elmo has also starred in specials such as Elmopalooza and The Street We Live On. For a whole list of appearances of Elmo in videos, click here.

Behind the scenes

There are either eight or nine Elmo puppets currently available. Kevin Clash told Channel Newsasia that "this one [on my lap] is rodded. There's a full radio-controlled Elmo, there's one for the blue screen, etc. They do different things."[8] In later years, there has been a live-hand variant of Elmo, used in episodes like episode 4206 and specials like Elmo's World: Happy Holidays!

Additionally, dozens of Elmo variants have been created by the Muppet Workshop (now, Jim Henson's Puppet Workshop) almost exclusively for use in Tickle Me Land as figments of Dorothy's imagination. These creations build on the basic premise of the Elmo puppet, to create a unique design which displays a variation of Elmo as anything from a rock to an elephant, to even a male doctor and female nurse.

At the Muppets, Music & Magic event at The Cinema Arts Centre in August 2007, Elmo joked that the reason he speaks in the third person is that he gets paid for each time he says "Elmo."

Elmo tweeted about his third person speaking in March 2010; "Someone just told Elmo yesterday was Talk in Third Person Day. Elmo doesn't know what that is but it sounds fun. Can Elmo play?"

Elmo's CinderElmo co-star French Stewart lists the three year old monster's acting talents behind only Pacino, Brando and Streep, while Oliver Platt says he is a "giving actor."

Video appearances

Sesame Street:

The Muppets:

Trivia

  • On Big Bag, he made a guest appearance in one episode, as Chelli's pen-pal.
  • Elmo's earliest illustrated appearance was in The Sesame Street Circus of Opposites.
  • For the 2005/2006 season, Sesamstraat moved into new scenery. The scenery was introduced with a TV special. Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster and Elmo flew over to Holland for this special occasion. It was the first time the American characters visited the Dutch street.
  • According to Ask Elmo, his favorite food is wasabi; that's why he has no eyelids.
  • The meaning of life, to Elmo? "Um, the meaning of life for Elmo is respecting your elders by saying Mr. And Ms. and saying thank you and also giving lots of loves and kisses. That's the meaning of life for Elmo."[9]

References

  1. Sesame Workshop profile
  2. On a few occasions, Elmo's dialogue has broken this rule such as in song or via indirect comments.
  3. Brooklyn Academy of Music discussion panel—BAM! Nov 20-21, 2004: NYC
  4. "We Are All Monsters" and the Monsterpiece Theater sketch "Me Claudius"
  5. Season 12 Press Kit, CTW Archives
  6. Sesame Street: A Celebration - 40 Years of Life on the Street
  7. 7.0 7.1 Wisconsin Public Television podcast
  8. Elisa Chia, "Meet the grown-up behind Elmo", 31 July 2006.
  9. Ask Elmo.

See also

Start a Discussion Discussions about Elmo

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