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Sesame Street
Bert leaves Ernie
Air date March 9, 1972
Season Season 3 (1971-1972)
Production January 10, 1972
Sponsors N, Z, 8
Releases HBO Max

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Picture Segment Description
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SCENE 1 Harvey Kneeslapper stands behind the newsstand at Hooper's Store, preparing to play a joke on some residents of Sesame Street. When Tom comes by, Harvey says, "I'm glad to zee ya" and slaps a letter Z on his back. He repeats the gag with David, barely containing his laughter. He attempts the same with Maria, but at the last second, Tom and David yell for her to duck; Harvey misses and plants the Z on his own forehead. Tom and David have a good laugh, but Harvey doesn't find it funny at all.
Cartoon zip, zoom, zoom, zig, zag, zany, zoo.
Muppets Kermit and the word "taxi."
(First: Episode 0312)
Film "Hey, let's make a road!" Kids do so at the beach, while a construction crew does the real thing.
(First: Episode 0295)
Muppets Ernie & Bert β€” Bert is reading a book when Ernie startles him by asking if he wants to play checkers. Bert says, "I thought maybe you weren't here!" Ernie starts to search to see if he can find himself.
(First: Episode 0171)
Transition Bridge #3 - 4 Corner Bridge A
(First: Episode 0282)
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SCENE 2 Maria and Bob encounter Bert standing at the bottom of the steps for 123 Sesame Street, suitcase in hand and shouting at the building. He's had it with Ernie's shenanigans β€” always squeaking his Rubber Duckie, and making that silly little giggle of his β€” so he's moving out of the apartment. Bob asks if the two could possibly work it out, but Bert's mind is made up; he's never going back to Ernie. When Maria asks where he'll live, Bert says it doesn't matter; anywhere without Ernie would be fine, even out here on the street.
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The scene ripples to Bert's imagination as he pictures his bed on the sidewalk looking at the stars at night and getting a tan during the day. Bob and Maria ask what would happen if it rains or snows. Bert imagines those scenarios and decides living outside might not be the best idea after all.
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As the scene ripples back to reality, Oscar the Grouch approaches and asks what's going on. When he hears about Bert's situation, Oscar offers his trash can as a place for him to stay. "Anybody who likes peace and quiet is a friend of mine." Bert accepts his offer, and they leave together. Bob and Maria are less sure about how this is going to play out.
Cartoon A guru counts to twenty. (shown in English, then Spanish)
Producer: Ken Snyder; Music: Billy Taylor
(First: Episode 0276)
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SCENE 3 David and Tom approach Oscar's trash can where Bert can be seen throwing a bunch of junk out onto the sidewalk. He explains to them that he's moved in, and has taken it upon himself to remove the rusty cans from the swimming pool and the old shoes sitting on his piano. Oscar returns, and is annoyed to find his junk lying out on the street. Bert thought he'd appreciate it if he cleaned up the place for him, but Oscar prefers it the way it is, and tells Bert that he can find someplace else to live.
Cartoon An N-terview with an N
(First: Episode 0131)
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SCENE 4 Big Bird has graciously invited Bert to stay with him in his nest, inside of which Bert is now sitting. He thanks Big Bird for his hospitality and asks if he has any toys. When Big Bird produces a long, thick rubber worm for them to play with, Bert freaks out at its enormity and appallingly shouts for Big Bird to put it away.
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Wondering if Ernie's Rubber Duckie isn't so bad after all, Bert is asked if he wants to listen to the radio and eat a snack. Warm to the idea, he quickly realizes he and Big Bird have the same taste in music, and begins to groove out with his new roommate. Big Bird moves on to the snack, produces a bag of bird seed, and proceeds to fill Bert's mouth. Disgusted, Bert spits the seed out, realizing that it was not the sweet, delicious cookie he expected.
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Declining Big Bird's offer for more, Bert says he'd just like to take a nap. Big Bird says he's sleepy too and begins to position himself in bed with Bert. After some wrangling in several positions, they realize that there's just no way for them to get comfortable lying together. Bert soon realizes that living with Ernie may not have been so bad after all and resolves to return to their apartment. He thanks Big Bird for his geniality, but ultimately leaves shuddering at the thought of the terrifying rubber toy and all that disgusting seed.
Cartoon Two alpine climbers hike up a letter Z and stake a claim on it.
(First: Episode 0281)
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SCENE 5 Ernie sits alone in the apartment acknowledging that Bert left him, but he has since resolved to come back home again. Ernie's so happy to have Bert back, that he has planned a little surprise welcome home party. When Bert enters, Ernie releases an explosion of confetti all over him and tells him how happy he is that he's returned. As Ernie's excitement rises, Bert's initial pleasure of seeing him again quickly turns to annoyance. Ernie gets Bert to promise he'll never leave him again, and once he's sure Bert is here to stay for good, Ernie tells him he can clean up, then; he's going outside to play football. Bert is flabbergasted.
Cartoon Z for zebra and zoo
(First: Episode 0281)
Song Joe Raposo sings "Kangaroo Blues."
(First: Episode 0277)
Short long skirts.jpg
Film Kids narrate a film about shorter and longer skirts.
(First: Episode 0304)
Cartoon Alice Braithwaite Goodyshoes and a monster use hot dogs to demonstrate "long" and "short."
(First: Episode 0289)
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SCENE 6 David borrows two tin cans from Oscar, asking some kids, in song, how they're similar. After the kids give their answers, Oscar points out that they can be different too, leading to a second round, this time explaining the differences. Oscar gives his own answer on how they're different: one is good, and the other is not too good. He then asks David if he can have the good can. When David hands him the shiny and new can, Oscar says that he was referring to the old, rusty can, which he takes with him.
Animation "The King of Eight"
(First: Episode 0225)
Muppets The Anything Muppets sing "Octopus' Garden." (ending edited)
(First: Episode 0019)
cut from the HBO Max version
Wally and Ralph rain box.jpg
Cast Wally and Ralph: Wally thanks Ralph for a box of stuff he's been gifted, but worries about how he'll get home in the rain without getting wet. He empties the box's contents to use as a covering on his head, but now he has nothing to carry all that stuff with.
cut from the HBO Max version
Muppets Ernie & Bert β€” Ernie imagines what life would be like if he and Bert had their characteristics switched around.
(First: Episode 0299)
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Cast Quick cuts to Maria zipping a zipper, Bob and the kids making toy cars go zoom, and Tom watching a girl zig-zagging through three other kids lined up.
Muppets "The Zizzy Zoomers"
Film Swimming and flying pelicans.
(First: Episode 0322)
Muppets The Trading Game: Contestants Sally Screamer and Oscar the Grouch bring in items that they can trade for an item in a mystery box.
(First: Episode 0279)
Film Mad Painter #8
(First: Episode 0326)
Cartoon Two alpine climbers hike up a letter Z and stake a claim on it. (repeat)
Muppets Alien Alphabet
(First: Episode 0277)
Big Bird Shola sticks.jpg
Muppets Muppet & Kid Moment β€” Big Bird and Shola demonstrate a big stick versus a little stick.
(First: Episode 0306)
Cartoon Nancy the nanny goat nibbles her nails and notices noodles.
Artist: Tee Collins
(First: Episode 0240)
0359 Tom skate.jpg
Cast It's time to play "What Happens Next?" Tom is carrying a big load of groceries and can't see too well in front of him. He's about to step on a roller skate. What do you think will happen next?
(First: Episode 0312)
Cartoon "Candy Man"
Artist: Bud Luckey
George tallershorter.jpg
Film George the Farmer's ladder gets taller and shorter, as does his box of berries.
(First: Episode 0289)
Muppets Zs come out of Herry Monster's mouth as he snores. (part two)
(First: Episode 0307)
0359 count tomatoes.jpg
Cast Mr. Macintosh counts out eight tomatoes for Maria.
Film Joe Raposo sings "A Little Bit" over a film about tomatoes growing in a field.
(EKA: Episode 0288)
Cartoon An N-terview with an N (repeat)
Muppets Kermit's Lectures: Grover helps Kermit demonstrate "long" and "short" by picking up a short ladder. Then Kermit says he'll help Grover bring in a long ladder, but Grover says he'll get it alone. He carries the long ladder past Kermit, who's amazed that Grover can get it all by himself. When the other end of the ladder passes by, Grover is holding that end too.
(First: Episode 0276)
Cartoon Kids narrate a letter 'Z' drawing
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SCENE 7 Bert is once more on the stoop of his apartment building saying goodbye. Everyone asks him if he's leaving Ernie again, but he says he was just saying goodbye to the viewer. Tom announces the sponsors.

CLOSING SIGNS The Sesame Street sign floats above Ernie and Bert, while Maria holds up the CTW sign at the end.


  • Ernie and Bert would later consider going their separate ways in a dream scenario first seen in Episode 0672. Bert would later try to move out in Episode 4810. Ernie also tries to move out in the book Ernie's Big Mess when he and Bert argue over the mess.

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