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Sesame Street
Big Bird tells the shortest and longest stories ever told
Air date December 21, 1973
Season Season 5 (1973-1974)
Directed by Stan Lathan
Production May 30, 1973
Sponsors V, X, 4
Releases Paley Center Archive


Picture Segment Description
SCENE 1 Big Bird, hosting a Tonight Show-esque production, gathers everyone around to tell them the "shortest story ever told" -- "Once upon a time there was a little girl, and she lived happily ever after." Everyone encourages him to tell a longer story, so Big Bird decides to take a "short intermission".
Cartoon The great Alphonso and his trained X's
(First: Episode 0299)
Muppets Four Anything Muppet cheerleaders give four big cheers for the number 4.
(First: Episode 0132)
SCENE 1 cont'd Big Bird comes back out with the "longest story ever told" -- "Once upon a time there was a little girl, and she walked and walked and ..." Gordon unsuccessfully tries to leave.
Elephant toon.jpg
Cartoon Elephants have 4 legs.
SCENE 1 cont'd Big Bird continues the long story: "And then she met a rhinoceros and said, 'I'd like to take a walk.' And they walked and walked and..."
Cartoon The Story of Cowboy X, with the voices of Jean Shepherd
(First: Episode 0325)
SCENE 1 cont'd Big Bird: "And they walked and walked and ..." By now, everyone has fallen asleep.
Cartoon Donnie Budd counts four lions.
Artist: Bud Luckey
(First: Episode 0300)
SCENE 1 cont'd Big Bird: "And they walked and walked and came to the end. And they lived happily ever after." Upon this, the audience (now covered in cobwebs) wakes up and cheers excitedly. Susan then suggests a glass of milk. However, a tired Big Bird wants to go for a walk himself...
Cartoon "Poverty X": A peanut-shaped figure lists the words that the letter "X" can be found in.
(First: Episode 0006)
Muppets Guy Smiley hosts "The Trading Game" with contestants Oscar the Grouch and Sally Screamer.
(First: Episode 0279)
V in space.JPG
Cartoon V in space
(First: Episode 0481)
Song Joe Raposo sings "Everybody Sleeps."
(First: Episode 0406)
Cartoon Three birds enter a cuckoo clock to do their job.
(First: Episode 0407)
Cast Wally and Ralph: Wally needs to borrow a pencil from Ralph, but he writes with the wrong end of it.
(First: Episode 0360)
Cartoon I've Got a Mind: Wind-up toy
(First: Episode 0255)
Muppets Ernie & Bert β€” Ernie has a licorice whip that he offers to share with Bert. He divides the licorice in half with a pair of scissors, but then discovers that Bert's half is longer than his. He cuts off a little bit of Bert's half, and eats it. Then he discovers that his own half is longer than Bert's, and that's not fair, so he cuts a bit off of his own, and eats it. Ernie goes back and forth, shaving off more and more, until the licorice whip is gone.
(First: Episode 0461)
Celebrity Stevie Wonder sings "123 Sesame Street."
(First: Episode 0514)
Cartoon Brand X
(First: Episode 0299)
Film Four Song (Song of Four)
(First: Episode 0006)
Cartoon Speech Balloon: X for X-ray
(First: Episode 0064)
Beat The Time.JPG
Muppets Guy Smiley hosts "Beat the Time". In order to win a cookie, Cookie Monster has to bring in three things that rhyme with the word "rain" before the hand goes around the clock. They turn out to be an old man's "cane", a "chain" (to which Frazzle is attached), and finally a "train" which destroys the set.
(First: Episode 0446)
Cartoon A concert pianist shows up in a construction worker's lunchbox, singing the alphabet.
(First: Episode 0449)
Film Traffic light
Music: Joe Raposo
(First: Episode 0131)
Cartoon A story of a man who hates frogs (voiced by Daws Butler), until his swamp becomes infested with flies.
(First: Episode 0387)
SCENE 2 Oscar hurriedly has David write BUS STOP on a sign for his trash can. To David's surprise, it turns out the bus is running from underneath the trash can, which Oscar misses. Oscar responds, β€œYou wouldn’t expect I’m gonna have to walk all the way from my bedroom to my living room, do ya?” Another one then passes, which Oscar misses again... this time, headed to his kitchen.
Muppets Muppet & Kid Moment β€” Ernie, Bert and Shola talk about the letter X.
At the doll factory.jpg
Film Women put dolls together and package them at a doll factory.
(First: Episode 0538)
Muppets Three Anything Muppets (including Farley) wait for a bus at a bus stop. To their surprise, the bus is very small, and two small Muppets get off of it.
(First: Episode 0189)
Cartoon Speech Balloon: V for Violin
A musician plays a violin, which instantly breaks.
(First: Episode 0052)
Muppets Muppet & Kid Moment β€” Grover and Loren count to twenty.
(First: Episode 0290)
Cartoon Donnie Budd counts four lions. (repeat)
Artist: Bud Luckey
Muppets Harvey Kneeslapper: X Marks the Spot!
(First: Episode 0456)
Transition Bridge #10 - Bricks Bridge A
(First: Episode 0286)
Muppets Sherlock Hemlock sings "X Marks the Spot!"
(First: Episode 0351)
Transition Bridge #11 - Bricks Bridge B
(First: Episode 0286)
Insert Stevie Wonder teaches Grover how to sing loud and soft.
(First: Episode 0514)
Video Counting train cars
Music: Joe Raposo
(First: Episode 0426)
Cartoon Commander 0 assembles numbers 1-20.
(First: Episode 0536)
George tallershorter.jpg
Film George the Farmer's ladder gets longer and shorter, as does his box of berries.
(First: Episode 0289)
Muppets Kermit's Lectures: Kermit and Grover demonstrate short and long -- Kermit sings and hops for short periods, while Grover does them for long periods. Finally Grover asks if he can do the short thing and Kermit do the long thing. To Grover's detriment, it turns out to be tickling!
Dot Bridge 02 late.jpg
Cartoon Dot Bridge #2: Last dot is late and travels through the others
(First: Episode 0001)
SCENE 3 As Gordon, Susan, and Maria play ball with the kids, Big Bird arrives to add another chapter to his long story, much to everyone's displeasure ("And they walked and walked and...") David announces the sponsors and the closing credit crawl follows.

CLOSING SIGNS David and Maria hold up the Sesame Street sign, while Susan holds the Children's Television Workshop sign.

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