Sesame Street
The adults are too busy to tell Elmo a story
Air date February 12, 1999
Season Season 30 (1998-1999)
Written by Mo Willems
Directed by Emily Squires
Sponsors S, 18
Syndication 123 Sesame Street
PBS Sprout


Picture Segment Description

SCENE 1 Big Bird welcomes the viewer as he takes a walk down the street. He runs into Elmo, who is on his way to hear Bob tell him a story. He has a bit of time to sing "The Alphabet Song" with Big Bird before rushing off to Bob.
Film / Animation A class makes up a story about a fish named Billy, which is told through animation based on the kids' drawings.
(First: Episode 3358)
Cartoon An alien runs 18 laps around Saturn's rings.
(First: Episode 3681)
Animation Growing Numbers #18
(First: Episode 2933)
Cartoon A spoof of Alice Cooper's "Eighteen" - the number of sandwiches the singer has to choose from.
(First: Episode 2859)
SCENE 2 Elmo finds Bob, who is too busy with Jenna's music lesson to tell Elmo a story. Elmo thinks Alan might be able to tell him a story instead.
Cartoon A boy learns to play his violin by practicing.
(First: Episode 1513)
Muppets / Celebrity Ben Stiller sings "The People in Your Neighborhood" with Telly, and decides that he'd like to be a person in the neighborhood. But does a cheese count as a person?
(First: Episode 3812)
Cartoon African quilt pattern
(First: Episode 3145)
SCENE 3 Elmo runs into Hooper's Store, which is swamped with customers (including Gordon and Benny Rabbit). Alan is too busy to tell Elmo a story too, so Elmo goes to find Maria.
Song A cowboy sings about S words.
(First: Episode 3649)
Muppets Prairie Dawn gives Grover 15 seconds to say an "S" word, but Grover has trouble concentrating due to the ticking of the clock.
(First: Episode 3551)
Cartoon Seymore the snail presents himself.
Artist: Mo Willems
(First: Episode 3756)
Song Leon Redbone sings "What Do They Do When They Go Wherever They Go?"
(First: Episode 3312)

SCENE 4 Elmo arrives at the Fix-It Shop and, seeing all the toasters needing fixing, immediately knows Maria won't be able to tell him a story either. He then gets a great idea - he can tell himself a story! He runs off and a customer complains about her toaster, which turns out to be a radio.
Cartoon A boy imagines his room turning into a jungle.
Artist: Karen Aqua
(First: Episode 2808)
Muppets Ernie & BertErnie can't sleep, because he's afraid of dark shadows and spooky things. Bert comforts him, and the two sing "Imagination" before falling asleep.
Cartoon A bird subtracts two balloons from a group of three.
Artist: Cliff Roberts
(First: Episode 0530)
SCENE 5 Elmo tells the viewer to come closer as he starts to tell his story...

SCENE 5 cont'd As the story begins, the Royal Music Teacher (Bob) is unable to give a lesson on the flugel-Elmo-horn to the Royal Kid (Jenna). The Royal Elmo arrives and saves the day by pointing out Bob has the instrument upside-down. Bob is grateful, when the Royal Elmo is pulled away to solve another problem.
SCENE 5 cont'd The Royal Sandwich Maker (Alan) has a big problem - the Royal Customers want peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but he only knows how to make jelly and peanut butter sandwiches. The Royal Elmo tells him to use the peanut butter first, then another of his friends needs his help.
SCENE 5 cont'd The Royal Fix-It Shop Lady (Maria) can't figure out why the royal toasters aren't working. Elmo shows her she needs to put bread in first.
SCENE 5 cont'd Back in reality, Elmo finds he enjoyed making up the story and decides to add more to it.
Song "S, You're the Best"
(First: Episode 3551)
Muppets Sesame Street Goes to Day Care
Telly and Baxter name S words.
Animation Airplanes carve the capital and lowercase S.
(First: Episode 3214)
Film A visual representation of the nursery rhyme "To Market" with Wegman's dogs.
(First: Episode 3543)
Cartoons Backward and forward: dancing, flying and swimming.
(First: Episode 3083)
SCENE 6 Elmo continues his story, where the Royal Elmo is feeling tired from helping everyone...
SCENE 6 cont'd The Royal Elmo is approached by the Royal (Big) Bird, who wants to play. Elmo tries to muster the energy, but immediately is called upon by the grown-ups, who have more silly problems. Elmo promises Big Bird he'll play with him as soon as he finds the time.

SCENE 6 cont'd Elmo wraps up his story, which is heard by the grown-ups. They tell him how much they enjoyed it and since they're free now, they'd like to tell him some stories. Elmo, sadly, has to go home, but looks forward to hearing their stories tomorrow. Big Bird comes by and enjoys the thought that they can tell their stories to him now.
Muppets Elmo's World: Books
(First: Episode 3817)
SCENE 7 Alan finishes his story on the origin of word "elephant," prompting Big Bird to tell a story of his own. Gordon announces the royal sponsors.


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