Sesame Street
Telly and the Mysterious X
Air date March 24, 1999
Season Season 30 (1998-1999)
Written by Christine Ferraro
Sponsors X, 4
Syndication 123 Sesame Street
PBS Sprout


Picture Segment Description

SCENE 1 Telly and Rosita welcome the viewer and are going to introduce the sponsors. Telly covers the number of the day (four) and prompts Rosita to reveal the letter of the day, but she doesn't know it. She goes to find out, leaving Telly alone...with a strange whistling sound. Ominous music plays and a large silver X with black eyes emerges from Oscar's trash can area and floats around the street sign. Rosita returns, having learned today's letter, but finds Telly in shock, stammering, "X...X...X!" and pointing to where the X once was.
Animation The letter X in various typefaces.
(First: Episode 2862)
Film The letter X dances at the beach.
(First: Episode 3588)
Muppets Muppet & Kid Moment โ€” Grover and Patrick, "moon buddies," pretend to go to the moon. They see some aliens eating moon pizza, and some astronauts.
(First: Episode 3697)
Cartoon Jerry Nelson sings "Moonshine."
(First: Episode 2775)
SCENE 2 Telly tells Rosita about the strange X, but he agrees that neither he or Rosita have ever seen anything like it around Sesame Street before. Rosita thinks it must be his imagination, when the X appears again! Telly tries to get her attention, but the X is gone by the time she looks.
Cartoon Suzie Kabloozie sings about the things she can imagine herself doing "In My Head."
(First: Episode 3526)

Insert "Professor Television" (Bill Irwin) tries to demonstrate the word DANGER.
(First: Episode 3627)
Song "Danger, Danger" - a man (Rondell Sheridan) falls into a sewer and experiences a series of dangers which he can hopefully rectify.
SCENE 3 Big Bird (Matt Vogel) accompanies Rosita in looking for the supposed letter X that Telly tells them about. While they're gone, the music begins once more and Telly spots the X. Big Bird and Rosita arrive with an X they've found instead...
Film Ornate Xs spin around in accompaniment to a song.
(First: Episode 2929)
SCENE 3 cont'd Telly tries to point them toward the strange X behind him, but it disappears once more. Rosita suggests Telly lie down, but he runs off vowing to find it ("The truth is out there!").
Animation A Keith Haring mural comes to life after some kids EXIT.
(First: Episode 3006)
Cartoon Campers don't want to play ring toss with Zork, until their counselor reminds them not to be judgmental.
(First: Episode 2761)
Animation Four butterflies fly across a film of a waterfall.
(First: Episode 2834)
Cartoon Number Guy: โ€˜โ€™โ€™How Many Elephants Can You Fit in a Room?โ€™โ€™โ€™ The answer is 4.
(First: Episode 3358)
Film Four kids dance in a colorblock grid.
(First: Episode 3149)
Song โ€œYou Don't Have to Be a Grizzlyโ€ eat some honey!
(First: Episode 3398)
SCENE 4 At Hooper's Store, Alan convinces Devon to try some mashed potatoes (which he's never had before). A panicked Telly enters the store and is given some to calm down. Telly describes the X to Alan as he serves Telly more and more. Soon, Telly's constructed an X out of his potatoes!
Film Wegman dogs form the letter X and demonstrate an X-ray.
(First: Episode 3535)
Muppets Mysterious Theater
Sherlock Hemlock is commissioned to find the shape of a circle in an antique castle before time runs out at 5:00. Watson does his best to point out that the face of a clock is the shape of a circle. (new music and sound effects added)
(First: Episode 2706)
Film / Animation Circles of all kinds are displayed as funky rap music plays.
(First: Episode 3126)
SCENE 5 Telly rejoins Big Bird and Rosita, and now all of them hear the strange whistling. They spot the letter X behind them and Telly tries communicating with it. The X only replies with, "Xylophone." They all agree they need a grown-up's help and call for Maria.
Muppets Ernie's Show and Tell
Ernie visits his friend Zachary, who plays the trumpet. He explains how practicing is important to play an instrument well.
(First: Episode 3804)
Film Kids sing the alphabet on an island.
(First: Episode 3154)
Animation Colored tools build a house out of colored rectangles, squares and triangles.
(First: Episode 3263)
Film A Japanese boy plays taiko drums in the park.
(First: Episode 3153)
SCENE 6 Maria believes the letter wants a xylophone and fetches one from the Fix-It Shop. The X thanks her (now being able to communicate) and reveals his dark eyes are in fact sunglasses. He begins playing an X-Files-esque tune on his instrument, while Telly whistles along.
Muppets Elmo's World: Music
(First: Episode 3824)
SCENE 7 The X has put everyone asleep playing the same tune over and over again. Telly asks if he knows anything else, and the X obliges with the first five notes of the "Sesame Street Theme" as Maria recites the sponsors.


  • The Street story spoofs The X-Files. The xylophone music that accompanies Telly's X sightings is a musical reference to the X-Files theme.
  • Telly makes an X from a pile of mashed potatoes in a nod to Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
  • During the last sighting, the X makes an in-joke using the Sesame Street theme song: when asked why it wears sunglasses, the letter mentions the bright light on the Street and sings the first few bars of the theme.
  • At an event at the Museum of the Moving Image in 2015, Alan Muraoka revealed that this episode only aired once due to being too scary.[1] The episode would later air on Noggin and Sprout, however.


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