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The title screen for Journey to Ernie.


Big Bird asks a two-headed beachcomber if they've seen Ernie.

Journey to Ernie is a recurring Sesame Street segment which focuses on Big Bird's hide-and-seek game with Ernie. It premiered in Season 33 and features the Muppet characters interacting with computer-animated backdrops.

In the original format, Ernie hid inside a box with a striped pattern similar to that of his shirt and a rubber ducky. Big Bird had to locate Ernie's box, a task he usually accomplished after finding two other, similar boxes which did not contain Ernie. Big Bird's discovery of an incorrect box triggered a non-Ernie sketch or film while the revelation of the correct box launched a segment prominently featuring Ernie.

In season 34, the format was changed. The segments began with Ernie interrupting Big Bird's normal routine with a challenge to play the game. The animated environments in the new format are more fully realized than in the previous incarnation of the segment and Ernie no longer hides in a box. Big Bird now searches based on clues from Ernie, and the Two-Headed Monster appears regularly to offer some not-so-helpful advice. The new format also featured a closing song sung by Big Bird and Ernie at the end of every segment.

"Journey to Ernie" started to appear less frequently in season 36 and was dropped the following season. According to the book Sesame Street: A Celebration - 40 Years of Life on the Street,

โ€œ"It was very popular, especially among the younger children," [Dr.] Rosemarie [Truglio] says. "They loved the game of hide and seek." But however popular the segment was, writers and the producers felt it wasn't 'Sesame' enough, and wasn't a comfortable fit. The look and feel of the animation was too similar to other shows on the television schedule and, while funny, it didn't mesh with the whole show.[1]โ€

Matt Vogel performed Big Bird in all "Journey to Ernie" segments.

Sequences from the Original Format (2002)[]

All of these sequences were repeated in other Journey to Ernie sketches during season 33, in different sequence orders. With the exceptions of the introduction and closing, each sequence ended with Big Bird finding Ernie. These parts were edited from sketches that showed these sequences as the first and second sequences.

Picture Location / First Appearance Description

Episode 3981

Introduction of Journey to Ernie.
Outer Space

Episode 3981

Big Bird is in Outer Space, asking a Martian for help finding Ernie's box.

Episode 3981

Big Bird follows a penguin pattern at a snowy location in search of Ernie.
The Disco

Episode 3982

Big Bird looks for Ernie at a disco.

Episode 3982

Big Bird searches for Ernie's box at the supermarket.

Episode 3983

Big Bird looks for Ernie after walking the tight rope at a circus.
Dinosaur Land

Episode 3984

Big Bird asks a dinosaur for help finding Ernie.
Chicken House

Episode 3984

Big Bird talks to chickens in search of Ernie.

Episode 3984

Big Bird looks for Ernie's box by repeating a clapping pattern.
The Farm

Episode 3993

Big Bird looks for Ernie's box by singing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" with the Three Little Pigs.

Segments (2003-2005)[]

Picture Location / First Description
Musical Instrument Land

Episode 4031

Big Bird looks for Ernie in a land that is filled with musical instruments, many of which play "Rubber Duckie." (Footage from this sequence could be seen in the opening of the show beginning in Season 34.)
Old MacDonald's Farm

Episode 4032

Big Bird looks for Ernie at Old MacDonald's Farm by asking questions to the animals there.

Episode 4033

Big Bird looks for Ernie in the jungle.

Episode 4034

Big Bird looks for Ernie at the beach.
Shape Land

Episode 4037

Big Bird hunts for Ernie in a land full of floating geometric shapes. Telly Monster appears hanging out in his favorite shape: a triangle.
Rubber Duckie Land

Episode 4042

Ernie hides in a land filled with Rubber Duckies.
Nursery Rhyme Land

Episode 4057

Big Bird meets characters from nursery rhymes while searching for Ernie.
Journey to Big Bird

Episode 4058

Ernie and Big Bird switch places and Ernie looks for Big Bird at a circus.

Episode 4059

Big Bird climbs a beanstalk in search of Ernie.
One of These Things

Episode 4062

Big Bird looks for Ernie in a land full of animated boards for the classic song/game. Here, he learns that sometimes more than one answer is right.
Dancing Land

Episode 4063

Ernie hides in a land full of dancing creatures, plants, and other natural objects; even the sun dances in the sky there.

Episode 4064

If Big Bird finds something that rhymes with the words that he saw written in chalk on the pavement, he will find Ernie.
Chilly, Icy, and Snowyville

Episode 4071

Big Bird looks for Ernie in the snowy land.
JTE Transportation
Transportation Land

Episode 4093

Ernie hides in a land full of transportation vehicles and other things to ride on.
Dinosaur Age

Episode 4095

Ernie hides in the land of dinosaurs.
The Letter B Museum

Episode 4096

Ernie hides in a museum where all the exhibits have names beginning with B. Bob makes a cameo appearance in this oneโ€”not as an exhibit, but as a visitor on his way home.
Journey to Bert

Episode 4108

Bert replaces Ernie in the game, and Big Bird looks for Bert in a land full of food.


Alternate versions of the title screen when other characters take Ernie's place:


See also[]