He was named after his performer Jerry Nelson, who recalled in a 2009 interview:
Little Jerry originally wore a hippie dashiki through the early 1980s. By Episode 2452 (1988), in which the Monotones visit Sesame Street, Little Jerry began wearing a flashy white and black leather jacket with a chain necklace. For the band's concert performance in Episode 3898 (2000), he also sports a pair of sunglasses.
Though Little Jerry is considered to be male, in one Shalom Sesame sketch, in which an actress dubbed the character for "Proud," host Mandy Patinkin introduced the rocker as female: "Little Jeri (sic) is loud and proud, and why shouldn't she be?."
In the song "Mad," Little Jerry mentions having a naughty little brother and a mother who blames him for the former's misbehavior. He also mentions them in Episode 2452, which makes him mad again.
Evolution and performer history
Little Jerry's design evolved from the Anything Muppet hippies that frequently appeared in the first season of Sesame Street. A Green mop-haired drummer (performed by Jim Henson) sang a cover of "Spinning Wheel." A similar dashiki wearing Green AM (Frank Oz) appeared in "Before and After."
The puppet design continued to appear in season 2 with some variations; with lavender skin in a sketch on the word "run," and sporting black hair in two other sketches, one with Grover demonstrating "exit," and the remake of "Before and After." Fran Brill performed the puppet in an early sketch with Grover teaching the word "walk."
The original version of "Surprise" featured a black-haired Lavender AM (Jerry Nelson) singing lead vocals. "Mad" marked the first definitive appearance of the Monotones, and Little Jerry's design would remain mostly consistent from this point forward.
- Rock & Roll! (1990)
- Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum (1974)
- The Sesame Street ABC Storybook (1974)
- Big Bird's Busy Book (1975)
- The Sesame Street Block Party Coloring Book (1977)
- The Sesame Street Dictionary (1980)
- Nelson, Jerry Tough Pigs Interview