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A series of Sesame Street segments featuring Maria paid tribute to silent film star Charlie Chaplin.

Maria actress Sonia Manzano appeared dressed much like Chaplin's "The Tramp" character (complete with mustache and necktie, and sometimes using a hooked cane), engaging in silent film antics often simulated via the pixillation camera process.

The skits were usually stand-alone segments, but some were included within the context of other material. The Chaplin character was joined in later seasons by a second Chaplin played by Linda Bove, who also played other unnamed characters, as well as Emilio Delgado.

The segments appeared on the show as early as season five, and many of them were written by Manzano, who reflected on them in a 2003 interview on Art Express:

I loved Charlie Chaplin when I was a college student, and I have been able to write myself as Charlie Chaplin. So, I was able to fulfill a little fantasy of my own on Sesame Street and I was happy that I was able to fulfill their education goals with that as well.[1]

Sketches

Picture Summary / EKA Description
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Top and Bottom Drawers
Episode 0541
A voiceover instructs Chaplin where to put the shirts and the towels.
Later airings of this sketch replace the music and narration.
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Open Door
Episode 0673
Chaplin struggles to open a door in limbo. Eventually it opens on its own revealing the letter O on a brick wall. David sits on a park bench (also in limbo) and says "o" in a number of different ways. He eventually ages with white hair and a beard, but he's still able to jump up and tap his heels together.
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Newspaper
Episode 0753
Chaplin tries to throw away a newspaper into a rapidly moving litter can. When she finally does, the exit door also moves and she breaks down the wall
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Long, Longer, Longest
Episode 0786
Chaplin gets their suspenders stuck on a wall while reaching for the door, demonstrating long, longer, and longest.
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EXIT
Episode 0832
Chaplin tries to leave through the door marked EXIT, but the sign keeps moving, and a brick wall appears behind each opened door. Finally, she makes her own exit through a hole in the wall.
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Surprises
Episode 0911
Maria makes a cameo as the Tramp during an ensemble song about surprises.
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ME
Episode 1032
Chaplin looks in a mirror and sees "ME." Maria's reflection is played by Linda.
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Tuxedo Thread
Episode 1042
Chaplin notices a short thread on Luis' tuxedo, which becomes long as he pulls it, unraveling Luis's trousers!
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One Way
Episode 1048
Chaplin tries walking against a stream of foot traffic following a sign that reads ONE WAY.
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Don't Walk
Episode 1166
Chaplin deals with an unruly "Don't Walk / Walk" signal.
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Umbrellas
Episode 1174
The two Chaplins open umbrellas.
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Bench Balancing
Episode 1181
The two Chaplins find ways to balance both sides of a see-sawing park bench.
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HAT
Episode 1580
Chaplin finds a HAT sign near a hatrack with a new hat. He tries replacing his crummy, worn-out one with it, but the sign falls apart each time.
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In the Rain
Episode 1739
Chaplin leaves a store on a rainy day. When Chaplin's umbrella doesn't work well, he looks for something else to keep him dry. He first hides under a woman's (Linda) poncho, then buys a newspaper from a store keeper (Luis), but as soon as Chaplin puts the newspaper over his head, it stops raining.
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Number Six
Episode 1962
Chaplin illustrates the number 6 using balloons.
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COLD
Episode 1964
Chaplin is out in the cold.
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HOP
Episode 1982
Chaplin obeys the word HOP, then switches it to STOP.
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Museum
Episode 2033
Maria as Chaplin falls in love with a painting (Linda) at the art museum.
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The Picnic
Episode 2071
Ernie and Bert go see a silent movie, "The Picnic" (starring Maria as Chaplin and Linda as the girl).
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What Happens Next
Episode 2328
Gordon hosts "What Happens Next," in which the viewer has to guess what kind of humiliation Chaplin is going to face before Gordon rings the Dinger's ding-dong bell. First, the tramp slips on a banana peel, then collapses when sitting on a three-legged bench. Finally, when a rain cloud is about to rain on him, he shifts the cloud over to the left of the screen so it rains on Gordon instead.

Notes

  • A new sketch was scripted for use in Episode 2912 (originally planned to be Episode 2888), entitled "Chaplin and the Litterbug." Set in a park, the sketch would feature Chaplin (Maria) attempting to get a villainous litterbug (Gina, portraying a male character) to throw his crumpled piece of trash into a can instead of the ground.[2]

Gallery

See also

Sources

  1. "Art Express" Classic - Maria on "Sesame Street"
  2. Script documents provided by a trusted source.
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