|PERFORMER||Jerry Nelson 1971-1978|
|Michael Earl 1978-1981|
|Martin P. Robinson 1981-present|
Although his friends call him Snuffy, his full name is Aloysius Snuffleupagus. He is eternally four and a half years old, and celebrates his birthday on August 19. Snuffy's best friend is Big Bird, whom he affectionately calls "Bird."
His favorite foods are cabbage and spaghetti, and in the fifth season premiere, he revealed that he also drinks sassafras tea. In one episode during his debut season, it is revealed that Snuffy is afraid of fruit. He dislikes apples because he fears they might fall from the tree and hit him on the head, and he dislikes bananas out of fear that he might slip on the peels.
Snuffy is a big fan of opera music, and at one point attended daily rehearsals at Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. He even performed a light-opera rendition of the alphabet with Judy Collins. In one episode, Snuffy tap danced with Maurice and Gregory Hines, known as the Hines Brothers (who were appearing in the Broadway musical Eubie! at the time).
Mr. Snuffleupagus first appeared on Sesame Street in Episode 0276, the third season premiere. When he first appeared, many of the adults assumed that he was Big Bird's imaginary friend, due to a series of coincidences and near-miss encounters that continually kept Snuffleupaguses and humans apart. Big Bird would often try to find ways for Snuffy to meet the adults, but something would always cause Snuffy to leave before the humans could see him. Sometimes, all it would take for the adults to see Mr. Snuffleupagus would be to turn their heads, yet they usually wouldn't do so until Snuffy had already gone.
While Snuffy served as the show's resident incredulous figure for years, other characters had alleged imaginary friends of their own. Mr. Hooper reminisces about "Mr. Meshuggenah" in Episode 0513. Big Bird accuses David of manufacturing his childhood friend Bill in Episode 1140, and similarly doesn't believe in David's juggler friend Michael Davis (who also does not believe in Big Bird) in Episode 1959. Snuffy describes his friend the Wheelermonster in Episode 0806 (whom Big Bird believes to be made-up), in Episode 2014 Uncle Wally made up the very similar Mrs. Snortleoutagus, or "Snorty" for short, and, until she met him in Episode 1494, Mommy Snuffleupagus originally thought Big Bird to be Snuffy's imaginary friend. In fact, on at least two occasions (in episodes 0361 and 0731) the adults manage to — temporarily — convince Big Bird that his friend Snuffy isn't real.
From 1971 to 1985, various kids could see Mr. Snuffleupagus, some Muppets saw him, and even a few celebrities (including Judy Collins in a fantasy sequence), but the major human characters never believed his existence until Episode 2096, the season 17 premiere. In fact, many appearances of Snuffy on the show during the fourteen years in which he was "imaginary" (allegedly), involved some scenario in which the adults would be very close to meeting Snuffy, but then just miss him in the last moment. This was often due to Snuffy being called by his mommy or otherwise needing to go home in the time it took Big Bird to gather his friends. Snuffy can be heard in some tracks on the 1972 album Havin' Fun with Ernie and Bert, yet none of the other Muppets acknowledge his presence. By the seventh season, Snuffy is so used to people not seeing him that in Episode 0796 he counts everyone who doesn't notice him.
One year earlier, in Episode 1966 (the season 16 premiere), Big Bird made an impassioned plea to the adults resulting in Maria, Gordon, and Linda deciding to believe that Snuffy was real despite the lack of evidence. (Maria had periodically shown signs of believing as early as Episode 1800 when she saw Snuffy's giant toaster.) In Episode 2042, while Gordon made plans to meet Snuffy, Oscar instead ended up seeing Snuffy for the first time, and later that season, Oscar let Snuffy join the Grouchketeers.
Mr. Snuffleupagus became real to the entire cast for a few reasons. One was because the writers were running out of new ways to have Snuffy just barely miss meeting them. Another factor was increased concerns that the adults' refusal to believe Big Bird's claims of his friend's existence would discourage children from sharing important things with their parents.
Many years later, the writers played at Snuffy's original imaginary role in episodes 4069 and 4070 for a plot in which Snuffy became invisible. Martin Robinson once said about Snuffy, "He's not invisible, he just has bad timing!"
Mr. Snuffleupagus lives with his family in a cave located at 456 Snuffle Circle. His little sister Alice was featured as a main character for several years, and he has a Snuffleupagus friend at school named Rosalyn. Sometimes he can be seen playing with his puppet Gus or his stuffed toy Mr. Anteloper.
- Mommy Snuffleupagus
- Daddy Snuffle
- Alice Snuffleupagus (younger sister)
- Aunt Agnes Snuffleupagus
- Granny Snuffle
- Abigail Snuffleupagus (cousin)
- Señor Esnofelopago (cousin)
- Uncle Abe
In 1992, the producers of Sesame Street tested an episode in which Snuffy's parents get a divorce. After a series of arguments, Daddy Snuffle moved out of the cave, and Snuffy and Alice had to deal with the emotional fallout of a breakup. The episode didn't test well with children, and the producers decided to shelve it. In the context of the show, Mommy and Daddy Snuffleupagus are still married. For more information, see "Snuffy's Parents Get a Divorce".
- Episode 0276: Snuffy first appears
- Episode 0331: Snuffy celebrates his 2nd birthday
- Episode 0731: Big Bird almost believes Snuffy is imaginary
- Episodes 1090-1095: Trip to Hawaii
- Episode 1122: Big Bird and Snuffy remember how they met.
- Episode 1494: Big Bird visits Snuffy's cave for the first time
- Episode 1496: Snuffy learns sign language
- Episode 1800: Cousin Abigail visits
- Episode 1938: Snuffy goes to the Movies
- Episode 2042: Oscar meets Mr. Snuffleupagus
- Episode 2058: Snuffy joins The Grouchketeers
- Episode 2096: The adults meet Snuffy for the first time
- Episode 2410: Snuffy introduces his sister, Alice
- Episode 2477: Snuffy plays with Alice
- Episode 3821: Snuffy draws a huge picture for Gina
- Episode 4069 - Episode 4070: Snuffy's Invisible
- Episode 4088: Snuffy wants to be a cloud
- Episode 4091: Snuffy feels he's too big
- Episode 4223: Snuffy sneezes all over Sesame Street
- Episode 4321: Lifting Snuffy
- Episode 4414: Snuffy serves at Hooper's Store
Some early scripts written with the character in them originally referred to Snuffy as "Galopogus." The script for Episode 0278 includes the internal note "Galopogus is known as Snuffle-upagus now."
It takes two people to perform Mr. Snuffleupagus. The person who performs the front also performs the voice. Jerry Nelson was the first to play the character. Most sources (including Sesame Street Unpaved and 40 Years of Life on the Street) state that back problems caused by the physical stress of the performance forced him to bow out, but in a 2009 interview, Jerry Nelson gave a different explanation for giving up the role: "I was not loath to give that character up. But the reasons for giving it up were because at that time we were doing The Muppet Show and he was a real part of the show, and they needed his presence. So they asked if I’d mind giving it up." Michael Earl Davis took over for three seasons from 1978 to 1981, and then Marty Robinson became the permanent voice and face of Snuffy. The back of Mr. Snuffleupagus has been performed by Richard Hunt, Brian Muehl, Frank Kane, and Peter Friedman, but since 1979, the regular back-end has been Bryant Young.
Jerry Nelson recalled in the film Muppet Guys Talking that in casting for Snuffleupagus, Jon Stone described the character as "Eeyore-like." Hence, Snuffy originally spoke in a low, sad-sounding tone of voice, which was gradually lightened over time, and his catchphrase was "Ohhh, dear."
In the early years of Snuffy's Sesame Street appearances, his entrances were scored by a low-range brass musical cue (composed by Joe Raposo) which could be heard by those who could see him (Big Bird explains to Mrs. Sharp in Episode 0965 that when Snuffy walks, he makes a musical sound). A modified version of this theme appeared on various Sesame Street albums, and was the basis for Snuffy's song-and-dance "Doin' the Snuffleupagus."
Because the Snuffy costume is so enormous, the suit is stored above the studio soundstage, with a pink blanket wrapped over it, when not in use. During the filming of the Hawaii episodes, the costume was maneuvered to different locations using a helicopter.
The Snuffy puppet and his facial movements are operated entirely from within the puppet. There is a long stick that moves his eyes around, a long string to pull down his eyelids, and a handle to pull down the lower part of his mouth, as the size of his mouth makes it practically impossible for a puppeteer to operate it like a normal puppet. The interior was first publicly shown in the Sesame Family Robinson blog post "HandyMan in Snuffleupagus". In another post, Marty Robinson explained that in between takes, one of the camera operators will fan air through the mouth of the puppet to cool off the puppeteers. Robinson also explained it was a lot easier to perform the puppet when it was warm as he was less likely to pull muscles, although on some days he would sweat through three or four t-shirts.
- Similar to how Big Bird often mispronounced Mr. Hooper's name as Mr. Looper, Snuffy would mispronounce Mr. Handford's name as Mr. Handfoot.
- His shoe size (or at least his roller skate size) is 65 triple G, as said in Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake.
- Snuffy gets weighed in Episode 1606 and discovers he weighs 1,000 pounds.
- According to Snuffy's baby book in Episode 2267, Snuffy's first words were "Ohhh, dear."
- Sesame Street
- Julie on Sesame Street
- Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
- Don't Eat the Pictures
- Follow that Bird
- Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting
- Sesame Street Stays Up Late
- Elmo Saves Christmas
- The Rosie O'Donnell Show (November 11, 1998)
- Elmo's Christmas Countdown
- Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala (June 2, 2010)
- Spaghetti Space Chase
- Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (September 25, 2013)
- Good Morning America (September 12, 2014)
- Saturday Night Live (April 11, 2015)
- The Rachael Ray Show (October 30, 2015)
- Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration
- Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (2019)
- Havin' Fun with Ernie & Bert
- Sesame Street LIVE!
- Big Bird Sings!
- Merry Christmas from Sesame Street
- Sleepytime Bird
- Sing: Songs of Joe Raposo
- Kids' Favorite Songs
- Elmo Saves Christmas: Holiday Favorites
- Kids' Favorite Songs 2
Books that focus on Snuffy include:
- Don't Be Shy (1987)
- Meet Mr. Snuffle-upagus (1988)
- The Day Snuffy Had the Sniffles (1988)
- Bert and the Magic Lamp (1989): "Life-Styles of the Large and Furry"
- See You Later, Mashed Potater! (1990)
- Other book appearances
- The Sesame Street 1, 2, 3 Storybook (1973)
- Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum (1974)
- The Sesame Street ABC Storybook (1974)
- The Great Sesame Street ABC Hunt (1975)
- The Sesame Street A to Z Coloring Book (1976)
- The Tool Box Book (1980)
- I Have a Friend (1981)
- Prairie Dawn's Upside-Down Poem (1981)
- Put & Play Magic Show (1981)
- Big and Little Stories (1982)
- Sesame Street Finding Out Encyclopedia 3: The C Book (1982)
- Sesame Street Finding Out Encyclopedia 5: The EF Book (1982)
- Sesame Street Finding Out Encyclopedia 12: The S Book (1982)
- Don't Cry, Big Bird (1983)
- There's No Place Like Home (1983)
- Big Bird's Alphabet Book (1984)
- Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street? (1984)
- I Think That It Is Wonderful (1984)
- Lovable, Furry Old Grover in Please Don't Push the Red Button (1984)
- A Silly Sesame Street Story: The Three Little Pigs (1984)
- Big Bird Joins the Carnival (1985)
- Big Bird's Book of Rhymes (1985)
- Ernie's Finish the Picture (1985)
- Follow That Bird Activity Book (1985)
- Follow That Bird coloring book (1985)
- Grover's Book of Colors (1985)
- ABC (1986)
- A My Name Is Annabel (1986)
- Sesame Street ABC (1986)
- Colors (1987)
- A Rainy Day on Sesame Street (1987)
- Shape Up! (1987)
- A New Playground on Sesame Street (1988)
- A My Name Is Alice (1989)
- Museum of Monster Art (1990)
- Sleep Tight! (1991)
- We're Counting on You, Grover! (1991)
- Grover's 10 Terrific Ways to Help Our Wonderful World (1992)
- My Name Is Big Bird (1992)
- A New Way to Get to Sesame Street (1992)
- The Sesame Street Book of Poetry (1992)
- Sesame Street Stays Up Late (1995)
- Christmas Songs (1997)
- Elmo Saves Christmas (1997)
- It's Not Easy Being Big! (1998)
- The Fix-It Shop (2001)
- Clap Your Hands! (2002)
- Red or Blue, I Like You! (2005)
- Let's Compare Sizes (2006)
- Abby Cadabby's Rhyme Time (2007)
- All About Me! (2007)
- Friendly, Frosty Monsters (2007)
- Music Player Storybook (2007)
- What Makes You Giggle? (2007)
- Our Kind of Bird (2008)
- Storybook ABCs (2008)
- Love, Elmo (2009)
- Murray's First Book of Words (2010)
- Knickerbocker doll
- Snuffle-Upagus Dingy (Hasbro die-cast car)
- Applause PVCs -- many Mr. Snuffleupagus PVCs released
- Mr. Snuffleupagus bean
- Kellogg's mini bean
- Tyco PVC figure
- Mr. Snuffleupagus Through the Years
- Mr. Snuffleupagus Impersonators
- Mr. Snuffleupagus (animated)
- Snuffleupagus walk-around
- Season 40 Press Kit Bio and mentioned on-screen by Big Bird in Learning About Letters
- Borgenicht, David. Sesame Street Unpaved, p. 41.
- Personal Interview, Austin Costello
- scripts for Episode 0291 and 0293
- Nelson, Jerry Tough Pigs interview with Jerry Nelson
- See Talk:Michael Earl
- BMI#2762893 legally titled "Snuffy Theme"