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DEBUT 1969

Professor Hastings is a character from Sesame Street. Hastings is an old professor who always falls asleep during his boring lectures. He often appeared with Kermit as his assistant, who would have to wake him up constantly.

The drowsy professor originally appeared as part of the classical trio that played "Spinning Wheel" in an insert for Episode 0012. Here, Hastings, who played horn alongside Professor Goldfinch, spoke only in incoherent mumbles and bore brown hair. In later sketches with Hastings as a lecturer, he wore a long-sleeved shirt with his vest, his hair became white and he occasionally wore glasses.

In 1974, CTW advisor Gerald S. Lesser offered this cogent summary of the character: "verging on senility; gives comically confused lectures; interrupting each at unpredictable occasions for short naps; sporadically capable of remarkably clear insights that stand in stark contrast to his general muddlement." In a 1990 episode of Learning Matters, Lesser said that he, a Harvard professor, was used as the model for the character according to Jon Stone.

Professor Hastings mostly appeared in Season 1; according to Sesame Street Unpaved, "He was performed by Frank Oz, but he didn't make the cut because he was, well, too dull." As summarized by Phyllis Feinstein in the 1971 book All About Sesame Street, "The professor, more boring than broadening, is no real loss...." According to Gerald S. Lesser in Learning Matters: Sesame Street, research showed that the character’s sleeping put the kids to sleep. Although he has never been a big hit in the US, he is still considered a very popular character in several European countries. In a few pieces of European merchandise, he is mixed up with Mr. Johnson from the Waiter Grover sketches.


Picture Title / First Description
"Spinning Wheel"
Episode 0012
A "quiet" trio of Professor Goldfinch, Hastings and a wild-haired Green Anything Muppet drummer perform the song. Hastings plays the horn section.
Letter Y
Episode 0096
Professor Hastings talks about the letter Y. As usual, he drifts off and Kermit has to remind him what he's teaching. When the frog's response is "Y", Hastings answers, "Because I forgot."
Episode 0106
Professor Hastings conducts a lecture about the ways people feel, but keeps drifting off. Meanwhile, two groups of Muppets behind him pass by; one cheering for their winning team, and the others crying for the losing team.

Background puppeteers include Daniel Seagren and Caroly Wilcox.[1][2]

Big and Little
Episode 0124
Professor Hastings talks about big and little using piles of blocks.
Episode 0129
Kermit and Professor Hastings on the importance of exercise.
Body Parts
Episode 0130
Kermit helps the professor discuss parts of the body.
Two Trucks
Episode 0141
Professor Hastings talks and shows how two dump trucks can be alike and also different.
Foot - SesameStreet-WhatsMyPart-foot906.jpg
What's My Part?
Episode 0164
Guy Smiley hosts "What's My Part?" The contestants are Bennett Snerf, Arlene Frantic and Professor Hastings, and the mystery part is a foot.
Letter U
Episode 0176
Professor Hastings discuss the letter U, but in his confusion, he first thinks he's talking about "you" (meaning himself), then his announcer.
Pogo Stick
Episode 0216
The professor uses a pogo stick to demonstrate "up" and "down", and ends up jumping into a pond.

Album appearances

Professor Hastings attempted to conduct a lecture about the letter U, with help from Ernie, in the 1971 LP The Muppet Alphabet Album.

Book appearances

Character Merchandise