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"Rubber Duckie, you're the one..."

A white variation as seen on the cover of the "Ernie Sings" record single.

A print ad from 1954 for the toy duck that would become Ernie's Rubber Duckie.

Rubber Duckie as a "celebrity veejay" on Shalom Sesame.

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Rubber Duckie is Ernie's toy duck and most treasured possession. Ernie has expressed his fondness for his duckie in several songs, most famously "Rubber Duckie", but the duck has also figured in "Put Down the Duckie," "D-U-C-K-I-E," "Do De Rubber Duck", and "The Honker-Duckie-Dinger Jamboree". In Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, Ernie trades Rubber Duckie to Mr. Hooper in order to get a present for Bert for Christmas.

On the show, Rubber Duckie is "played" by a toy duck originally manufactured by the now-defunct company Alan-Jay Plastics, Inc. Sold under the name "Waddles", the duckies were initially painted white, with orange highlights on the wings, feet, neck, and top feathers; its bill was dark orange. This version was used by Ernie in several early segments, as well as on the cover of the Ernie's Hits album. Eventually it was replaced by a more vibrant, solid yellow duckie, which retained the orange beak.

In storybooks, Rubber Duckie is sometimes pictured as being more of a pet than a toy; he often has eyes that seem to focus, as if he were more-or-less alive. For example, in the 2002 book Look and Find Elmo, Rubber Duckie is visited by dozens of his "duckie friends", who play with him in Ernie's bathtub. His friends include Grubby Duckie, Lucky Duckie and Duckleberry Swim. Rubber Duckie's anthropomorphization goes as far back as 1977, when Joe Mathieu drew him in a state of fear in The Sesame Street Mix or Match Storybook.

History

A Rubber Duck is, as you might have guessed, a toy made out of rubber in the shape of a duck. It would bob happily atop the water in which you bathed, staring at you with happy eyes.

Though known to many as Ernie's toy on Sesame Street, the rubber duckie existed as early as the 1920s. These days, rubber ducks are actually made out of a thick vinyl, as it is cheaper and more durable than rubber. Most come with a nozzle (usually at the bottom) so that if you squeeze the duck, it will squeak a happy noise at you.

Other Rubber Duckies

Ernie is not the only Muppet to have a Rubber Duckie. In Sesame Street, Special, it's revealed that Hoots the Owl has a Rubber Duckie of his own. However, as Bert said in Episode 0406, he doesn't have a rubber duckie, and doesn't want one. However, in the song "I Gotta Be Clean", Bert actually has a Rubber Pigeon.

Dr. Bunsen Honeydew finds his lost Rubber Duck in the It's Story Time short story, "Where's Beaker?"

A special Rubber Duckie with invisibility spray was used by Fozzie Bear in Muppets from Space.

The Pajanimals have at least three of them. Two of them can be seen sitting in the windowsill above their bathtub in the song "Stick to the Plan" and in the "Bathtime Boogie" song in the full series. A third sits inside a toy boat on the edge of the bathtub.

Notes

Book appearances

Merchandise

See also

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