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Sesame Street
Premiere November 24, 1980 (1446)
Finale May 22, 1981 (1575)
Episodes 130

The Season 12 cast.


Many new Muppets joined the cast of characters this season, including a little red monster named Elmo (previously established in Season 11's Episode 1439).

Hot dog and fruit carts

Mr. Macintosh's fruit stand and Willy's hot dog cart in Episode 1447.


Itzhak Perlman and Telly Monster play together.


Clementine and Buster the Horse help Forgetful Jones remember what he was about to do.

Fred Rogers and Sesame cast

Fred Rogers on Sesame Street


A boy thinks his dog's shadow is an alligator's shadow.


Ask Oscar, the show where Oscar tries to answer questions posed by other Grouches.


One of the many number animations by Owe Gustafson.

Hello Hello Hello Song

"Hello Hello Hello Song"


The Bridgekeeper challenges those who wish to cross his bridge.


Countess Dahling von Dahling brings the weather inside during one of her dramatic counting sprees.


Honkers give a unique counting lesson.


"Camp Wannagohoma, we love you!"


Reporter Warren Wolf breaks the news to Dr. Nobel Price that the "talky stick" he invented is identical to his microphone.


"Brothers Song"


Oscar the Grouch rallies supporters during his mayoral campaign.


Deena and Pearl at home in their cave.


Buffy stays inside Oscar's trash can as she visits, which is enough to turn anybody into a Grouch.


Polly Darton sings "Wavin' Goodbye to You with My Heart."


Big Bird spends the night with Mr. Snuffleupagus at his cave.


Muppet characters old and new intermingle for a group shot.

Sesame Street Season 12 aired from November 24, 1980, to May 22, 1981.


In addition to continuing to educate children in pre-reading, counting, and pre-science, this season adds traffic and general safety messages to the curriculum. Lessons are included about seat belt safety and the importance of holding a grown-up friend's hand to cross the street; one episode in particular focuses on what happens when Oscar's pet worm Slimey goes missing, and how he is able to contact a police officer to help him get back home. Print symbols that children would encounter in the classroom such as underlining, circling, folding, and crossing out are taught in a variety of ways. Examples include "The Calypso Symbol Song" and a drawing exercise Mr. Snuffleupagus shows Big Bird that he learned from his first day at Snufflegarden in Episode 1556.[1]

Buffy Sainte-Marie makes her final appearances as a recurring cast member, along with her son Cody. Across several week's worth of shows they spend their time on Sesame Street while staying inside Oscar's trash can, as their usual guest room with Maria is being occupied by her cousin Mercedes. Mr. Snuffleupagus' cave is also seen for the first time in Episode 1494 when Big Bird has a sleepover with his best friend.

Characters and segments[]

With most of the Muppet performers preoccupied with taping the final season of The Muppet Show, as well as production on The Dark Crystal and The Great Muppet Caper, a new set of characters performed by Brian Muehl, Michael Earl, Karen Prell, and Kevin Clash are introduced. About a year before the season began taping, three short test shows were prepared as a way to measure these characters' appeal with the preschool audience. Familiar scenes with the classic characters were interspersed with segments featuring the new Muppets, and feedback from the test audience helped researchers figure out which characters both held their attention and were effective at educating.[2]

Among the new characters introduced this season are Forgetful Jones, an absent-minded cowpoke who gets help with his faulty memory from his girlfriend Clementine and his trusty horse Buster. Dr. Nobel Price is a slightly-bumbling inventor who ends up creating things that already exist, much to his exasperation. Countess Dahling von Dahling is a glamorous relative of the Count whose enumeration brings forth rain wherever she is counting (counting backwards gets rid of it). She is always seen with her dachshund Masha, who frequently helps the Countess when she forgets a number. News reporter Warren Wolf makes only one appearance in a News Flash segment, though he appears more in merchandise produced around the time. Ferlinghetti Donizetti is a rhyming beatnik, often seen tapping his drumsticks to punctuate his constant rhyming. Singing duo Gilbert and Sullivan make the first of their musical appearances, often joined by many of the cast members. Also making her musical debut is country singer Polly Darton, a parody of Dolly Parton. Finally there are the Honkers, a colorful yet zany group of silent pantomime characters who honk their bulbous noses to communicate.

Several characters that were relatively new prior to season 12 were also re-tested such as Barkley, whose role on the street was expanded this year.[2] Other returning characters include Telly Monster, who is given the character trait of someone who is in constant worry and always needs reassurance from the others. The very playful Deena is not only redesigned but paired with new roommate Pearl, who is a bit more responsible and level-headed. The briefly-seen Elmo also makes a return appearance for one episode getting a vocabulary lesson from Luis.

Recurring segments and elements introduced this season include the Number of the Day Machine, a device used by Big Bird to add some party elements in finding out the day's number. Counselor Grover leads a group of Muppet kids while they're away at Camp Wannagohoma, though Grover is always the one who learns something new from the experience. Telly Monster and Oscar are paired up for Ask Oscar, where Oscar attempts to answer questions sent in by Grouch viewers. A series of counting animations by Owe Gustafson also mark their debut for season 12, as well as a slightly stern character known as the Bridgekeeper who quizzes people on geometric shapes before they can cross his bridge.


Episodes 1446 - 1575 (130 episodes)


Linda Bove, Northern Calloway, Emilio Delgado, Will Lee, Loretta Long, Sonia Manzano, Bob McGrath, Roscoe Orman, Alaina Reed, Buffy Sainte-Marie
Jim Henson's Muppets
Caroll Spinney, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Brian Muehl, Michael Earl, Karen Prell (Uncredited: Ed Christie, Kevin Clash, Kathryn Mullen, Bryant Young)
Guest Stars
Victor Brady, Cab Calloway, Suzanne Farrell, Holly Near, Itzhak Perlman, Fred Rogers, Dale Soules


Gordon, Susan, Maria, Luis, Linda, Bob, David, Mr. Hooper, Olivia, Buffy, Mr. Macintosh, Willy
The Amazing Mumford, AM Monsters, Anything Muppets, Barkley, The Beetles, Bert, Big Bird, Bruno the Trashman, Buster the Horse, Clementine, Cookie Monster, Count von Count, The Countess, Countess Dahling von Dahling, Deena, Dominique, Don Music, Dr. Nobel Price, Elmo, Ernie, Ferlinghetti Donizetti, Fluffy, Forgetful Jones, Fred the Wonder Horse, Gilbert and Sullivan, Gladys the Cow, Grover, Grundgetta, Guy Smiley, The Happy Squares, Herry Monster, Honkers, Kermit the Frog, Irvine, Leslie Mostly, Little Chrissy and the Alphabeats, The Martians, Masha, Mommy Snuffleupagus, Oscar the Grouch, Osvaldo, el Gruñón, Pearl, Poco Loco, Polly Darton, Sherlock Hemlock, Slimey, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Telly Monster, Twiddlebugs, Two-Headed Monster, Warren Wolf



Season 12 credit crawl

credit crawl


  1. CTW Newsletter: November 1980, Issue #48
  2. 2.0 2.1 Season 12 newsletter: "Preschoolers Auditioned New Muppets for Sesame Street's 12th TV Season"

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Season 11 (1979-1980) Season 13 (1981-1982)