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Written by David Borgenicht
Published 1998
Publisher Hyperion Books
ISBN 0786864605
Ssunpaved ukcover

UK Cover art

Sesame Street Unpaved is a 194-page behind the scenes look at the making of Sesame Street.


Can You Tell Me How We Got To Sesame Street?: The Sesame Street Story[]

This chapter talks about the early years of the show, with info on the casting process; the original Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, and Grover puppets; a list of other shows to be on the air for 30 or more years; and more.

I Can't Hear You-- I've Got a Banana In My Ear: The Classic Moments[]

Info on the many classic moments from the show, many of which are in script form and accompanied by stills from the sketches. Most moments are included in special sections devoted to the main Muppets from the show (with sections on Ernie and Bert, Big Bird, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Grover, Count von Count, Cookie Monster, Prairie Dawn, Telly Monster, Elmo, Zoe, Kermit the Frog, Guy Smiley, Herry Monster, and Oscar the Grouch (which includes the lyrics to "I Love Trash")). Some moments represented include Big Bird learning about Mr. Hooper's death, Grover's "Near and Far" sketch, Sesame Street News Flash sketches, many Sesame Street Game Shows, many Sesame Street Muppet & Kid Moments, animated inserts such as "The Alligator King" and "The King of Eight," and Harvey Kneeslapper's practical joke for the letter B.

Who are the People In Your Neighborhood?: The Cast[]

Includes info on most of the human cast, Anything Muppets, many supporting Muppets who didn't get their own sections in the previous chapter, characters who are no longer on the show at the time (with explanations of what happened to them), and celebrities who have been on the show.

Sing--Sing a Song: The Music and Poems of Sesame Street[]

Includes lyrics, pictures, and secret facts on some of the best-known Sesame Street songs, such as "Sing," "Rubber Duckie," "C is For Cookie," "Bein' Green," "The People in Your Neighborhood," and others. Also includes a few poems, such as some of Roosevelt Franklin's.

"Psst! Hey, Buddy!": Behind the Scenes on Sesame Street[]

Includes behind-the-scenes info, such as info on the various types of Muppets, how the Big Bird suit is built, info on the various international versions of the show, a two-page spread listing who performed which characters (mostly just applying to the then-current main performers, plus Jim Henson and Richard Hunt) and biographies on Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Caroll Spinney, Fran Brill, Jerry Nelson, Kevin Clash, and Martin Robinson.


  • Page 16 states that Big Bird and Oscar were the first two Muppets seen in the first episode, but Ernie and Bert actually appeared after Big Bird and before Oscar.
  • Page 41 lists Luis as one of the grownups who had already been convinced that Snuffy is real prior to the revelation scene, when he wasn't.
  • Page 70 provides info on Cookie Monster's origins, but the information is mixed up. It says that the puppet was originally called Arnold and appeared in a series of potato chip commercials that didn't air. However, the unaired potato chip commercials were for Wheels, Crowns and Flutes and featured the Wheel-Stealer, while Arnold appeared in commercials for Munchos, which did air.
  • Throughout the book, Alistair Cookie's name is misspelled as "Alastair Cookie."
  • On page 81, the transcript of Gabi's birth incorrectly calls Maria "Marie," despite her name being spelled correctly in the transcript of the preceding scene.
  • The section on Maria incorrectly states that she moved to the street in 1974. She actually made her debut in 1971.
  • The section on Gordon incorrectly states that he was played by Matt Robinson from 1969-1971, Hal Miller from 1971-1973, and Roscoe Orman since 1973. The information is off by one year. Robinson was Gordon until 1972, Miller was Gordon from 1972-1974, and Orman has played Gordon since 1974.
  • On page 121, the year of Northern Calloway's death is erroneously given as 1989 (Calloway died in 1990). In addition, the book said that Calloway had died of stomach cancer, when in reality it was cardiac arrest, brought on by exhaustive psychosis.[1]
  • The section on Harvey Kneeslapper on page 134 features a transcript of his prank involving the number 1, which incorrectly states that Ernie was his victim; his victim in that sketch was actually a Lavender Anything Muppet.
  • The section on Roosevelt Franklin on page 135 says that Roosevelt Franklin was "so popular that he got his own album - Roosevelt Franklin Sings." However, the only Roosevelt Franklin album was originally titled The Year of Roosevelt Franklin and later retitled My Name is Roosevelt Franklin. It was never titled "Roosevelt Franklin Sings."
  • Page 178 states that Oscar the Grouch is Moishe Oofnik's uncle; they are actually cousins. It also misspells Kareem's name as "Karim."
  • Page 179 states that Sesamstrasse from Germany was the first international co-production of the show. It was actually Vila Sésamo from Brazil, which is not listed. It also states that the French co-production is called "Les Amis de Sesame." At the time the book was published, 1, Rue Sésame had already ended its run and 5, Rue Sésame had not yet premiered.
  • Page 179 incorrectly lists Shara'a Simsim as "Shara'a Sumsum"; however, the correct title is given on page 178.
  • On the same spread, Richard Hunt is listed as having performed Snuffy from 1977 to 1980. This is only partly true. Hunt had performed the back-half of the character and assumed the front half in 1977, with Nelson providing the voice.[3] After Nelson bowed out the following year, Michael Earl took over the role until 1981 (see Talk:Michael Earl). Similarly, page 41 says that Jerry Nelson "had to give up the part to Martin Robinson," with no mention of an in-between performer.
  • On page 183, Jerry Juhl's last name is misspelled as "Juel."
  • Kermit's bio on page 88 states that he is a Pisces, born on Leap Year Day. This is the only reference to that date, as Kermit's Birthday has had a more complicated history.

See also[]


External Links[]