A series of Sesame Street cartoons feature a man sounding out words written on a sign. Their first appearances are listed in scripts simply by their topic, but later reruns refer to them by the topic followed by "Sounds" (a practice held over in the menus on the Old School: Volume 2 DVD and the Sesame Street Video Player).
The cartoons premiered in Season 9 and continued to appear through season 31. The man was voiced by animator Don Arioli, who worked at the studio that produced the segments. He wore a green shirt, a bow tie, and pink trousers, while his head and arms appeared to be smaller than the rest of his body.
The sketches consist of the man running across a sign by chance. In some of them, the letters in the signs were mixed up, necessitating re-arrangement into their proper order (he would often mutter about the perpetrator behind these scramblings). In addition to mixed-up words, some signs would display two separate syllables needing to be blended together, and others would be a pair of fully assembled one-syllable words. He would then slowly pronounce the completed sign text several times. After triumphantly calling out the word(s), the man would find himself in a number of humorous situations.
|Episode 1116||Milk |
The man has a run-in with a cow pushing a baby carriage, and she picks him up and holds him as she takes the bottle of milk out of the carriage and he drinks it while she is holding him.
|Episode 1118||Help |
After shouting the word, a dog nurse arrives (thinking the man hurt himself), wraps the man in bandages, and rocks him in her arms.
|Episode 1119||Burp |
After saying this word, the man is taught good manners. This is another clip where the man didn't walk up to the sign; instead, the sign floated over to him while he was juggling.
|Episode 1120||Grow |
The man shows off his gardening prowess with a wildly-growing flower.
|Episode 1121||Dirty |
The man combines the word and then a glove grabbed him for a while to wash him clean.
|Episode 1125||One Way |
Traffic passes by the man in reverse.
|Episode 1136||Taxi |
The man inadvertently hails a cab. Not only does he walk up to the sign, which is far across from him, the sign floats right toward him when he has stopped.
|Episode 1136||Kiss Me |
A big barking dog comes up and kisses the man.
|Episode 1136||Wet Paint |
A man and a woman pass by and smear wet green paint on the man's shirt.
|Episode 1142||Hot Dog |
The man has a run-in with a dog riding a bicycle. This was one clip where the man didn't walk up to the sign; the sign floated over to him while he was doing push-ups.
|Episode 1155||School |
After a bunch of kids come running by, a girl goes before the man and says it's Saturday. That leaves him to say: "No school."
|Episode 1161||Walk Tall |
A snake tells the man that all he (the snake) can do is "crawl tall."
|Episode 1162||Don't Walk |
After reading this sign, the man has to crawl away.
|Episode 1163||Stop |
After reading the sign, two cars screech to a stop, one on each side of him.
|Episode 1163||Oink |
A pig comes up, wanting to share in a good laugh with the man.
|Episode 1164||Bad Dog |
After the man reads the sign, a dog comes in and protests, "I'm not a bad dog! What did I do? What did I do?"
|Episode 1169||Coffee |
A construction worker descends from off-screen sitting on an I-beam, requesting two regular coffees, and 20 more with sugar. He also asks for tea.
|Episode 1171||Bingo |
After saying "BINGO," a robot-like cleaning contraption comes on-screen and scrubs the man's foot.
|Episode 1179||Hand |
Another man comes in and gives the first guy a hand by clapping.
After forming the word, a little girl rushes in eager to receive some money.
- Iftah Ya Simsim created a number of animated segments designed similarly to this series, where a little boy reads Arabic words, with a gag following each reading.
- Fresh Air interview with Susie Arioli. August 8, 2012