Don't Eat the Pictures
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Don't Eat the Pictures: Sesame Street at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a one-hour Sesame Street special that aired on PBS on November 16, 1983. The title comes from a song in the special "Don't Eat the Pictures," sung by Cookie Monster. It was released on VHS in 1987. The special has the regular cast of Sesame Street getting locked in the Metropolitan Museum of Art overnight as they search for Big Bird, who has gotten lost looking for Snuffy. The cast must stay in the museum until the morning while avoiding a security guard. The special features the regular human cast of Sesame Street along with several of the Muppet characters, including Cookie Monster, Telly, Ernie and Bert, The Count, Grover, and Oscar the Grouch. Snuffy also appears, however at this point in the show's history he is still the 'imaginary' friend of Big Bird, never seen by the other characters.
The cast of Sesame Street has gone on a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Big Bird has arranged to meet with Snuffy at the museum but before he can, it is time for the group to leave for the night. Big Bird decides to go off and look for Snuffy. Before the group can leave, they realize Big Bird is missing and run all through the museum looking for him. The chase has them going through different exhibits at high speed and missing, spotting, and chasing Big Bird. After a bit, the group gives up to find they are locked in the museum for the night. They decide to go back out and look for Big Bird and look at all the exhibits while they are at it.
Big Bird eventually finds Snuffy and they wander the Egyptian exhibit and encounter an Egyptian prince named Sahu and his cat who have been cursed to remain on Earth and not be able to become a star like his parents until he answers the question "Where does today meet yesterday?" Every night at midnight for thousands of years, a demon (James Mason) appears to ask Sahu that and he has answered wrong every night. Big Bird suggests how about remaining on Earth and become "the only 4,000 year old kid on Sesame Street", but later agrees with Snuffy that they should work together to solve the riddle.
Meanwhile, the other group has split up and are all in different exhibits. Bob and Cookie Monster find themselves looking at pictures with food in them. While Cookie tries to eat the pictures, Bob points out to him a sign that says "Please don't eat the pictures." He replies with "Oh, this going to be a long night." He later sings the song "Don't Eat the Pictures" about this. Oscar finds an exhibit of Greek and Roman statues that have been broken by natural disasters. He looks in and breaks into song on how beautiful they are to him. Grover finds an exhibit filled with armor from medieval times and thinks a suit of Maximilian armour is a guy named "Max" and tries to befriend him by changing into his Super Grover costume and singing a song. Bert and Ernie view the painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware, to which Bert comments on the dedication of Washington and his men, but Ernie comments how Washington was silly to cross in the winter and should have waited until Easter or taken the George Washington Bridge.
As the night passes, Big Bird and Snuffy continue to try to figure out the answer to the question. Soon before midnight Big Bird unknowingly figures out the answer is "a museum." When the demon appears that night, the question is answered correctly and Sahu is sent to Osiris (Fritz Weaver) to have his heart weighed. When the feather to weigh his heart doesn't appear, Big Bird offers one of his to help. But when Sahu's heart is too heavy, Big Bird claims that it wasn't fair since Sahu was on Earth for 40 centuries and he was so alone his heart would be heavy, so he cannot become a star.
After this, Sahu's heart becomes lighter and he is now ready to join his parents and take his cat. Big Bird and Snuffy then exit the museum, look up into the night sky and see four stars in a straight line (representing Sahu, his parents, and his cat), and are glad that they reunited Sahu with his parents. When morning comes, Big Bird finds the other group and Snuffy is not there. He left early to get to "Snufflegarden." Cookie Monster is promised anything on a hot dog stand as a reward for not eating anything in the museum, and decides to eat the entire stand.
After the credits, Big Bird is pretending to be a statue. He encourages the audience to visit their local museum, and comments on how staying perfectly still is tiring and wonders how statues do it.
- "Broken and Beautiful" — Oscar (Caroll Spinney)
- "I Want To Be Your Friend" — Grover (Frank Oz)
- "Don't Eat the Pictures" — Cookie Monster (Frank Oz)
- "You're Gonna Be A Star" — Big Bird and Prince Sahu (Caroll Spinney) and (Aram Chowdhury)
- "Mothers and Children" — Olivia (Alaina Reed)
The title song from Don't Eat the Pictures begins with Cookie Monster and Bob McGrath in front of Still Life with Ham, a painting by Philippe Rousseau which Cookie Monster tries to eat. Bob holds him back and reminds him that he had promised not to eat anything in the museum, and Cookie Monster breaks into a song, with angelic choral accompaniment, about paintings, statues, and mummies, and how he understands how important it is to not eat them.
- Caroll Spinney as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch
- Martin P. Robinson as Snuffy
- Bryant Young as Snuffy (Assistant)
- Jim Henson as Ernie
- Frank Oz as Cookie Monster, Bert and Grover
- Jerry Nelson as Count von Count
- Richard Hunt
- Brian Muehl as Telly
- Linda Bove as Linda
- Northern Calloway as David
- Loretta Long as Susan
- Sonia Manzano as Maria
- Bob McGrath as Bob
- Roscoe Orman as Gordon
- Alaina Reed Hall as Olivia
- Aram Chowdhury as Egyptian Prince Sahu
- Li Alexander as Li
- Jason Paul Janzer as Jason
- Nadia Jones as Nadia
- Mike Kakizaki as Mike
- Andrew Cassese as Andrew
- David Zetlin-Jones as David
- James Mason as Demon
- Fritz Weaver as Osiris
- Paul Dooley as Museum Security Guard
- Director: Jon Stone
- Producers: Arlene Sherman, Tony Geiss, Lisa Simon
- Written by: Tony Geiss
- Music by: Dick Lieb, Stephen Lawrence, Tony Geiss, Chris Cerf
- Music Coordinator: Danny Epstein
- Music Assistant: Dave Conner
- 2nd Unit Director: Emily Squires
- Art Director: Victor DiNapoli
- Muppets by Kermit Love, Caroly Wilcox, Ed Christie, Don Sahlin, Noel MacNeal, Cheryl Blaylock
- Production Stage Manager: Chet O'Brien
- Costume Designer: Bill Kellard
- Set Decorator: Nat Mongioi
- Audio: Blake Norton
- Sound Effects: Dick Maitland
- Executive Producer: Dulcy Singer
- Don't Eat the Pictures at the Internet Movie Database
- MuppetWiki: Don't Eat the Pictures
- Don't Eat the Pictures on YouTube