Guy Smiley

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Guy Smiley
Sesame Street character
First appearance 1969 (as Sonny Friendly)
Created by Jim Henson
Portrayed by Jim Henson (1969–1990)
Steve Whitmire (1998)
Eric Jacobson (2005–present)
Information
Gender Male

Guy Smiley is a character on Sesame Street who was dubbed "America's favorite game show host." His skits are among those on the show that parody commercial media.[1] Smiley has also hosted parodies of This Is Your Life called "Here Is Your Life." Guests who were profiled included a loaf of bread, a tooth and a tree (all aimed at teaching children how things are made). He has also hosted pageants for numbers and letters.

Performed by Jim Henson, the character was mostly discontinued upon Henson's death in 1990. He appeared as a background character in a street scene in 1998, and was performed by Steve Whitmire. He also appeared in the CD-ROMs, "Let's Make a Word" (a spoof of Let's Make a Deal) and "Get Set to Learn", where his voice was credited to Don Reardon. More recently the character has been performed by Eric Jacobson, starting with video inserts in the touring exhibit "Sesame Street Presents: The Body". As seen in the preview for the 39th season, Smiley will officially return to the show.

The character is said to be modeled after game show host Jim Perry.[citation needed]

Game shows[edit]

Smiley has hosted many game show skits, such as:

  • The Remembering Game — A spoof of Concentration, two contestants try to match prizes on a four-space board. In its one appearance, Cookie Monster and an Anything Muppet named Bill Smith didn't like the prizes they had "won," so they traded prizes. Cookie had won an airplane and Bill had won a cookie.
  • What's My Part? — A spoof of What's My Line? — Three blindfolded celebrities had to identify a body part before all three of them were disqualified (by asking a question that had a "no" answer). The first segment, featuring a nose, starred panelists Cookie Monster, Bennett Snerf and Arlene Frantic (the latter two Muppet parodies of longtime What's My Line? panelists Bennett Cerf and Arlene Francis). It ran for four segments.
  • Get Wordy - A spoof of Jeopardy!, Smiley reads a meaning of a phrase and contestants have to guess what the phrase is.
  • Mystery Guest — A spoof of a term used on What's My Line? — The contestants, (Cookie Monster, Don Music and Sherlock Hemlock), must guess who the Mystery Guest is. In this clip, it was the letter X, but nobody guessed correctly, and it turned out that the letter X belonged in the exit sign. It ran once.
  • Beat the Time — A spoof of Beat the Clock — The contestant must bring in a number of things that rhyme with the key word or contain something. In the most famous segment, Cookie Monster must find three things that rhyme with "rain", and will win a cookie if successful before the arrow on the clock reaches zero. Cookie manages to find a cane he stole from an old man, a chain holding a monster (Frazzle) and, at the last second, arrives onto the stage by smashing through the wall with a train (the same train he rode in "The Ballad of Casey McPhee"). It ran for five segments. Another "Beat the Time" involved the Count, where the Count has to bring in two things that come from the sky (his thunder and lightning when he counts). This is the one where Smiley reveals his real name to be Bernie Liederkranz.
  • To Tell a Face — A spoof of To Tell the Truth — A Baby must figure out who is real person out of three panelists. It ran for seven segments.
  • The Triangle Is Right — A spoof on the title The Price Is Right — Every question is answered with the response, "A triangle" (a possible indirect reference to the real-life quiz show scandals of the '50s). It was short-lived.
  • What's My Job? Another spoof of What's My Line? - The three contestant monsters have to figure out what the person's job is. Round 1 was a firefighter, Round 2 was a dentist, and Round 3 was another game show host named Sonny Friendly (who thinks Guy Smiley is a guest). They argued at the end leaving with Guy Smiley remarking "This whole thing was a rotten idea! Who put this man on the show?"
  • Say the Word A spoof of The $25,000 Pyramid - The contestants Chet O'Leary and Maurice Monster. Guy gives Chet the word "STOP" but Chet cannot say that word but give out clues to Maurice Monster on the word. He tickles Maurice Monster until Maurice yells "STOP!" and Guy Smiley blurted "That's right. You said the word STOP! Congratulation!"
  • Name that Sound! A spoof of Name That Tune There were two skits.
    • Grover: Grover has to guess the three sounds (Such as a train whistle, a dog barking, and faucet dripping). He got them all right, But after he guessed the faucet dripping, It got flooded.
    • Honker: A Honker has to figure out the sounds but since Guy Smiley couldn't understand them, The Honker brings in things that have been mentioned by the sounds (Such as a cow, a horse, and a fire engine).
  • Dialing for Prizes Movie A spoof of Dialing for Dollars The lucky contestant is Mr. Lucky. And the lucky word is "Fur". And the prizes are furry monsters.
  • Here is Your Life A spoof of This is Your Life - Guy Smiley honors the contestant (usually a certain object) They include:
    • The Oak Tree
    • A Loaf of Bread
    • A Tooth
    • Right Foot Sneaker
    • Painting of a Bowl of Fruit
    • A House (2102 Shady Lane)
    • Carton of Eggs
  • The Letter of the Day Pageant A spoof of Miss America Pageant All letters competes. The letter S can swim, The letter C addresses herself as hthe letter C, And the letter T can tap dance. Up came the vowels A, E, I, O, and U. The letter E wins the pageant and Guy Smiley sings him him a song about the letter E to honer the letter E.

Other appearances[edit]

Smiley did make some appearances that didn't have anything notable to do with his hosting career. When Cookie Monster was in a bakery chewing up items that rhymed with the word "pie", Smiley came in announcing he was "Guy Smiley, star of daytime TV." At this point, Cookie couldn't remember that it was a pie he was after, and the repeated use of words that did rhyme with "pie" did nothing to jog his memory. The scene ended with him chasing Smiley around the bakery, trying to eat him.

He also appeared in a sketch featuring Grover as an Elevator Operator. It was to teach kids to face the front of an elevator. In this sketch, "Mr Smiley" (as Grover calls him) is also voiced by Jim Henson, but with a different voice to his game show personality.

In one movie theatre skit with Bert and Ernie, using Smiley as a one-line extra, the character is puppeted by Richard Hunt.

He also appeared in On Vacation With Guy Smiley, in which he tried to photograph various animals in the jungle.

Smiley shows up as a non-speaking background extra (wearing an odd, unusually stern expression) along with many other muppets in the musical skit "Some/None".

The Colbert Report has also parodied Mitt Romney by comparing him to Smiley.

Casting history[edit]

  • Main performers:
    • Jim Henson: Sesame Street Season 1 (1969) – Season 21 (1990)
    • Eric Jacobson: Sesame Street Presents: The Body (2005) – present
  • Alternate performers:
    • Steve Whitmire: Sesame Street Season 32 (2001)
    • Don Reardon: Let's Make a Word CD-ROM game (voice only)

International[edit]

Sesame Street is localized for international markets, where Smiley is often renamed. In Portugal, for example, he's "Carlos Luz", a play on words with the name of television presenter Carlos Cruz. In the Netherlands, he is called "Henk Glimlach", "glimlach" meaning "smile". In Germany, he appears simply as "Robert", possibly after Robert Lembke, a well-known game show host.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Poniewozik, James (2007-09-17). "17 Shows That Changed TV". Photographs by Greg Miller. Time 170 (12): 80. ISSN 0040-781X. 

External links[edit]