Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
|Christmas Eve on Sesame Street|
|Directed by||Jon Stone|
|Produced by||Dulcy Singer|
Jon Stone (executive producer)
|Written by||Jon Stone and Joseph A. Bailey|
|Music by||David Axlerod (songs "Keep Christmas with You" and "I Hate Christmas")|
Sam Pottle (songs "Keep Christmas with You" and "I Hate Christmas")
Carol Hall (song "True Blue Miracle")
Dick Lieb (music composed, arranged and conducted by)
|December 3, 1978|
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The story starts with live-action versions of the Muppets enjoying an ice skating party. After the skating party, the characters head home to Sesame Street performing the song "True Blue Miracle."
In the main story, Oscar plants the seeds of doubt in Big Bird's mind whether Santa Claus can actually fit down chimneys to deliver Christmas presents. Big Bird enlists the help of Kermit and Grover to interview children about how he manages it; their responses vary. Big Bird even attempts a reenactment with Snuffleupagus but it is unsuccessful. Big Bird spends the night out in the cold on the roof, waiting for Santa to appear in person. After the residents of Sesame Street realize he's gone missing, Maria confronts Oscar for upsetting Big Bird, who agrees to help search for him.
Meanwhile, in a variation on the O. Henry story "The Gift of the Magi," Bert and Ernie want to give each other Christmas presents, but they have no money. Bert trades away his prized paper clip collection to buy a pink soap dish for Ernie's Rubber Duckie, but Ernie has bartered Rubber Duckie to get Bert an empty cigar box for the paper clips. Mr. Hooper, the store owner, realizes what is happening and gives them their treasured possessions back as Christmas presents.
Also, Cookie Monster attempts to get in touch with Santa Claus. He ends up consuming his pencil to write a letter, his typewriter, and a telephone used to call the North Pole. At Gordon and Susan Robinson's apartment, he laments to Gordon that he was unable to contact Santa. Gordon suggests leaving cookies for Santa.
In the end, Big Bird walks down from the roof to warm up, much to the relief of his friends. He regrets not learning the true answer to the riddle of Santa Claus, but he comes to recognize that being together with family and friends is more important. Oscar, true to form, starts needling Big Bird about the Easter bunny, and he begins to fret about the holidays all over again.
The special concludes with Susan and Gordon returning to their apartment to find that Cookie has eaten the needles off their Christmas tree.
A variety of Christmas songs help interweave these three plot lines and make the production much more touching, including:
- "Feliz Navidad", by José Feliciano while Big Bird skates with one of the children (preceded and followed by a slow orchestral version of the song).
- "True Blue Miracle", sung during the gang's trip from the skating party back to Sesame Street.
- "Keep Christmas with You", sung in Bob's apartment with Linda leading a group of children in signing the chorus.
- "I Hate Christmas", sung by Oscar the Grouch outside on Sesame Street.
- "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", sung by Bert and Ernie after opening their Christmas gifts to each other.
- "Keep Christmas with You (Reprise)", sung by everyone at the end.
- 1979: Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program - Jon Stone (executive producer), Dulcy Singer (producer)
When the special aired on Muppet Matinee's Christmas Special Marathon on Nickelodeon in December 1994, "I Hate Christmas" was cut.
In various re-airings on PBS in the late 1980s, the closing scene with Susan and Gordon finding that Cookie Monster ate most of their Christmas tree was cut.
On video releases since the mid-1990s, the 1978 Children's Television Workshop logo with Christmas music was cut. The 1996 VHS replaces it with the 1983 logo, and DVD releases of the special start without any logos.
When Big Bird and Patty check on Oscar following his ice skating accident, Oscar's original line was "Sure. I've been thrown out of better places than that." It was later re-dubbed in post-production (to "Let's go back and do it, again!"), because Jon Stone considered the original joke too adult-focused.
Home Video releases
Jim Henson's Muppets
- Carroll Spinney - Big Bird and Oscar
- Jim Henson - Kermit and Ernie
- Frank Oz - Grover, Bert, and Cookie Monster
- Jerry Nelson - The Count and Snuffy
- Richard Hunt - Oscar the Grouch (assistant) and Snuffy (assistant)
The cast of Sesame Street
- Linda Bove - Linda
- Northern Calloway - David
- Debbie Chen - Patty
- Will Lee - Mr. Hooper
- Loretta Long - Susan Robinson
- Sonia Manzano - Maria
- Bob McGrath - Bob Johnson
- Roscoe Orman - Gordon Robinson
- Alaina Reed - Olivia Robinson
- Christopher Wein - Chris
- Billy Mack - Billy
- Danny Epstein - Street Musician
- Chet O'Brien - Mr. MacIntosh
- Jon Stone - Santa Claus over Cookie Monster's telephone
The Christmas Eve on Sesame Street album features several of the songs from the television special, along with narration. It was nominated for a Grammy Award, but lost to In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record.
- List of American films of 1978
- List of Christmas television specials
- A Special Sesame Street Christmas
- Dosier, Ryan (20 December 2011). "Interview with Muppet Writer Joseph Bailey". The Muppet Mindset. Retrieved 18 July 2016.