We’re back with another deep dive into the amazingly classic Sesame Street calendars!  Back in 1982, we spent the year with some famous storybooks and the Sesame gang who parodied them.  This one was illustrated by the great Michael J. Smollin, who brilliantly mixes the Sesame Street gang with some stories we’re all super familiar with.


In our previous (and now classic) C is for Calendar entries, as well as most of our future ones, the artwork for the calendar part changes up each month, giving us more little gags and visual entertainment to help make the grueling months go by a little less painfully.  Unfortunately, the 1982 calendar uses the same format for the bottom half of the calendar on every page, and I’m very tired and lazy and didn’t feel like scanning the same image 12 times.  So use your imagination and pretend there’s like 11 more of these accompanying the images below.

1-janStray Observations about January:

  • Okay, what do we think Ernie would wish for?  More Rubber Duckies?  A giant ice cream cone?  Something that would ultimately ruin Bert’s life?
  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen Big Bird wear a ring before.  Since he only has three fingers, which one do you think he’d wear a ring on if he got married?
  • It’s always weird seeing characters who don’t normally have legs with legs, and vice versa.

2-febStray Observations about February:

  • Nice use of a Twiddlebug here.  Makes you wonder if Twiddlebugs are just another type of faerie.
  • It’s not often you get to see a Sesame Street image that features both Prairie Dawn and Betty Lou and no other main characters!  Nice spotlight, now get back in your drawer.

3-marStray Observations about March: 

  • Weird choice to have Bert as Gulliver, especially since Ernie’s the one with the relationship to the Twiddlebugs.  And Big Bird’s the giant one.  And Grover would probably offer the punniest name.  (Grovviler?)
  • I dig Bert’s vest, which seems to have the same pattern as his signature sweater.
  • The Twiddlebugs have a monarchy.  This explains… well, nothing really.

4-aprStray Observations about April:

  • Ah yes, all four of the Three Musketeers.  (Which, I know, is accurate.  But try explaining it to a 4-year-old.)
  • This is a rare example of Sesame Street characters brandishing sharp objects.  Soak it in, as you’ll probably never see it again.
  • Poor Cookie Monster and his gangly feet that are too big to fit Musketeer shoes.

5-mayStray Observations about May:

  • Okay, so I’ve never read Heidi, and I have no idea how accurate this pictures is, or if Betty Lou is a good fit, or why she has that far-off look in her eyes as she caresses her goat.
  • Bert is totally rocking that beard though.
  • Meanwhile, Ernie caught a bad case of scoliosis.  Does that happen in the book too?

6-junStray Observations about June:

  • How interesting that the 1982 Sesame Street calendar spoofed Muppet Treasure Island, 14 years beforehand.
  • Despite being a castle-owning noble, The Count looks surprisingly natural as a pirate.  With a monocle.
  • Those other pirates are going to be mighty sorry when they find out the treasure chest is filled with numbers.

7-centerfoldStray Observations about the Insert:

  • All of these Sesame Street calendars have a poster in the middle, and this one is pretty great.  Though I have no idea when someone would put this up on their wall, unless there are extra days between June and July I didn’t know about.
  • Sesame Street tackled Alice in Wonderland a few years later in “Abby in Wonderland“, but with some drastic casting changes.  Abby Cadabby, and not Prairie Dawn, was Alice, Grover was the Mad Hatter rather than the White Rabbit, and so on.  Herry Monster as the Queen of Hearts is inspired though.
  • Bert once again has the coolest style of the calendar, sporting a jaunty (but crooked) mustache.

8-jul-2Stray Observations about July:

  • I don’t know why seeing Bert and Ernie’s bare feet is so disconcerting, but it is totally weirding me out.
  • Funny, I thought they had a different method for fishing.
  • One more time, Bert brings the fashion.  I swear, I saw someone in Brooklyn wearing that exact outfit last week.

9-augStray Observations about August:

  • Remember when there was a time when you could just throw a bunch of Anything Muppets in a picture with no actual visual jokes and that would be enough?  Me neither.
  • I guess the father could be Professor Hastings, but he was already mostly forgotten by 1982.
  • Just imagine, being stranded on a desert island with nothing from the world you left behind except your wicker basket and metal pulley.

10-septStray Observations about September:

  • Here’s another rare example of a Muppet brandishing a deadly weapon (okay, so the suction cups diffuse the arrows a bit, but take those suckers off and Grover could put someone’s eye out).
  • Herry Monster as Little John is inspired.  Too bad Cookie Monster didn’t win the role of Friar Tuck.
  • It’s nice to see that Prairie Dawn came prepared with her bunny rabbit costume, as Maid Marion did in the original legend.

11-octStray Observations about October:

  • Seriously, how weird is it that Sesame Street made an Ali Baba reference without using the words “Open Sesame”???  Missed opportunity x100.
  • So, Bert is the leader of a den of thieves?  That’s not exactly in his character, but I’ll allow it, if only because I’m picturing him ordering his thugs to make sure they only steal the very finest bottle caps.
  • And yet again, Bert is a fashion icon.  Those flowing robes, those fancy shoes, and a hat made for a movie star.

12-novStray Observations about November:

  • Yikes.  Just think about what Ernie’s neck must look like, connecting flesh (or, felt) to wood.  He’s a monster!  And not the cookie-loving kind!
  • Then again, the paint on the floor hints that the head is just painted wood.  So that’s a bit of a relief.  Still mad creepy tho.
  • Puppets playing puppets.  Weird weird weird.

13-decStray Observations about December:

  • What I love about this picture is that if you’re familiar with A Christmas Carol, you already see a complete story arc and transformation for Oscar/Scrooge.  It’s his only appearance in this calendar, so if you don’t already know that he’s a Grouch, he kinda looks like a nice guy bringing cured meats to his friends.  But a little context tells us that just a few minutes ago, he was probably throwing trash at the Cratchits’ house.
  • Scrooge is usually depicted as the richest man in town, so it’s interesting to see him as (quite possibly) the poorest man in town, wearing a broken top hat and wearing a trash can as pants.
  • Fashion forward-thinking Bert loses his crown here due to an unfortunate choice involving white tights.  Sorry buddy, better luck in 1983.

And that’s it for 1982!  Thanks for joining us this year, and let’s look forward to more Sesame-filled calendars of yesteryear here on ToughPigs!

Click here to dress like Bert on the ToughPigs forum!

by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com

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