Welcome back to My Favorite Muppet of the Day, a week-long peek into my ever-changing Muppet love. Yesterday I chose a major Muppet star as my Favorite Muppet of the Day, but today I find myself drawn to a far more obscure character. As soon as I woke up this morning, I knew that my favorite Muppet of the day had to be Beautiful Day Monster. You may not recognize his name, but if you’re a Muppet fan, you’ve seen him around. This is a guy whose career has spanned from The Ed Sullivan Show to Sesame Street to The Muppet Show and beyond, which means he’s a showbiz veteran with as much experience as Danny Kaye. (More, even. Danny Kaye was never on Sesame Street.)
I’ve always been fond of this crazy-lookin’ monster, although for years I referred to him as “Got Anything Cheaper Monster,” after a travel agency sketch he did in the Paul Williams episode of The Muppet Show. The monster’s not very threatening in that appearance, but he can be when the situation calls for it. In an episode of The Jim Henson Hour, he was part of a roving gang of monsters who demanded money in a telethon for themselves, even going so far as to invade other TV channels to extort some cash. In the early days of Sesame Street, before Cookie Monster and Grover were established characters, he was all over the place, serving as the go-to monster. He annoyed Ernie, frightened Bert, and helped Kermit demonstrate the sound of the letter “B” (by blowing Kermit away and then bellowing at the camera, in a sketch that ensured a generation of children would grow up with a deep and intense fear of the second letter of the alphabet).
Perhaps his most striking appearance is in the sketch that gave him his name. In the “Beautiful Day” sketch, as seen on The Ed Sullivan Show, he destroys flowers, causes a rainstorm, and even shoots a chirping bird, all in an attempt to make a little girl unhappy. He’s so wicked, you can’t help but love him.
I’m a big fan of BDM’s design. The whole tall-headed, flat-faced, beak-mouthed thing is an unusual look, and I think it makes him stand out from the more generic Muppet monsters. I also love the way his mouth flaps open when he talks, which is a compliment I don’t bestow on just anybody. It’s been a while since we last saw him in a Muppet production, but I feel pretty confident he’ll be back someday. He’s been performed by a million different puppeteers, and every performer gives him a slightly different personality, but when he’s performed well — as by Frank Oz on Sesame Street or Richard Hunt in the aforementioned “Got anything cheaper?” sketch — he’s a joy to watch. And that’s why Beautiful Day Monster is my Favorite Muppet today.
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