Friday, June 5, 2009

Burning Question for the Day

I was feeling a bit grouchy today (No, it had nothing to do with you, Loyal Reader, don't worry). That got me thinking about everyone's favorite Grouch, Oscar the Grouch, from TV's "Sesame Street". Thinking back on all of the happy times I spent with this trashcan dweller raised a question that has always haunted me: 


Before you answer, "Because he is!", let me remind you that when "Sesame Street" made its debut 40 (!) years ago, Oscar was ORANGE! Before you stiffen in denial, I tell you it's true! You young 'uns or folks with faulty memories that doubt me can just hop on over to YouTube and see a clip of OtG performing his classic hit, "I Love Trash". You'll see him there, in all his orange glory.

I even "met" the orange Oscar once, when I was at a puppeteer convention, with his "friend" Carroll Spinney. (Why I was at a puppeteer convention is a question for some other day. For those of you that know me, the answer is fairly obvious).

So yes, Oscar was Orange. Then, one day, without warning, he was GREEN! How did this happen? Did the folks at Children's Television Workshop think an orange Grouch was too frightening? Or not frightening enough? Or was it simply a case of green fake fur being cheaper to buy than orange? Whatever the reason, I must know!

I thought about going to a Muppet chat room and asking some of the people there this question, but then I realized that I would actually be talking with people in a Muppet chat room.  So, I put it out there to anyone reading this who has the facts/rumor/half-baked theory about this important question, to leave your information in the comments section. Hopefully someone out there has the answer, and we can all sleep better at night.

Then on to the next burning question: What was up with Mr. Moose and ping-pong balls?

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Blogger Black Canary said...

My question is what type of animal is Oscar supposed to be? Maybe the producers of Sesame Street wanted kids to identify with the Grinch and thus the transformation into his current green color. Just a thought..

As always--I LOVE the drawing!

June 5, 2009 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger Black Canary said...

Also, Oscar's friend, Slimey, an orange striped worm, came into the picture in the second season, so maybe they didn't want them to clash?

June 5, 2009 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger Bill White said...

Oscar is a GROUCH, a very well-defined species in the Sesame Universe. There are a bunch of them besides Oscar.

Also, the Slimey theory doesn't cut it. Why not make him green since he came second?

June 5, 2009 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger SNeelyArt said...

I have a feeling it has something to do with the color orange not photographing correctly on film and so green was chosen to make him stand out more. Old film or video tape that they shot on could make the colors wishy washy.

Either that or they wanted more diversity of characters and a color change makes him look different when standing next to another muppet.

June 5, 2009 at 10:11 PM  
Blogger Bruce B said...

Three possibilities.

1. Maybe it was because orange Oscar blended in too much with the background? See

2. Someone claimed he was switched to green because green is more grouch-like ( -- but that seems to duck the question, no?

3. And then there's this: "Most people do not know that Oscar was originally yellow in the first episode of the show. This was changed for two reasons. First off, there was another yellow character that was on the show by the name of Big Bird. The producers of Sesame Street did not want it to appear that they only had yellow characters. Secondly, it was argued that a character that lived in a garbage can would not be a bright yellow color. The character would have to be a darker color since he lived in garbage. The producers then went to work to change Oscar the Grouch's color. The first color that they came up with was orange. Oscar was orange for almost the entire first month of taping. Then one day, someone came up with the idea of changing his color to green. This idea for the color of Oscar is what we have grown up with." But that explains the change from yellow, not from orange...

June 6, 2009 at 12:37 AM  
Blogger P.L. Frederick said...

Oscar the grouchy chameleon.

P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)

June 6, 2009 at 8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The true story:
There were about 3 orange Oscar puppets made, and used at different moments on the show. One night, there was a horrible storm, which shattered the window in the puppet workshop and knocked one of the orange Oscars to the floor, soaking it in the process. In the morning, the puppeteers quickly cleaned up the mess, and there was no great harm done, except they could not find one of the orange Oscars. Everyone assumed it had blown out the window. Actually, it was all wet, behind a table, getting moldy. When this Oscar was found, a few weeks later, it had turned completely green from the mold. Everyone loved the color, and the official change was made. Very few people know this secret story, until now...

June 6, 2009 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Ruprecht said...


Mold is green. Oscar abodes in a trash receptacle.

Rupe believes you, too, would be grouchy if'n you lived in trash (despite Oscar's disposition), had your lid rattled often and breathed mold.

.... and there you are ....

June 16, 2009 at 1:01 PM  
Anonymous PingPongBalls said...

Was your son named for Oscar the Grouch? Is he green or orange?

June 26, 2009 at 11:35 PM  

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