Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Top 13 Sesame Street Scares (#11)
#11: Bert And Ernie Meet The Martians
Ernie wakes up one morning to the sound of his alarm clock. He looks over to Bert’s bed and discovers that Bert isn’t in it.
Ernie then comes to the only logical conclusion: Bert had been abducted by aliens! He then does the only logical thing and calls out of the window to Bert, who is probably thousands of light years away in space.
But Bert isn’t in space. He wasn’t taken by aliens. He had simply woken up early to cook oatmeal for breakfast. He tells Ernie not to let his imagination run wild and to come have breakfast.
That would be an innocent enough sketch, that is, until…
The house begins to shake, lights begin to flash, and strange noises emanate from outside. And if that wasn’t frightening enough for poor Ernie…
Two aliens float down from the sky and fade into the house. One is blue. The other is pink. Neither have arms or legs. They only have googley eyes and mouths that hanging slack-jawed open. From them, they speak only one word over and over again. Yip-yip!
Now, I should say that I had seen the Martians before and they never scared me; but when they floated toward the window and faded right through the wall, you bet your ass I was hiding mine underneath the couch.
This skit was the first introduction of the Martians, and judging from the comments to this video, it both scared and scarred many a toddler upon its first airing.
The Martians did appear in subsequent sketches, but they were never really scary. They were simply curious visitors who were curious about our earthly habits, and as such, had the same childlike wonder that many children who watch the show possessed of the simplest of things such as telephones and animals.
However, their appearances are quite unsettling, what with big googley eyes and their large gaping mouths that seemed to have no jaws. So I can understand if plenty of kids wet their pants whenever these two appeared on the television screen.
I will give credit to Jim Henson for creating a unique alien design and not going with a cliché look like the greys or the greens. I’m not sure if that would have scared kids more or less. If anything, these aliens almost seem like Eldrich abominations like Cthulu.
But speaking of creepy character designs, this isn’t going to be the first time that a puppet design would scar poor television watchers.