Former stars of the globally popular children’s TV program Sesame Street have spoken out about being snubbed by organisers of its 50th anniversary celebrations.
Several of the program’s original cast said they felt hurt and humiliated by what they claimed was a deliberate oversight.
This first episode of Sesame Street went to air in the US on 10 November 1969 and the program is planning a series of celebratory editions in coming weeks.
Former star of the show, Big Bird (pictured) who now resides at a nursing home in Phoenix, Arizona, said the producers of the anniversary programs had failed to contact him.
“You would think that they would at least have put in a call to me to see if I wanted to be involved, wouldn’t you?” Mr Bird said. “Sadly, it’s typical of the behaviour of the show’s producers over many years.
“I mean, I was the face of Sesame Street from day one, but as soon as I hit troubled times a few years back they dropped me like hot bird shit and hired a younger look-alike.
“The irony is that the show itself was responsible for my health problems. It was the long hours, the backstage parties, groupies, and all the publicity tours and meet-and-greet events I was forced to attend.
“They were no good for my health at all. All I ever needed was some bird seed now and then, but there was never anything on offer except lashings of rich and fatty foods. No wonder I put on weight.
“What the hell was I thinking? I’m not an ibis. Those bin chickens eat any crap they see but I always had a delicate digestive system.
“Then all of a sudden I was off the show, just because of a few extra pounds here and there and my need to wear a colostomy bag.
“Plus the booze. Jesus, I wish I had laid off the booze. As well as having a cloaca the size and shape of a concrete mixer, my liver and kidneys are fucked too,” Mr Bird said.
Another original cast member, Ernie (main picture), said he had been looking forward to the 50th anniversary but felt snubbed by not being offered a role.
“I know I’m not as young and spry as I once was, but despite that I felt I should have had a role in the anniversary shows, even if it was just a walk-on role. Or a shuffle-on role in my case now,” he said, laughing.
But Ernie, now living in a nursing home in Dallas, Texas, turned serious when asked why he thought he had been overlooked.
“I know it’s that bastard Bert who’s behind it. He’s never changed from the day we shot the first episode,” he said.
“He comes over as a nice and inoffensive sort of guy, but as I always said to other cast and crew, Bert’s brought to you by the letter A — for arsehole.
“I bet you’ll see Bert’s ugly mug somewhere in the 50th anniversary shows. He always put himself first and never cared who he had to step on to get ahead.
“Bert even started those rumours about a supposed relationship between him and me.
“He even fuelled the speculation with his on-air double entendres and rhyming slang in reference to my rubber duck.
“But there was never anything in it. Give me a break. I have some taste and even if I were looking to have something other than a stranger’s fist up me I’d never go for Bert,” Ernie said.