THEN AND NOW: The muppets of 'Sesame Street'

PBSSome of your favourite ‘Sesame Street’ characters have come a long way.
  • In terms of physical appearance, some of the most popular “Sesame Street” Muppets have changed a lot over the years.
  • Oscar the Grouch used to be orange and he didn’t have arms or legs and Cookie Monster used to have sharp teeth.
  • Muppets like Elmo and Ernie haven’t undergone many super noticeable physical changes.

“Sesame Street” first debuted in 1969. Since its premiere, new characters have been added and old favourites have undergone some makeovers. Whether it was head shape, nose colour, or even the presence of teeth, some muppets are almost unrecognizable as the muppets you know them as today.

Here’s how some of the most popular “Sesame Street” muppets have transformed over the years.


For the most part, Elmo looks the same.

Play GIFGetty/Don Emmert/NBCHis nose got a bit more oblong.

Over the years, Elmo’s look has largely remained the same, but his head has gotten slightly bigger and his fur appears to be a bit fluffier.


Oscar the Grouch has seen major changes.

Play GIFYouTube/Sesame StreetOscar the Grouch now has arms.

Oscar the Grouch is probably the Muppet who has been through the most changes throughout the years. When he first appeared in “Sesame Street,” he was orange and he was just a head and neck. Throughout the first season, he appeared with a right arm, and then two arms. Now, he is green and his mouth is larger than it once was.


Snuffleupagus looks a lot friendlier now.

Play GIFYouTube/Sesame StreetHis eyes used to be yellow.

With yellow eyes, a sunken body, and a morose-sounding voice, Snuffleupagus looked slightly forlorn when he first debuted on “Sesame Street.” Now, he has lighter eyes, prominent lashes, and a fuller body. His fur has also become more of a reddish brown.


Bert still has a single eyebrow.

Getty/PeterBischoff/RevierfotHis eyebrow has risen.

Bert was first spotted in the first season of “Sesame Street” with a turtleneck, rumpled hair, and an immobile unibrow. His style hasn’t changed much, but his unibrow is now inches above his eyes and his nose appears to have moved closer to his eyes.


Barkley’s fur has gotten less shaggy.

Play GIFPBSHe’s still got orange fur.

Barkley’s design has changed little throughout the years, with his fur becoming slightly less shaggy and brighter orange. He also doesn’t have a lot of yellow in his fur as he once did.


Read More:
13 surprising things you didn’t know about ‘Sesame Street’


Ernie’s head shape changed slightly.

Getty/Matthew Simmons/picture allianceHe’s still rocking the same colour palette.

When Ernie was shown in the first season of “Sesame Street,” he had a slightly different type of striped sweater and it had thick stripes. Now, his sweater has thinner stripes. Over the years, his head has also become more round instead of football-shaped and his fur is more vibrantly coloured than it once was.


Big Bird got a bigger head.

YouTube/jtomally9681/Sesame StreetHis feathers are also a bit neater.

Big Bird was originally rougher around the edges than he is today, with a skinny body, dark legs, and ruffled feathers. Over the decades, Big Bird was given many makeovers, getting fuller feathers, a rounder body, a taller forehead, and bigger eyes.


Cookie Monster has no more teeth.

YouTube/MuppetVoicesAndMore/Sesame StreetHe said farewell to all of his pointy teeth.

Cookie Monster was originally called The Wheel Stealer when he appeared in a commercial for General Foods’ Wheels, Crowns, and Flutes in 1966.

He then debuted on “Sesame Street” as Cookie Monster, a much bigger Muppet with blue fur, no teeth, and a floppy, expressive body. From then on his design has mostly stayed the same, but his mouth is slightly more square.


Grover used to be green.

YouTube/theboxofme/Sesame StreetHe looks a lot friendlier now.

Before he made his first appearance on “Sesame Street” in 1969, Grover was a character named “Gleep” on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” He was dark green and his nose was a bit orange.

Now, Grover has a larger pink nose and vibrant blue fur. Over the years, his arms have also been placed lower on his body and his eyes have been angled differently.


Herry got a new nose.

YouTube/Sesame StreetHe has a tongue now.

Herry Monster made his first appearance as a Muppet with light blue fur, a furry nose, and no tongue. His fur later became darker and he was also given a tongue.

In season three, his nose became smooth and purple. Since then, his nose shape has changed several times.

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