Sesame Saturday: Sesame Monsters Versus Letter People–Who Sang It Best?

I was recently introduced to a Sesame song/skit that I didn’t remember seeing before, in which Cookie Monster and Herry find a letter M sitting around, (as you do), and sing a song about all the foods they like that start with M:

It reminded me of another beloved PBS puppet show that I remember fondly from my childhood, “The Letter People,” which was divided into 15-minute episodes and focused on phonics. Mr. M is featured in the first episode and sings his signature song, which also includes a litany of foods that start with the letter M, because Mr. M has a Munching Mouth, and that’s where he gets his sound:

Hmm…Cookie Monster also has a Munching Mouth. I wonder if he and Mr. M would be friends or if they wouldn’t get along because they’d be in competition with one another.

“Letter People” still exists as a classroom program, but it’s quite different now than it was when I was a kid. One of the main changes has been to remove references to junk food in the songs and sounds. I totally understand the motivation, and appreciate the good intentions, behind it. That being the case, however, I’m a little surprised that they left this song largely the way it was when I was a kid. Nowadays Mr. M only mentions foods that are healthy, but the lines about munching “from morning to midnight” have been left intact. It kind of makes me think that the producers of the new version weren’t really looking at the big picture, but maybe they just couldn’t afford another rewrite and figured that good enough was good enough.

I understand the motive behind the rewrites, but the rationale for changing one song and not another isn’t always clear to me.


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