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Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
are two Muppets who appear together in numerous skits on the popular U.S. children's television show Sesame Street. Originated by Frank Oz
Frank Oz
and Jim Henson, the characters are currently performed by puppeteers Eric Jacobson and Peter Linz; Oz occasionally performs Bert.

Contents

1 History 2 Ernie 3 Bert 4 In popular culture 5 Internationally 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

History[edit] Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
were built by Don Sahlin from a simple design scribbled by Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets. Initially, Henson performed Bert and Oz performed Ernie, but after just one day of rehearsal, they switched characters. The original idea was to show that even though two people can have totally different characteristics, they can still be good friends.[1] According to writer Jon Stone, the relationship between Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
reflected the real-life friendship between Henson and Oz.[2] According to A&E's Biography, Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
were virtually the only Muppets to appear in the Sesame Street
Sesame Street
pilot episode, which was screen-tested to a number of families in July 1969. Their brief appearance was the only part of the pilot that tested well, so it was decided that not only should Muppet characters be the "stars" of the show, but would also interact with the human characters, something that was not done in the pilot.[citation needed] An ordinary Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
skit involves Ernie coming up with a harebrained idea, and Bert trying to talk him out of it, ending with Bert losing his temper and Ernie remaining unaware of the results of his own bad idea. For example, in one sketch, Ernie tells Bert he started to collect ice cubes the day before, and put them under the electric blanket overnight. When he shows the ice cubes to Bert, he finds out that they have melted into water. Bert knows what has happened, and tries to tell Ernie that his ice cubes melted because of the electric blanket, but Ernie takes this to mean that a fish from the ocean came into the apartment and melted his ice cubes, and vows to find the (non-existent) fish that melted them.[citation needed] The age of the characters is unclear. Sesame Street Live performer Taylor Morgan said in an interview that "I just kind of try to think like a 6-year-old or a 7-year-old, because that's how old Bert is."[3] Ernie[edit] Main article: Ernie (Sesame Street) Ernie was originally performed by Jim Henson. From 1993 to 2014, Muppeteer Steve Whitmire
Steve Whitmire
took on the role of Ernie (following the death of Henson in 1990). In 2014, Billy Barkhurst took on the role of Ernie; currently, the character is performed by Peter Linz. Ernie is a "live hand puppet", meaning that while operating the head of the puppet with his right hand, the puppeteer inserts his left hand into a T shaped sleeve, capped off with a glove that matches the fabric "skin" of the puppet, thus "becoming" the left arm of the puppet. A second puppeteer usually provides the right arm. Ernie's performance of "Rubber Duckie," wherein he sings affectionately about his squeaking toy duck and the joy it brings him during bath time, became a modest mainstream hit, reaching No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100
in September 1970.[4] Bert[edit] Main article: Bert (Sesame Street) Bert was initially performed by Frank Oz. Since 2001, Muppeteer Eric Jacobson has been phased in as Bert's primary performer after Oz retired from most of his Muppet duties to focus on directing (Oz, however, did continue to perform the character occasionally). Bert is a “hand rod puppet", which means that while the puppeteer's right arm is inserted into Bert's head to control the mouth, the puppeteer's left hand uses rods to control the arms of the puppet. In popular culture[edit]

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Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
are among a handful of Sesame Street-specific Muppets to also appear on The Muppet Show, making occasional cameo appearances, such as at the end of The Muppets
The Muppets
Valentine Show, the 1974 pilot episode for the series. While several other Muppets featured on Sesame Street
Sesame Street
such as Kermit the Frog
Kermit the Frog
would crossover into the other program, Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
were primarily confined to the occasional cameo. Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
live together in an apartment in the basement of 123 Sesame Street. Despite sleeping in separate beds, they share the same bedroom, which has led to some speculation that they are a representation of gay lovers. This is denied by Sesame Workshop,[5] and some of Bert's interactions with female characters appear to show that he is attracted to women: serenading Connie Stevens
Connie Stevens
in the Some Enchanted Evening segment of a first-season episode of The Muppet Show, and recording a song about his girlfriend, I Want to Hold Your Ear, which was released on several albums. But the idea of Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
as a couple is sufficiently widespread that it has been used as the basis of jokes on the shows Saturday Night Live, American Dad!, Modern Family, The Simpsons, Friends, 2DTV, The Middle, Family Guy, and Supernatural. Sportscaster Jim Rome
Jim Rome
has received emails and phone calls from listeners to his radio program on the subject, and has expressed disgust with them. More recently, The New Yorker magazine chose an image of Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
by artist Jack Hunter, titled Moment of Joy, as the cover of their July 8, 2013 publication, which covers the Supreme Court decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8.[6] From March 30, 1997, to ca. 2002, the parody website "Bert is Evil" displayed Bert in a number of doctored photographs, implicating him in crimes ranging from the Assassination of John F. Kennedy
Assassination of John F. Kennedy
to those of Jack the Ripper. A similar image from another source and featuring Bert conferring with Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
was mistakenly included by a Bangladeshi print shop on a series of protest signs in October 2001 and 2002.[7] The German comedy sketch series Freitag Nacht News had a recurring sketch called Bernie und Ert created by Attik Kargar, who performed the puppets and supplied the voice of Bernie. Bernie and Ert are an obscene parody of Ernie and Bert, and especially redubbed on Sesamstrasse. The puppets had no nose, one eye each, and swapped hairstyles. Each sketch focused on such topics as crime, drug abuse and Friday the 13th. In February 2003, Bernie and Ert were dropped from the series because of legal concerns; however, older episodes circulate on the internet. They also appeared in a Freitag Nacht News sequence called Bullzeye in a sketch called "Popo Club". Bernie & Ert wore black masks and leather jackets, disguised as Unknown No. 1 and Unknown No. 2 respectively, with another character named Winfred, propagating bizarre sexual practices. This skit became popular that it resulted in more skits called "Popo Club" featuring Unknown No. 1 & 2, with occasional appearances by Winfred. The film It's a Wonderful Life
It's a Wonderful Life
(1946) includes a taxi driver named Ernie and a policeman named Bert. Jerry Juhl, a writer on many Henson projects, said that the film did not influence the creation of these two Muppets: "Despite his many talents, Jim had no memory for details like this. He knew the movie, of course, but would not have remembered the police officer and the cabdriver." The Sesame Street
Sesame Street
special Elmo Saves Christmas refers to the coincidence: in the special, It's a Wonderful Life plays on television continuously and, near the end, the Muppets Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
walk by the television set and stop short when they hear their names mentioned in the movie.[8] In April 2013, a pair of high-energy neutrinos detected at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, possibly of extragalactic origin, were nicknamed "Bert" and "Ernie".[9] The British soap opera EastEnders
EastEnders
has confirmed that characters Bert and Ernie Moon
Bert and Ernie Moon
are named after the Muppets.[10] Internationally[edit]

Arab World, Iftah Ya Simsim, Bert is "Badr", and Ernie is "Anis". They are called "Anis w Badr" ("أنيس وبدر") Brazil, Vila Sésamo, Bert is "Beto", and Ernie is "Ênio". They're called "Ênio e Beto". Egypt, Alam Simsim, Bert is "Hadi", and Ernie is Shadi. They are known as "Shadi w Hadi". France, 1, Rue Sésame, Bert is "Bart" and Ernie is "Ernest". They are called "Ernest et Bart". It is also interesting to note that in the French version, when Bert's brother Bart comes to visit, he is called "Bert". Germany, Sesamstraße, they are called "Ernie und Bert". Israel, Rechov Sumsum, Bert is "Bentz", a common short-form for the name "Ben-Tzion", and Ernie is "Arik", short-form for "Ariel" ("אריק ובנץ"). Italy, "Sesamo apriti", Bert is "Berto" and Ernie is "Ernesto". They are called "Ernesto e Berto". Mexico and all Latin America, Plaza Sésamo, Bert is "Beto", while Ernie is "Enrique". In addition, Ernie's cousin Ernestine is called "Enriqueta". Netherlands, Sesamstraat
Sesamstraat
they are "Bert en Ernie". Paul Haenen provides Bert's voice, and Wim T. Schippers
Wim T. Schippers
provides Ernie's. Norway, Sesam Stasjon, Bert is "Bernt", while Ernie is "Erling". Usually, they're called "Bernt og Erling", respectively voiced by Harald Mæle and Magnus Nielsen. Pakistan, Khul Ja Sim Sim, Bert is "Bablu", while Ernie is "Annu". They are commonly called "Annu aur Bablu". Poland, Ulica Sezamkowa, Bert is "Hubert" and Ernie is "Emil". They are called "Hubert i Emil". Portugal, Rua Sésamo, Bert is "Becas" and Ernie is "Egas". They are called "Egas e Becas", in the opposite order. Russia, Ulitsa Sezam, Bert is Vlas and Ernie is Yenik. They are called Vlas i Yenik ("Влас и Еник") Spain, Barrio Sésamo, Bert is "Blas", and Ernie is "Epi". Also, they are always called "Epi y Blas", in the opposite order. Turkey, Susam Sokağı, Bert is "Büdü", while Ernie is "Edi". They are commonly called "Edi ile Büdü".

See also[edit]

Muppets portal Fictional characters portal

References[edit]

^ "ONTD_Political - Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
Come Out in the New Yorker". Ontd-political.livejournal.com. 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2014-07-15.  ^ Davis, Michael (2008). Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street. New York: Viking Press. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-670-01996-0.  ^ "macon.com". macon.com. Archived from the original on March 11, 2007.  ^ Whitburn, Joel (2007). "Top Pop Singles: 1955-2006".  ^ Mikkelson, Barbara and David P. "Open Sesame". Urban Legends Reference Pages. Barbara and David P. Mikkelson. Retrieved 2007-10-28. The Children's Television Workshop has steadfastly denied rumors about Bert and Ernie's sexual orientation...  ^ Françoise Mouly; Mina Kaneko. "Cover Story". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2013-06-28. "It's amazing to witness how attitudes on gay rights have evolved in my lifetime," said Jack Hunter, the artist behind next week's cover  ^ BBC News - Bert in the frame with Bin Laden ^ Carroll, Jon (2000-01-03). "A Few Tiny Errors, Part I". The San Francisco Chronicle.  ^ George Dvorsky (2013-04-25). " Neutrinos
Neutrinos
From Another Galaxy Have Been Discovered in Antarctica". Io9.com. Retrieved 2014-07-15.  ^ Leigh, Rob (22 June 2014). " EastEnders
EastEnders
spoilers: Kat and Alfie Moon's twin boys to be named after Muppets Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
- Mirror Online". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 

External links[edit]

Sesame Street
Sesame Street
at PBS Kids Sesame Workshop Tough Pigs Anthology Transcripts of Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
sketches

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Sesame Street
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