Help me identify a Sesame Street cartoon?
July 13, 2004 10:24 PM   Subscribe

does anyone else remember this or am i going insane? of those cartoons from sesame street (i think) where an african-american boy wearing a hat over his eyes gets asked by his mom to go out and get:

"a loaf of bread, a stick of butter, and a gallon of milk."

he goes out into the world accompanied by funky music, doing a very shaggy-esque, spaghetti-arms, kind of walk.

does anyone know this cartoon short? does anyone know where i can get a copy (if it does exist outside of my mind)?
posted by ronv to Media & Arts (53 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
It actually went like this:

"A loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter."
posted by lia at 10:30 PM on July 13, 2004

Oh I remember it alright! He had a very distinct voice too. I think it sounded like the Charlie Brown voices that are spoken too close to the microphone, allowing you to hear every piece of spittle in the mouth (which is sometimes endearing).

Other than that confirmation, I can't help you track it down, sorry.
posted by themadjuggler at 10:31 PM on July 13, 2004

Others sure recall it as well.

Link A, above, says Sesame Street, too.
posted by mwhybark at 10:41 PM on July 13, 2004

That was none other than Roosevelt Franklin  (shown with his mom) voiced by sesame street writer Matt Robinson. I know this because I have had that damn line rattling around in my head for about two weeks.
posted by arse_hat at 10:56 PM on July 13, 2004

Sorry the first link needs to be cut and pasted
posted by arse_hat at 11:09 PM on July 13, 2004

I respectfully disagree, arse_hat; it wasn't Roosevelt Franklin (at least, not in muppet form) - it was a cartoon.

As I recall it, the point of the skit/segment was that the kid had three things to get at the store, and he tried to remember it through seeing several distractions on the way. The way he remembers it is to repeat his mantra over and over: "A loaf'a bread, a c'tainer o' milk, and a stick'a buttuh..." (that phrase, and the distinct manner in which the kid said it, has stuck in my head for years)

A vaguer memory is from the end of the episode, when he brings the goods home - I seem to recall that his mother thanks him, and he warbles a triumphant, "I remembe'd! I remembe'd!"

(...and that's all I can remember.)
posted by scribblative at 11:09 PM on July 13, 2004

scribblative. You may well be right. It seems almost everyone over a certain age remembers that bloody list but is vague on the details. Some remember it as an animated character and the other half as a muppet (it's not quite a mop, not quite a puppet, but man...). About half seem to remember it as a little girl and half as a little boy. (The facts get lost but the meme lives on!)

I remembered it as an animated little girl but Internet searching convinced me I was wrong. I should have known better than to question my judgement over the web. Just take any song or book you liked from a decade ago and do a search for it on the web and you will likely find it attributed to at least three different artists.

Now I need to search some more…
posted by arse_hat at 11:48 PM on July 13, 2004

The bizarre part is that, after the kid wanders for a while and sees some odd sights and gets lost, he meets a fabulous pimp who reminds him to retrace his steps, and who, as the kid returns home, takes the place of the outbound psychedelic visions (scribblative's "distractions").
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:49 PM on July 13, 2004

Or am I creating a mental mashup of two Sesame Street cartoons?
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:58 PM on July 13, 2004

Guy Smiley, you're thinking of the "over, under, around and through" cartoon.
posted by interrobang at 12:10 AM on July 14, 2004

I, too, remember the stick-a-butta kid as a cartoon, and running into the fabulous pimp (although I remember him as more like a toothy hallucination of a drug dealer). He was one of the distractions on the way to the store.

I also seem to recall that he remembers by picturing the items in thought balloons above his head while chanting the grocery mantra.

Which is not to say, ronv, that you aren't going insane.
Or that my memory isn't a sieve. interrobang's probably right, but that's my dim recollection anyhow.
posted by obloquy at 1:05 AM on July 14, 2004

A person could email Sesame Workshop, and ask them.
posted by rocketman at 4:08 AM on July 14, 2004

His task was to update the jingle for the animated segment about a kid picking up groceries for his parents - a loaf of bread, quart of milk and stick of butter. The piece still airs and he often gets phone calls from friends scattered all over who happen to catch it.

Seems to at least confirm it is animated.
posted by rudyfink at 4:38 AM on July 14, 2004

I seem to recall it was an Ezra Jack Keats illustration/cartoon. I remember it eerily well.
posted by jessamyn at 5:28 AM on July 14, 2004

It springs into my head occasionally too (esp. when I have to run to the store for milk). Here's another memory from the Children's Television Workshop newsletter:

"Although it gets cloudier every day, my favorite Sesame Street memory is of the animation with the little boy whose mother sends him to the market to buy, 'A quart of milk, a loaf of bread, and a stick of butter.' He repeats the list the entire way to the market, and although I can't remember if he gets the order right, for some reason I think he doesn't! Still, I loved the rhythmic way he repeated the list over and over again."
No hints about the origin there, though.
posted by gleuschk at 5:36 AM on July 14, 2004

This seems to be a script for an interactive-fiction game, one stage of which involves finding a grocery list: "A loaf of bread, a carton of milk, and a stick of butter" and then finding each item. Heh.
posted by gleuschk at 5:43 AM on July 14, 2004

Apparently Buck 65 has whipped up some new music for this old cartoon. Some other reminiscences from Muppet Central.
posted by jessamyn at 6:00 AM on July 14, 2004

I remembered this cartoon as having a girl in it, too. And I remember her getting confused and saying "A gallon of bread, a stick of milk, and a loaf of butter" (etc) while walking. If it was a boy, quite a lot of my grocery-shopping-worldview will have been shattered.
posted by bcwinters at 6:09 AM on July 14, 2004

It seems from jessamyn's links that there were two clips, one with a boy and one with a girl.
posted by gleuschk at 6:28 AM on July 14, 2004

This is firmly lodged in my head now . . . it is imperative that we track down a copy of the cartoon, that we all might sleep at night.

And to add grist to the mill, this thread has dredged up a few more Sesame Street memories. 1) That sort of experimental filmic soundscape clip - starts with a faucet dripping, and a kid with his arms stretched out making airplane noises. I seem to recall Dad playing the trumpet at the end, but I'm not certain of that. 2) The cartoon about the kid who wants to play the violin and starts out with a cheap, cardboard box model. After much practice and dedication, he ends up at carnegie hall playing a Stradivarius.

I'm only making things worse, aren't I?
posted by aladfar at 6:45 AM on July 14, 2004

The one clip I have always wanted to have is the orange singing Carmen.

And I remember the stick of butter mantra too, and that it was a cartoon, but nothing at all about the kid. Strange that some people remember a girl and some a boy.

How could these things not be online?
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:30 AM on July 14, 2004

OH I love the Carmen orange! I do know there's there used to be a site with a bunch of old Electric Company clips, surely we can find it.
posted by mimi at 8:20 AM on July 14, 2004

I definitely remember this as a cartoon, although I'm of the "carton of milk" school, rather than "container".

Are there any DVD Collections of Sesame Street episodes?
posted by weston at 8:52 AM on July 14, 2004

It's container.

I loved that bit.
posted by linux at 10:24 AM on July 14, 2004

The cable channel Noggin ran old episodes, calling it "Sesame Street Unpaved," but they stopped running them last year. (You can find a list of the episodes they ran here, and the obligatory petition to bring it back here). According to one of the forum posts linked above, this clip was aired in episode #1396. I'd love to get a copy if anyone finds it.
posted by Otis at 10:58 AM on July 14, 2004

It's container. That's been running in my head since I was about 7.

Though that cartoon doesn't have as many websites as Teeny Little Super Guy.
posted by ALongDecember at 11:31 AM on July 14, 2004

What an effective memory worm! It has long haunted me as well. (And it's definitely "container.")
posted by rushmc at 12:23 PM on July 14, 2004

aladfar, you are making it worse! I can't stop thinking about the on with the violin now. Oh, does anyone else remember the one with the little girl and the burro? It had a great song about "To move the burro, you have to love the burro". And the excellent calpyso band on the beach. (or was it in an alley?)
posted by dual_action at 12:49 PM on July 14, 2004

Okay, clearly Sesame Street needs to start putting together nostalgia DVDS and market them to adults. I just took a quick look at amazon and everything they have is aimed at 4-year-olds. They are missing the potential gigantic 40-year-old market.

And we should get a cut. Or free DVDs at least.
I'm picturing a double DVD stuffed with "classic" Sesame Street. And definitely WITHOUT those interloping, saccharine new characters that showed up after I grew up.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:32 PM on July 14, 2004

In the universe [sorry, I don't know which number this dimension is -- third maybe?] where the Allied forces won World War II, Wal-Mart is the largest company in the world, and Paris Hilton is some kind of huge star for no apparent reason, on Earth, in the US version of Sesame Street, the protagonist is a cartoon boy and he says "container of milk."
My brothers and dad will totally back me up on this.

I seem to recall there being a giraffe in one of the confusing hallucinatory visions too.
posted by britain at 1:32 PM on July 14, 2004

I remember the milk bit being "a quartamilk", not container. Strange, but every once in a while some old Sesame Street skits go through my head for no reason at all.

Anybody remember the monster with his arms over his head running up close to the camera, saying "Near" then running away from it and saying "Far"?

Or the aliens imitiating cow and phone sounds?

The mah-mahhh mah-mah-mah song?

Ah, but those were good times. . . Sniff.
posted by ashbury at 1:42 PM on July 14, 2004

the monster with his arms over his head running up close to the camera, saying "Near" then running away from it and saying "Far"?

Dude. That was Grover.
posted by gleuschk at 1:53 PM on July 14, 2004 [1 favorite]

Grover is voiced by Frank Oz, who now has a second career directing movies. I always envision him telling the camera operator how to set up the shots: "Near.... Far!"
posted by kindall at 2:18 PM on July 14, 2004 [6 favorites]

* sigh *

Remember "Kerrmit D. Frog here..."

I miss the magical era of Jim Henson and the good old Sesame Street, Muppets, Fraggles.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 4:22 PM on July 14, 2004

Is anyone a player in the trading communities for 80's vhs stuff?

I've been skimming the domestic stuff, but the community I remember is largely gone. Most links end in something like this now.

Sigh, f as in F copyright length.
posted by rudyfink at 4:23 PM on July 14, 2004

Read all about Grover and his bitterness. It sure made me laugh. :)
posted by beth at 5:35 PM on July 14, 2004

This appears to be a popular question on, too

I've been googling on this question off and on all day, but still no video clips...
posted by jazon at 6:01 PM on July 14, 2004

Response by poster: this is the best. thread. ever.
the only way it can get better is if we actually find a download.
posted by ronv at 6:21 PM on July 14, 2004

I'm absolutely positive the version I heard was "quart of milk", since I've said it that way since I was a kid but grew up with liters of milk in my fridge in Canada.

That is not to say that some of you did not hear "container", but that there is definitely a version out there with quart in it.
posted by jheiz at 7:58 PM on July 14, 2004

I'm pretty sure the kid didn't have a hat over his eyes. I think you're confabulating with Weird Harold from Fat Albert. And i'm gonna go with 'quart' of milk.

Orange that sings 'Carmen', i love you.

I really want to get these on DVD. And i'll bet a lot of others would, too. You'd think with all the DVDs that PBD puts out...

Anyone remember the one where that foxxxxxy lady's car breaks down, and it turns out she needs to put a lowercase 'r' in the engine? arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....
posted by Miles Long at 9:08 PM on July 14, 2004

fwiw I distinctly remember "container" in my version.
posted by obloquy at 11:58 PM on July 14, 2004

Well, I emailed them with the idea. Maybe we'll see DVDs of classic SS on the shelves by Xmas!
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:35 AM on July 15, 2004

And we all get a producing credit and a cut, right?
posted by gleuschk at 7:22 AM on July 15, 2004

Is anyone in here handy at IRC? I think I may have found this clip, but I didn't have any luck with a transfer last night. Unfortunately, my wife wouldn't let me stay home from work today to continue my search. E-mail in profile. Contact for details.
posted by Otis at 7:44 AM on July 15, 2004

*taps foot*

Aren't you home from work yet, Otis?
posted by gleuschk at 3:32 PM on July 15, 2004

Ah, yes. Sorry. Dinner with the in-laws (burp!). I'm trying to get the file again now. Wish me luck.
posted by Otis at 5:10 PM on July 15, 2004

I remember it as a girl, and a container of milk.
does anyone else remember me and my llama, going to the dentist?
posted by inky at 6:25 PM on July 15, 2004

UPDATE: The report from home is that the file downloaded today. We may have answers to these very important questions later this evening.
posted by Otis at 10:29 AM on July 16, 2004

posted by gleuschk at 2:11 PM on July 16, 2004

*drums fingers on table in an extremely annoying manner*
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:53 PM on July 16, 2004

Well crap. Turns out it wasn't in the file I spent TWO DAYS trying to download. As a consolation prize, I do have a few cool "vintage" Sesame St. animation clips I unearthed in my search. My favorite is "We All Live in a Capital I." It's a Freud field day. E-mail me at profile address if interested.

I refuse to give up until there is a resolution to the girl/boy container/quart debate. Keep watching the skies.
posted by Otis at 7:53 PM on July 16, 2004

Still working on this problem too. I got several emails back today, so I'm hoping...
posted by rudyfink at 8:17 PM on July 16, 2004

I'm guessing no news is not good news. Rats.
posted by gleuschk at 11:58 AM on July 20, 2004

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