Infobox character
name = Ernie
series = "Sesame Street", "Play With Me Sesame"

caption = Ernie and his rubber duckie with Bert in a publicity still for "Sesame Street".
first = November 10, 1969
creator =
portrayer = Jim Henson (1969-1990, deceased), Steve Whitmire (1993-present)
episode =
alias = Caveman Ernie, Sir Ernie, etc.
species = Human (Muppet)
gender = Male
age =
born =
specialty =
occupation = None
title =
callsign =
family = Cousins (Ernestine and Fred)
relatives =
residence = 123 Sesame Street, Sesame Street, New York City
religion =
imdb_id = ch0000600

Since 1969, Ernie has been one of the stars of PBS's long-running children's television show "Sesame Street". A fictional character, he and his roommate Bert form a comic duo that is one of the program's centerpieces, with Ernie acting the role of the naïve troublemaker and Bert the world-weary foil.

Ernie is well known for his fondness for baths with his Rubber Duckie, and for trying to learn to play the saxophone although he would not "put down the duckie." Ernie is also known for keeping Bert awake at night, for reasons such as wanting to play the drums, wanting to count something (like sheep), to observe something like a blackout, or even because he is waiting for his upstairs neighbor to drop his shoes.

He has a distinctive, chuckling laugh (a trait he shares with his baby cousin Ernestine).

Many Ernie and Bert sketches involve Ernie wanting to play a game with Bert, who would much rather do something else (like read). Ernie keeps annoying Bert with the game until Bert joins in – and usually, by the time Bert starts enjoying the game, Ernie is tired of playing the game and wants to do something else. Other sketches have involved them sharing some food by dividing it equally, only for one of them to have a bit more than the other, leading Ernie to make it even by eating the extra piece.

Ernie has also frequently made appearances without Bert. He has regularly appeared in skits with Cookie Monster, Sherlock Hemlock and Lefty the Salesman.

From season 33 (2002) until season 36 (2005), he and Big Bird starred in a daily segment called "Journey to Ernie".

Ernie was one of the hosts of "Play With Me Sesame". One regular segment that he hosted was "Ernie Says", a variation of "Simon Says".

Movies, songs and specials

Ernie sang about his affection for Rubber Duckie in a skit, which aired during the first season of "Sesame Street". The song from that skit — titled "Rubber Duckie" — became a modest mainstream hit, reaching No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1970. [Whitburn, Joel, "Top Pop Singles: 1955-2006," 2007.]

Ernie has appeared in both of the "Sesame Street" movies. In "Follow That Bird", he and Bert searched for Big Bird by plane. Ernie piloted the plane, and eventually, after they found Big Bird, he flew the plane upside-down, singing "Upside Down World". However, after they lost Big Bird, Ernie blamed Bert.

In "The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland", Ernie and Bert served as hosts. Whenever it looked like something unsettling happened, Ernie had to reassure Bert (and the audience) that nothing bad was going to happen.

Ernie also appeared in the finales of "The Muppet Movie" and "The Muppets Take Manhattan", in the last of which he got a line.

In "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street", Ernie decided to buy Bert a cigar box to store his paper clips in. However, as he did not have any money, he traded his own Rubber Duckie for it. At the same time, Bert decided to get Ernie a soap dish to put his Rubber Duckie in, so that it wouldn't keep falling into the tub, but had to trade his paper clips for it. However, Mr. Hooper could tell that neither of them really wanted to give up their prized possessions, so Mr. Hooper gave them their things back as presents.

Ernie and Bert introduced a montage of "Sesame Street" clips in '. Ernie also narrated a Christmas pageant, Twas the Night Before Christmas", in "A Muppet Family Christmas". In that same special, Ernie and Bert had a conversation with Doc, making them the only "Sesame Street" characters (not counting Kermit the Frog) to have interacted with Doc.

In "", he and Bert got a new video camera, and he talked Bert into using the camera to record footage of Sesame Street so that they could watch Sesame Street on television.

Jim Henson's original Ernie puppet is currently on display at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia.

Performing Ernie

Ernie is a Live-Hand Muppet, 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, although sometimes the right arm is simply stuffed and pinned to the puppet's chest. Other puppets of this type include Cookie Monster, Fozzie Bear, Beaker and Bunsen Honeydew


"Sesame Street" is localized for some different markets, and Ernie is often renamed. For instance, in episodes that are aired in Portuguese, Ernie's name has been changed to "Egas" (although in Brazil his name is "Ênio"), in Spain he is renamed "Epi", in Latin America his name is "Enrique", on Egyptian Alam Simsim (Sesame World) Ernie's name is given as "Shadi" (rhyming with Bert's which is "Hadi"), in Russia he also known as Yenik ("Еник"), in Turkey he is named "Edi".

Urban legends concerning Ernie

Through the years, many Muppet characters on "Sesame Street" have been the subject of urban legends, stories that usually prove to be false. Three of the most frequently mentioned urban legends concerning Ernie include:

* "An unfounded Internet rumor has been spread that Ernie will be dying in an upcoming episode." The rumor began shortly after Henson's death in 1990. Several reasons were cited, including no one else being available to assume the role, to helping children learn the concept of death and dying. [snopes|link=|title=Mikkelson, Barbara, "Ernie is slated to die in a future episode of "Sesame Street","] .

* "Ernie and Bert are rumored to be homosexual,"cite web
url =
title = Open Sesame
accessdate = 2008-08-04
accessyear =
author =
last = Mikkelson
first = Barbara and David P.
authorlink = Snopes
coauthors =
date =
year =
month =
format =
work = Urban Legends Reference Pages
publisher = Barbara and David P. Mikkelson
quote = The Children's Television Workshop has steadfastly denied rumors about Bert and Ernie's sexual orientation...
] despite the fact that this has been denied by the producers. This rumor has expanded over the years to include the pending marriage of the pair. The source of this rumor is undetermined, although Snopes has attributed it to poor recollection of various media reports covering odd or strange urban legends. Sesame Workshop officials strongly insist the characters are asexual, and point out that they are made from cloth and other materials. (The Workshop issued a press statement formally denying that Bert and Ernie were gay or were meant to represent a gay couple. At the end of the statement, one of the Workshop executives asked in apparent exasperation "What's next? Are people going to start saying that Cookie Monster should enter a 12-step program for his cookie addiction?")

ee also

*Bert and Ernie


External links

* [ Tough Pigs Anthology] Transcripts of Ernie and Bert sketches

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