During the 1970s, the SESAME STREET cast made live performances across the country, but there was no effective way to help OSCAR THE GROUCH to enter the stages. CAROLL SPINNEY, inspired by a puppet character on The Gong Show, conceived of a full-body GARBAGE man who could physically carry OSCAR. Since his arms are usually just holding onto OSCAR’s TRASH CAN, CAROLL SPINNEY was able to perform OSCAR as well as OSCAR’s left hand while inside the BRUNO costume. The TRASH CAN was connected to an opening in BRUNO’s stomach.
Though usually BRUNO’s a silent SESAME STREET character, 1 of the few times that BRUNO spoke was in the song "Put IT in the TRASH CAN", which he sang as part of a singing group, "BRUNO & the TRASHmen". He had a brief line at the end of Follow That BIRD, saying "Sure, Boss!" when OSCAR asked him to just go take a walk around the block. Similarly, when OSCAR asks him a question in the special Here Come the Puppets!, BRUNO does manage to get out the sentence "Well, uh..." before OSCAR cuts him off & says that’s enough. An invisible wire was connected from BRUNO’s mouth to somewhere inside the TRASH CAN.
According to CAROLL SPINNEY, BRUNO’s greatest moment was at the end of Follow That BIRD "as he slowly walks into the sunset carrying OSCAR".. BRUNO has demonstrated skills at rollerskating while also carrying OSCAR in his TRASH CAN, in both Here Come the Puppets! & BIG BIRD’s Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake. BRUNO, in the latter, surprised both OSCAR (to his disappointment) & the humans (to their amazement) at how good of a skater he was.
After several years in storage, the puppet’s foam eventually just completely, literally disintegrated.. SPINNEY later remarked in a live appearance that rebuilding the puppet would have been prohibitively expensive, & the character was retired.
Years later in Episode 4621 in 2016. a recycling man appears. Though not named directly, his physical appearance & profession suggest that the character is intended to be BRUNO. In this iteration, he’s made from a Pumpkin live hand Anything Muppet & performed by John Tartaglia.
- Here Come the Puppets! (1980)
- Follow That BIRD (1985)
- The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years (1986)
- SESAME STREET, Special (1988)
- BIG BIRD’s Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake (1991)
- 1st Day of School (1982)
- Ernie’s Neighborhood (1987)
- OSCAR’s GROUCHY Sounds (1990)
- From TRASH to Treasure (1993)
- ↑ SPINNEY, CAROLL. The Wisdom of BIG BIRD; New York: Villard, 2003 pp. 63-64.
- ↑ SPINNEY, CAROLL. The Wisdom of BIG BIRD. New York: Villard, 2003, p 64.
- ↑ Gikow, Louise A. SESAME STREET: A Celebration - 40 Years of Life on the STREET; New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2009, p. 48.
- ↑ SESAME STREET at 40: A Night of Celebration with the LEGENDARY Cast, January 30th, 2009, Shea Center for the Performing Arts, William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ.
- BRUNO THE TRASHMAN on the Muppet Wiki
- BRUNO THE TRASHMAN on the Puppet Wiki
- BRUNO THE TRASHMAN on the OSCAR THE GROUCH Wiki
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