Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird!

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  You know how it is, I watch a movie I own, and the blog about it.  It's just that simple.  Tonight, we do Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird.  This is in my notes at August 3, 2019.

 Out and about in Westlock, I was digging through the discount bin at Giant Tiger, when I noticed Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird for just $5.  To which I said, "I have $5!"

The first Sesame Street movie, hitting theatres in the summer of 1985.  I'm pretty sure it's down in my family's history as the first movie my sister saw in the theatre.  I had seen movies in the theatre before Follow That Bird, but this is the one that I have the most vivid memories of...the one that I actually remember seeing from beginning to end.  My mother accredits it with teaching my sister bladder control, as she really needed to pee, but darn it, she wasn't going to miss a single minute!

This may have even been the first movie I saw at West Edmonton Mall, in Famous Player's old West Mall 5 theatre.  It was where the newly-expanded casino now is...was officially closed in 1999 and replaced with the Scotiabank Theatre.  I remember we were waiting in the lobby of theatre for our theatre to open up, and commenting on how crowded it was.  We looked around at the other movies playing and wondered if maybe they were there for one of those films.  I remember one being The Goonies.  Another one was Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.  1985.  Great year for film. 

We open with the charitable organization called the Feathered Friends Society, which is dedicated to finding homes for orphan birds.  Their next case, Big Bird.  Miss Finch arranges for Big Bird to move in with a bird family called the Dodos in Oceanview, Illinois.  Big Bird is at first excited at the prospect of a family like him, but is also saddened at giving up his family on Sesame Street.  Big Bird decides to give it a try, but he doesn't quite fit in with the Dodos.  They don't know any of the games he knew on Sesame Street, they don't know how to play pretend...but the final straw is when the Dodos refuse to allow Mr. Snuffleupagus to visit, saying that he's not a bird. 

Finally frustrated by all this, Big Bird runs away to make his away back to Sesame Street.  And thus, Big Bird's odyssey begins.  Miss Finch is hot on his tale, determined to drag him back to the Dodos.  And our familiar Sesame Street characters hit the road to try to track down Big Bird. 

Our true villains of the piece of the Sleaze Brothers, Sid and Sam.  They're a couple of crooked carnies who run a crooked carnival.  Once they hear about Big Bird on the run, they figure that Big Bird could be a star attraction in their show, and they set out to capture Big Bird. 

And our adventure begins.  Big Bird gets a ride from a friendly truck driver (played by country music legend Waylon Jennings in a cameo).  He hides out for a stint on a farm, where he plays with the farm kids for a day.  One of the kids is played by Alyson Court, whom a generation of Canadian will know as Loonette on The Big Comfy Couch, and a voice in hundreds of cartoons and video games.  Before long, all our players converge on the town of Toadstool, during their annual Mushroom Festival, but Big Bird is captured by the Sleaze Brothers before he can reunite with his friends. 

And of course, this being Sesame Street, we need our celebrity cameos.  In addition to the aforementioned Jennings, the Sleaze Brothers are played by Dave Thomas and Joe Flaherty, at the height of their SCTV days.  John Candy plays the cop who finally brings them in.  Chevy Chase is the newscaster who informs the Sesame Street gang of Big Bird's disappearance. 

One thing I do remember about this movie is the music.  I really enjoyed the songs, and often find myself humming them to this very day.  There's some good score, too, with a lovely little banjo riff that serves as our "in the country" theme. 

This is also the movie where I discovered post-credit stingers.  We rented it on VHS, and let it run after the movie was finished.  At the end of the credits, the Count comes out to reveal that he'd been counting the end credits.  He tells you how many credits, and gives his trademark laugh with trademark thunderclap. 

A rather sad fact I found, as I googled this film tonight.  This is also the final time Jim Henson played Kermit the Frog in a feature film.  Kermit shows up in is Sesame Street persona as a roving reporter and reports on the news of Big Bird's disappearance.  And, yeah.  No other Muppet films hit theatres between this film's release in 1985 and Henson's death in 1990. 

The first Sesame Street film is just a lovely little movie that will give you all kinds of warm and fuzzies.  Definitely worth the $5. 

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