The Rubber Duckie song is performed on Sesame Street by the Muppet character Ernie who Jim Henson himself voices. Ernie’s toy, a rubber duck, affectionately known as Rubber Duckie, inspired the song. But did you know the song was so popular that it made it to the Billboard Hot 100 Chart?
On September 26th, 1970, the Sesame Street song “Rubber Duckie” peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also peaked at number ten in Australia.
Ernie and His Rubber Duckie
He may lack ears but has a ticklish tummy and lathery longevity. Rubber Duckie, Sesame Street’s ode to good, clean fun in the tub, has just turned 50. The song debuted on February 25, 1970, in episode 78 of the fledgling TV classroom series’ first season. Ernie sang it from the bathroom of his basement apartment at 123 Sesame Street, which he shared with his best friend, Bert.
Fifty years ago, the unthinkable occurred spectacularly. Rubber Duckie, a classic Jeff Moss song, made it onto the Billboard Top 100 Singles chart. Naturally, we all recognize the song as a smash hit today, but it’s impressive that 1970s music fans also saw it.
Over the years, Ernie’s boundless enthusiasm drove Bert insane, whether learning to play the saxophone in the middle of the night or instigating games he’d lose interest in just as they got fun. According to the book Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street, writer Jon Stone stated that the duo reflected the two performers’ real-life friendship.
Rubber Duckie was Ernie’s first solo spotlight, and he came prepared. Music is two-fold on Sesame Street. In this establishing song, children are learning about who Rubber Duckie is. This is Ernie’s lovey, in the words of kids, a significant item that really takes on the role of a friend. This is not an imaginary friend because it’s a physical object. Ernie is always with Rubber Duckie. They do things together. In this case, take a bath together. That’s where the hygiene comes in.Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, Sesame Workshop Vice President of Education and Research
(Source: Den Of Geek)
The Creation of Bert and Ernie
In 1970, Sesame Street was a shabby production run by an even scruffier group of idealist educators who wanted to teach inner-city preschoolers their ABCs and 123s. In July 1969, the pilot episode was shown in select New York City neighborhoods, and the comic duo Bert and Ernie were the breakout stars.
Sesame Street creator Jim Henson voiced Ernie to co-creator Frank Oz’s Bert to personify how people can be good friends no matter how different they are, possibly in a nod to Frank Faylen’s Ernie to Ward Bond’s Bert in Frank Capra’s 1946 classic It’s A Wonderful Life. Ernie is a Live Hand Muppet, while his roommate is a Hand-Rod Muppet, but social labels don’t get in the way of their friendship.
Oz was a born puppeteer. Originally from England, both his parents made their living with art. Henson started designing puppets while taking home economics at the University of Maryland. (Source: Den Of Geek)
Image From: Sesame Street