Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Meet Wilbur ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Wilbur is cool.

When I was about 5 or 6, references to Wilbur were a surefire way to get laughs in my household. Contrary to popular belief, this was not because of the pig in 'Charlotte's Web'. Nor was it because of the Care-Free gum ad with Wilbur and Orville Wright.

Rather, it was because Wilbur was an obscure animated character on 'Sesame Street'.

Wilbur was so obscure in fact that this segment (which aired in the '70s) may have been his only one:

That Wilbur is one studly dude, isn't he?

For quite some time, Wilbur received many tributes from me and my family members.

For instance, a cat food commercial that frequently aired around 1980 and featured a woman saying "Fresh!" in a singsong voice as the package ripped open was once mocked by replacing "Fresh!" with "Wilbur!"

There was also a jingle for IGA supermarkets that intoned, "You're what's special at IGA." Our parody went, "Wilbur's what's special at IGA." (Or - if we were all in the mood for a non-Wilbur spoof - we'd go, "You're what stinks at IGA.")

By that time, I had long since disassociated Wilbur from 'Sesame Street'. I had the image of Wilbur's cartoon sketch in my mind, but I no longer linked it with any particular show.

Wilbur was special not just at IGA, but everywhere else too. He holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many.

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