Me Like Words
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Oscar The Grouch
C'mon, we all know who Oscar the Grouch is.

Though technically not a word or phrase I stumpled upon the origins of Oscar the Grouch in a great book - "Only in New York," by the writers of the New York Times' FYI column - and thought this would be a good place to tell you about it. Oscar, we all know, is the garbage can-dwelling green monster who is always bumming out the rest of the block on Sesame Street. I could make a joke about how I'd be in a bad mood too if I lived in a garbage can, but I would never do something like that. Anyway, the story of Oscar is short and involves two key players: a waiter and a cab driver.

Jim Henson and Jon Stone, two Sesame Street creators, used to dine at a place called Oscar's Tavern in Manhattan. It so happens that one day their waiter was very surly and rude. He must have really been a dick because the two concieved the character of Oscar the Grouch based on that angry, prickish waiter. He was named Oscar in homage to the restaurant where the idea had struck.

The voice of Oscar, provided by one Carroll Spinney, is an impression of one particularly gruff and raspy cab driver who drove him to the studio. There you have it, the origins of Oscar the Grouch.

Interesting sidenote, Oscar was bright orange in the first season and changed to that familiar green before season 2.

See, I wasn't lying.
Oscar the grouch may have been orange, and he may be green, but that nigga is black like melted midnight. holla at your cartoon puppet ass boy.

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I (me) like words. And even more than liking words I like to know where they come from and how they ended up in my mouth. It's called 'Etymology,' and I hope you like words as much as me do. If you have a word or phrase you've been pondering send it to me at with 'Me Like Words' as the subject.

Location: New York City, New York, United States
June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 /

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